Linda Schiffer

Pain enough to go on both sides

Our marches demand that women find common ground

Now is the time.

I have heard people say it is a challenge when you live in interesting times. My challenge is to listen to the daily unfolding of political news out of Washington, D.C. And, I am told that bipartisanship is the magic that will cure all.

However, what I really need to hear, as a 90-year-old woman, is what kind of courage will it take for the March for Life and Planned Parenthood leadership to come to the table.

Is it possible for these women to sit with one another and hammer out an agenda representing all women in this country? What is our common ground?...

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A call home

A dean of students seeks sage advice for the perfect parting words to colleagues, students, and graduates

When I was asked to deliver this valediction, I felt honored, I felt humbled, and I felt a tremendous amount of pressure to say just the right thing with these last words you will hear at your commencement. I wanted to leave you with something truly notable, echoing some...

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Selectboard member publicly implicated BASIC with no evidence

At the Dec. 4 Brattleboro Selectboard meeting, a member of the public informed the board that some of the “Re-Site the Skatepark” signs that had gone missing had later turned up at a party and were subsequently returned to the police. One of my colleagues then questioned aloud, to...

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My time down and (oh-so-minimally) out in Uganda

Are you freakin' nuts? I hope you're kidding. Please try not to get killed. These are just a few of the posts that brightly adorned my Facebook wall a few weeks ago, when I announced I was leaving that day to go volunteer in Uganda. Never mind that this was my second time going to Uganda in the past few years. Never mind that I was volunteering with an American nonprofit organization that safely sponsors four of these trips a...

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Stop telling me I got punched in the face because I’m gay

Psst. Can you keep a secret? Okay, don't tell anyone, but I have a superpower. No, I can't talk to sea horses or make tulips grow to towering, city-menacing heights. But I do have that meta-human ability to take any situation and make it gay. And yeah - I know I'm not the only one, but I still can wield it in spectacular (and obviously fabulous) ways. The check-out girl only offers me paper and never plastic? She can sense...

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Why I won’t be your unicorn

Over the past decade, I've agreed countless times to give LGBTQ 101 presentations at colleges and universities. These sessions usually boil down to, “No, bisexuality is not a phase. Yes, you have gay students at your faith-based institution. And this is what the 'T' stands for.” Last week, when asked to present at a small, Midwestern liberal-arts college, I tried out a new response: “No.” Out loud, I begged off, hiding behind a schedule that was simply too full. In...

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Concrete Quilt: A fulfilling, meaningful experience

On June 24, more than 20 artists (with one as young as 4-years-old!) came together to create the Concrete Quilt in the High Grove parking lot. This project commemorates the 25th anniversary of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, which currently contains 47,000 panels with the names of more than 93,000 people lost to HIV/AIDS. The painting of the Concrete Quilt was an incredibly moving experience, one of the truest expressions of community and, as one passerby noted, “what Brattleboro is all...

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Change, trust, and sea lions

Before I am broken. There are countless other ways to express it, but that's the expression that feels right. “I am off track” makes me feel like a corrective course is easily available. “I am lost” suggests that an inner compass could easily be located. “I am stuck” just wants for some easily applied emotional grease. So instead, I am broken. Not that the idiom isn't extreme, but I am taking small comfort in the fact that “irrevocably” has not...

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