Sunday, November 11, 2018

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Fall 2018 Voter Registration Album

Write your own caption for the picture and send to Pat






Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Meet Susan Sipprelle, Director of the LWVT-sponsored film for TIFF Nov. 3: Soldier On: Life After Deployment




Click on  this link: Soldier On   for film trailer

Nov. 3, 3 pm. Puffin Foundation, DOCUMENTARY - 80 minutes

Directed by Susan Sipprelle
Description: Three women confront the challenges of readjusting to civilian life after their post-9/11 deployments. Their compelling and illuminating stories are presented in the context of a population that has little appreciation for the experiences and sacrifices of female veterans. Sponsored by League of Women Voters of Teaneck; American Legion Post #128; VFW Post #1429; Gooney Bird Detachment of the Marine Corps League
Talkback with Susan Sipprelle, film director 

Susan Sipprelle is a League member who directed and produced Soldier On: Life after Deployment. It is a production of Tree of Life Productions , which she founded. Visit Tree of Life to see the trailers and information about the other documentaries Susan produced/directed: http://treeoflifeproductionsllc.com/

Susan agreed to share her  thoughts abut film making, issues central to her film making, as well as  her ideas about this documentary. 

Experience with documentary film productionI never planned to become a documentary film producer! I was a commercial banker in Manhattan after I graduated from college. When my husband and I started having children in 1987, I stopped working, although I did complete my MBA from NYU in 1991. 

Over the ensuing years, as our family grew in size – we have five children -- I did some articles for local Bergen County papers. A friend, who noticed that I greatly enjoyed reporting, suggested I might want to take a journalism class. An AHA moment! I discovered that Columbia Graduate School of Journalism offered a part-time program, to which I applied and was accepted. At that time, my youngest child was 3 and my oldest was 17.  I concentrated in multimedia and graduated in 2008. 




By the late 2000s, the Great Recession had been declared officially over, although its impact remained severe. I, with the help of a recent film school graduate, began a multimedia project called Over Fifty and Out of Work that documented the stories of older workers who lost their jobs due to the downturn. We were asked to testify about our work before the Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pension Committee in June 2011, and we went on to make the documentary Set for Life based on the multimedia project. The film won several film festivals and was chosen by American Public Television for distribution. It has now been shown more than 4,000 times on public television nationwide.



The success of Set for Life inspired me to make another film. As our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continued to extend, I grew curious about the women volunteering to serve in the U.S. armed forces. Who were they? What happened to them during their military service? And, how did they readjust to life at home once their military service ended? 

These questions led me to make Soldier On: Life After Deployment. Both Senator Patty Murray and Congresswoman Annie Kuster sponsored screenings of my documentary on Capitol Hill. The film, also distributed by American Public Television, premiered on Channel 13 in March 2017, during Women’s History Month and has now been shown more than 2,000 times on public television nationwide. Screenings, sponsored by various organizations, have also been held in many states.



Why is the topic of women veterans important? Women today comprise almost 20 percent of the armed forces and 10 percent of the veteran population. They are the fastest-growing segment of the total veteran population. Despite their significant contribution to our country’s safety and security, three-quarters of female service members believe that the public fails to recognize or value their service. Moreover, their experience is set within the broader context that fewer Americans every year understand the commitment, sacrifices and experiences of individuals, both men and women, who serve. After WWII, more than 12 percent of Americans had served in the military. Today, it’s less than one percent.


For female veterans, access to veterans’ services, justice for military sexual trauma, and a supportive veterans’ community is an ongoing battle. Women veterans’ access to quality VA healthcare, community care and mental healthcare is not equal to male veterans’, although gradually improving. Summing up, the complete integration of women into the armed services as well as their full access to veterans’ benefits and the veteran community is a challenging work in process for the United States. Soldier On is part of that conversation and effort.


How did the documentary evolve?  I started this film thinking that I was going to make a documentary about how equine therapy helps female veterans recover from the trauma of war. But as I researched and met women veterans, I found that focus was too narrow a lens (although beautiful to film).


How long did it take to make? More than two years.


What did you learn about deployment and how women experience it?

I learned a great deal about why women volunteer to join the military:

Post 9-11 female veterans joined the military for the same reasons as men: serve country, receive education benefits, see more of the world, learn skills for civilian jobs, because jobs were hard to find. (Pew Research Center)

Where women and men differ:  42 percent of women veterans joined the military because jobs were hard to find compared to 25 percent of men. (Pew)

Women vets are less likely than male vets to be married, more likely to be married to a fellow service member, more likely to be a single parent, more likely to be divorced, and more likely to be unemployed after their service. Women vets tend to be younger than male and less likely to use the VA. (DAV)

81 to 93 percent of female veterans were exposed to some type of trauma prior to enlistment compared with much lower rates of 51 to 69 percent for the civilian population. (Zinzow et al, 2007) Traumatic experiences include childhood abuse and neglect and domestic violence, which have a significant impact on mental and physical health, family relationships, housing and job stability.


The last point above is the most important issue that I uncovered during the process of making Soldier On. It is the issue that most deeply influences women’s desire to volunteer, their military experience and their vulnerability to significant post-military emotional after effects such as PTSD and depression. Women who choose to join the military are frequently fleeing unstable home environments, where they have already been exposed or subjected to traumatic experiences. They are more vulnerable to the impacts of further exposure to trauma in the military – either through conflict or military sexual trauma. 

Another big discovery for me: almost three quarters of American youth are not eligible for military service because they are physically unfit, lack sufficient education, have a criminal record or have a tattoo that is visible while in uniform. Women in the military are not a social experiment, as often described. They are an absolute necessity to our armed forces in terms of numbers (not even considering the benefits of diversity): The military could not meet its enlistment quotas without women volunteers.  


What surprises were there in the process? I have described some of the surprises in the above answer. But, additionally, I was looking for three main characters with certain characteristics – homelessness (higher among female than male veterans), different branches of service, a mother, deployment(s).  With only three main characters, I did not expect to uncover, as I got to know them, almost all the significant issues that afflict veterans and women veterans in particular – difficulty transitioning home, relationship problems, depression, PTSD, homelessness, joblessness, suicidal impulses.

New Project? Just getting started on Citizen U.S. What does it mean to be an American? What are your rights as a citizen? Your responsibilities? Has your thinking on what it means to be an American citizen evolved over time?


Monday, October 22, 2018

Candidate’s Forum, Oct. 22: Prepared Candidates, Attentive Audience

Photos: Barbara Ostroth. Top: Candidates Shaharaz Arjumand, Lisa Dash-Grimes, Victoria Fisher. and Gerald Reiner with Moderator Minna Greenberg of the Bergen County ILO ( Inter League Organization)

Bottom: Attentive audience who participated vigorously in Q & A with the candidates. Questions from the audience were read by the moderator to the candidates, who had a set time to respond.

Monday, October 15, 2018

BREAKING NEWS: CANDIDATE'S FORUM FOR FREEHOLDER CANCELLED. READ THE DETAILS


BREAKING NEWS

The League of Women Voters of Bergen County was notified late this afternoon that the 
Republican candidates for Bergen County Freeholder would not be participating in the candidate 
forum scheduled for Tuesday, October 16 to be held at the Bergen County Technical High School
 in Teterboro at 7:30 pm.  

Planning for the forum had been in the works for about 2 months, starting in August.  

All 5 candidates had been contacted and invited to participate.
The 2 Democratic candidates agreed to participate.  The Independent candidate was contacted 
but never replied to the 2 letters mailed  via USPS.  Under League rules, there must be at least 
1 more candidate than the number of seats available;  the LWV of Bergen County cannot 
proceed with a forum when only 2 candidates are participating and seeking 2 seats.
We want to thank Bergen Technical High School and its AV department for being prepared to host
 the forum and record the event for posting to the internet.  We want to thank our partners, the 
Jewish Community Relations Council and the Network for Responsible Public Policy, for helping 
spread the news about our forums (we have 2 others still on the schedule: go to lwvbergen.org).  
We want to thank our League moderator who was willing to travel from Maplewood so that she could be an impartial facilitator.
We regret that we could not fulfill our mission: to inform and educate the public on policy and 
issues that face the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders. 

 Residents can go to Vote411.org, input their home address and find information of the races 
and candidates for their communities.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The League in Voter Registration Action Fall 2018

Bergenfield:New Bridge  Farmer’s Market, Sept.29. Barbara Ostroth with voter. 

Middle picture: several voter registrants at Stop & Shop, including Arlene Gartenberg, Susan Sipprelle, Karen Bartholomew and Paula Rogovin, evaded rain torrents on Sept. 25 ( Rain Day).and conducted the registration. Shoppers at Stop & Shop Stopped.. 

Wed.  Sept. 26 Teaneck  high school students flocking to the registration table with Barbara.

Look at the October dates if you missed thi, to either register --or volunteer to register.