I had the amazing opportunity to attend NOW’s 50th anniversary conference in Washington DC. I’ve been a member of NOW since the early 70s. In high school, I debated the necessity of having an equal rights amendment for women and, frankly, can’t believe we’re still protesting and lobbying to be heard! Attending this conference has been a dream of mine for many years as I’ve raised children, worked full time and had, sadly, neither the time or the money to participate more fully. I convinced my best friend who I met in college 30 years ago to join me.
The energy in that room was electric! The biggest challenge of the conference was deciding which breakout strategy session to attend.
Sessions included reproductive justice, stopping gun violence, the founding of NOW, campus sexual assaults, sexual abuse to prison pipelines, ERA, expanding the network for LBGTQIA students. All of the strategy sessions were run by a dedicated, articulate group of women. The plenary sessions honored women who have broken down barriers and made a difference for all of us. And how excited we all were to hear Eleanor Smeal and Terry O’Neill fire up the crowd to get out there and get our candidate, the first woman nominated by a major party-Hillary Clinton-elected.
Every one of us has the opportunity to make a difference this year as there are a number of gubernatorial and 8 key senate races, especially in our state, where we have a chance to turn the tide of right wing extremism. The stakes in 2016 have never been higher. I am woman, hear me roar! And this year, the world will hear us roar, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!”