A feminist outpost in the desert.
**Established May 6, 2007, this blog is a feminist, pro-choice, pro-equality space. The Siren also supports work to end sexual violence.**
An award-winning journalist, you may have seen Emmily Bristol’s work in Newsday (pay site), Desert Companion Magazine, Las Vegas CityLife, or the Washington DC-based blogging consortium Fem2.0. She’s appeared on local political news show Ralston Reports and Las Vegas NPR affilliate KNPR. Emmily’s work has gotten national attention by the likes of the DailyKos and ThinkProgress.
She won the Nevada Press Association’s Outstanding Journalist of the Year award in 2005 as well as first-place writing awards for this, this, and this. A survivor of sexual abuse, she has worked to be a voice for other survivors through her blogs, The Sin City Siren (syndicated 2011) and The Tired Feminist. As a fierce advocate for the equality of all people, Emmily received a community partner award from Safe Nest in 2006 and was nominated for a Margaret Sanger award in 2012. While pregnant with her daughter, Emmily was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against a personhood initiative in Nevada in 2009/10.
Her activism – and her marriage to her high school sweetheart – began while she was a student at the University of Oregon in a bygone era before twitter, Facebook, and most of the internet was invented. But these days you can tweet her @TheSinCitySiren and ask about becoming an accidental vegan and growing up in Wasilla, Alaska. (Yes, that Wasilla.)
**The Sin City Siren is available on the Kindle!**
So what has The Sin City Siren done?
In July 2007 The Siren organized the local leg of the national fag bug tour, a campaign to highlight hate crimes. (The fag bug was born when owner Erin Davies found her VW Bug vandalized with homophobic hate speech the day after the National Day of Silence.) In the beginning I had no volunteers, no money and no idea how I’d pull anything off. Within a month’s time, I had connected with women from other organizations (including the local HRC, The Center, Northwest Community Church, Harrahs and more) who brought with them their ideas, talents and volunteers. The result was an out-pouring of support for Erin including comped rooms, free services from a local VW dealer, a local artist selling pieces (inspired by her and donating proceeds to her), and two really fantastic events here in Las Vegas — a night at the Beauty Bar and a caravan down The Strip — which raised money and awareness for the fag bug.
In August 2008 I organized a letter campaign to object to the Nevada Victims of Crime Compensation Program’s “contributory conduct” rule, which was then under review by AG Catherine Cortez Masto. Roughly stated, the code penalized victims of rape for any conduct that may have “contributed” to their sexual assault (examples included drinking alcohol, clothing choices …). Several local organizations participated by contributing official letters objecting to the rule. *The rule has since been removed from the Compensation Program.
The Siren marched at the Stand OUT for Equality march in December 2008. We froze our butts off to make a point about the buying power of the LGBT community!
Continuing a tradition of partnering with local organizations and working to build a stronger community, The Siren joined Planned Parenthood of Southern Nevada’s team in the annual AFAN AIDS Walk in April 2009.
After losing two loved ones to cancer in 2008, The Siren celebrated its 2nd anniversary in May 2009 by forming a team for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure! Planned Parenthood of Southern Nevada and members of the Nevada Women’s Lobby were participants and partners of the team. Together we raised $485!
In November 2009 , I became the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the personhood initiative in Nevada. The personhood initiative sought to legally define a person as any being that contains a human genome. I was represented by the ACLU of Nevada and Planned Parenthood in the case, which we won.
Your humble Siren was featured in a national video by The Center for Reproductive Rights in January 2010. The video featured bloggers from across the country talking about health care reform and reproductive rights.
In April 2010, The Sin City Siren was one of about a dozen prochoice bloggers nationally who participated in the inaugural Abortion Funds’ Blogger Bowl-A-Thon to raise money to help women have access to abortions all over the country.
I organized the Rally for Choice Las Vegas held on Feb. 26, 2011 as part of the national, grassroots Walk for Choice!More than 50 people packed in at Planned Parenthood of Southern Nevada to rally for the organization. The Walk for Choice events — held in more than 50 cities across the country — were in response to the GOP-led House vote on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions act to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
For the second year in a row during April 2011, I participated in the National Abortion Funds’ Bowlathon virtual fundraiser. This year we raised $130 in just three days!
In May/June 2011, I participated in a local drive for crayons and coloring books to be donated to kids undergoing chemo at local hospitals. Between this and my other blog, The Tired Feminist, I collected more than 50 books + crayon packs!
On Sept. 10, 2011, feminist activists from Las Vegas and across the country rallied at the Erotic Heritage Museum for SlutWalk Las Vegas, which culminated in more than 200 participants rallying and marching down The Strip!
Through my work with the Nevada Coalition Against Sexual Violence, I used my voice as a survivor of sexual violence to speak out against offensive and inappropriate tweets by UFC fighter Forrest Griffin. On Nov. 12, 2011, I joined with a group of other mothers and community organizers to call for the UFC to enact a code of conduct, similar to those of other major sports, to create professional standards and discipline those who use hate speech and joke about rape in public forums. *The UFC announced a code of conduct in April 2013 and later that month suspended a fighter hate speech against a transgender fighter.
In April 2012, for the third year in a row, The Sin City Siren raised money for the National Network of Abortion Funds through their Virtual Bowl-a-Thon. Together we raised $365 and had the first live bowling event here in Las Vegas on April 15!
The Sin City Siren was featured in the NNAF’s #GivingTuesday campaign, December 2012.
After breaking the story on twitter of Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores’ story of having an abortion at the age of 16 — something she revealed during April 1, 2013 testimony in support of a comprehensive sex education bill (AB230) — SCS launched the #FierceFlores social media campaign to support Flores after she received death threats stemming from her testimony. The viral response flooded the legislator with message of support from around the world and made headlines on Huffington Post, ThinkProgress, RH Reality Check, Ralston Reports, and more.
NOH8 in Las Vegas, a hate crimes event featuring the return of Erin Davies and her “fag bug” on April 19, 2013 was also the National Day of Silence. See a clip of her documentary, “fagbug.” More than 250 people turned out to Northwest Community Church to hear Erin Davies talk about her experience driving the fagbug and talking with people about hate crimes as well as to hear from our local panel, which included Rev. Greg Davis, Howard Watts, III, Christina Hernandez, and Jane Heenan.
On May 21, 2013, The Sin City Siren officially signed on the Open Letter to Facebook regarding its policies that allow pro-rape pages and images of violence against women to proliferate on its site. A coalition of more than 40 organizations, individuals, and bloggers have joined forces to inform advertisers of the kind of misogynistic content their ads appear next to. We hope that Facebook will take action to better train its moderators to ferret out gender-based violent material in the same way they moderate homophobic and racist content. It is hypocritical and reckless that Facebook will remove an image of a mother breastfeeding her baby and allow a page that promotes rape and images that show badly beaten women with taglines about having deserved it! Facebook is a medium with enormous cultural power and they have a responsibility to be better stewards with their influence.
But it’s not all about me! Below are some of the amazing folks who have written for The Siren: