Streetbuzz Interview

May 23, 2005

Marcy Bloom: Executive Director at Aradia Women's Health Center, cat lady (but not yet crazycatlady), lover of all things New York.
Lives in Seattle,Washington, USA.

A STREETBUZZ INTERVIEW

Marcy Bloom

STREETBUZZ: Marcy, where and when were you born?

MARCY BLOOM: I was born in Brooklyn, New York, on August 20, 1951.

STREETBUZZ: How about your family and childhood?

MARCY BLOOM: I had an older brother and younger sister. As was common, my brother was clearly favored as the male and first born. I feel that our parents loved us all very much, but my brother clearly got favoritism simply by virtue of being a male. Thus feminism was born somewhere in my heart and soul (laughter) even though I was obviously too young to have true awareness of what that was. I simply felt there was something intrinsically unfair about any kind of favoritism based on gender.

STREETBUZZ: School?

MARCY BLOOM: Brooklyn N.Y., woo-hoo! Sociology and healthcare administration, Long Island University, Brooklyn campus. Yes, serious as one could be during the sixties and seventies. I knew I needed training to be able to function in the world. even though all I wanted to do was march against the war, march for women's rights, and march against the oppressive U.S. adminstration (LBJ and Richard Nixon!) Nothing's changed, huh? Goes around...

STREETBUZZ: What can you say about New York?

MARCY BLOOM: Great exciting city, I believe everyone should live in a big city for at least a few years. It prepares you for just about anything else you encounuter. It is really the center of the world, don't doubt it (laughs.)

STREETBUZZ: How and when did you come out west?

MARCY BLOOM: 1979, to live with my then-partner, which regretfully didn't quite work out. But it brought me to Seattle which has been a great place for me to live and work since then.

STREETBUZZ: There's some guy you know named Domenick Dellino?

MARCY BLOOM: Yeah, some guy (laughs.) We met in 1980. He left for graduate school a few weeks after our meeting and moved to Florida. We stayed in touch over the years, and started living together in 1989. And we've worked it out, we're happy and in love and seem to complement each other in many ways, much to the surprise of our family and friends. Here I am a Jewish-American New Yorker, he's the number one son of a Seattle Italian family, and we've worked out our differences and complement each other in many emotional, psychological and intellectual ways.

Marcy Bloom

STREETBUZZ: So after you moved to Seattle, what did you do then?

MARCY BLOOM: I went into this huge depression, I think it was culture shock, also weather shock, it just takes some getting used to. I worked for awhile at various clinics still in the women's health arena, until I came to Aradia in 1987. The northwest's oldest women's health center, providing safe and compassionate abortion and gynecological services.

STREETBUZZ: That isn't like, controversial or anything is it?

MARCY BLOOM: Well, there have been pickets and firebombings and death threats and assassinations around the entire U.S., so I would say that yes, it is a little bit controversial. After more than thirty years of legal abortion in the U.S., it's really tragic that a woman's right to safe health care and her own choices and destiny are so controversial.

STREETBUZZ: Why do you think some people are so fanatically opposed to abortion?

MARCY BLOOM: It really is about the role of women in today's society and today's world. Disguised as concern for human life. Since we know That those who oppose abortion rights also oppose improving conditions for women's rights in education, health care, job training, better schools, they clearly don't care about babies or families; it's about controlling women, and letting fundamentalist religious beliefs control What is supposed to be a secular society. It goes beyond women, although that is supposed to be the focus.

STREETBUZZ: What do you say when someone says that abortion is murder of an unborn human being?

MARCY BLOOM: That is their personal and private religious belief, which they're entitled to. And all we ask is that it not be imposed on the rest of society. But they are entitled to that belief; we just ask they not use violence or legislative action to impose their beliefs on the rest of society.

STREETBUZZ: May I ask what exactly is your job there at Aradia?

MARCY BLOOM: The executive director does a lot of things in a small non-profit. My job is to keep the organization growing: Working with the board to set policies, so that we are a high-functioning organization in all arenas. And of course working with the development department to raise the money we need to have the best organization and best and safest health care services possible. Yes, we are seeing more and more poor and low income women, women who don't speak English, women who are new to this country, women who are traveling further then ever to access health care. So as the Bush administration attempts to reduce access to reproductive health care, it's these women with the least power in society who are most affected.

STREETBUZZ: Speaking of extremists, what can you say about the Bush administration?

MARCY BLOOM: It's hard to imagine a worse president and a more destructive administration to be in office at this point in history, although it's always possible. Everything progressive is being reduced and whittled down, including women's rights. It is a much more unsafe world since Bush came to power, and Bush has truly brought so much of that upon us.

STREETBUZZ: How about the future?

MARCY BLOOM: It's very bleak. Freedoms are being compromised here and throughout the world. Our country, and maybe it never was, but is no longer the symbol of freedom that it used to be. Our environment is becoming more and more polluted. The poor are becoming poorer, the rich are becoming richer. It does seem like the wrong leaders are leading the world. We need a different model of leadership, and different model of global citizenry. Discouraging, isn't it?

Marcy Bloom

*****

A STREETBUZZ INTERVIEW

2006 Update: In November 2006 Marcy received the prestigious annual William O. Douglas Award for "a lifetime of staunch advocacy for civil liberties and the fndamental right to reproductive freedom" by the Washington State chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

2007 Update: Marcy retired as Executive Director of Aradia in late 2006. In January 2007, Aradia Women's Health Center closed its doors for the last time.

Marcy can be contacted at: marcybloom@comcast.net