“Speak Truth To Power NOW” was the theme of the 2018 National NOW Conference held in San Jose California from Jul 6-Jul 8, 2018. NOW members came from around the country to attend. The conference included many plenaries and workshops. There also was a PAC discussion luncheon, full of more fabulous speakers. My single favorite experience was meeting Attorney Gloria Allred after a screening of new documentary “Seeing Allred” which we hope to show in NC soon! My favorites speakers out of many exciting speakers were Feminist Majority founder Ellie Smeal and Nevada Senator Pat Spearman, who was instrumental in ratifying ERA in Nevada. Both of these women have come to North Carolina in the past – and I would say – follow them anywhere!
Another fun aspect of national conferences is we get to see friends from across the country. I spent time with friends from CA, NM, FL, PN, WA and other states. The conference was preceded by a national NOW board meeting on Thursday, Jul 5. The conference was followed by a California NOW state conference at the same hotel on Sunday night and Monday morning.
During the first Plenary Session on July 6, a local official from Santa Clara County talking about how much exciting local change she’s able to make happen. In the local government you can make change fast, try out innovative policies, test out ideas, customize fixes, engage more people and prove things work! Seems like she is doing Cities For CEDAW without realizing it. But great points!
Jennifer Brea, our Victoria J Mastrobuono award for women’s health honoree, was misdiagnosed for a major disease with basically hysteria. The Harvard Ph.D. student had been healthy and doing well at university and about to get married. Then she is struck down by a fever that leaves her bedridden, and she is continually misdiagnosed as hysterical. She sets out on a virtual journey to document her story as she fights a disease that medicine forgot. Documented by the film Unrest – I have a copy. Women are too often misdiagnosed.
Below is Nerexda Soto – asking for panic buttons for hotel workers and domestic workers. Marched, tried hard. Lost in Long Beach. Still trying. #unionsempowerus #speaktruthtopower
This was California NOW’s workshop on grant writing and fundraising on 7/6/18. See the program for the many other workshops we had.
Friday “afternoon Gloria Allred received the National Organization for Women Lifetime Achievement Award. And then this evening the documentary “Seeing Allred” was shown followed by a question and answer period with Ms Allred and the two women producers of the documentary. It was great and inspiring both to see the history of her life, her battle for justice and to meet her.” Linda Tosti-Lane wrote. Linda is pictured here with her twin sister and Gloria Allred.
Friday night there was a film screening of Equal Means Equal followed by discussion with director Kamala Lopez. As you know, NC NOW and other women’s organizations around the state have been showing Equal Means Equal for two years.
Nevada State Senator Spearman is the Co-Majority Leader of the Nevada Senate and the main sponsor of the bill in February of 2017. Nevada ratified the ERA on March 22, 2017, 45 years to the day after Congress passed the ERA. Nevada was the 36th state and the first in over 35 years. Illinois followed a year later. We now only need one more state to reach the 38 state ratification threshold.
Spearman got everyone riled up telling us about The ABC’s of Equality
- A. Acknowledge the issue.
- B. Be prepared for the long haul. We will no longer suffer in silence. We need people who will be nice and kind. And we need to have others who fight like junkyard dogs. We gotta keep coming.
- C. be Committed. Keep going when you see others making lies about you. It doesn’t matter what they call you, but what you answer to.
And it doesn’t matter who takes the honor, but that we get the job done!
VA Congresswoman Hala Ayala, a Latina and one of 15 new delegates elected in 2017. As a result of this new contingent of women in the legislature, VA finally expanded Medicaid into the state. Ayala’s a former state NOW president.
Ivy Bottini is one of the founding members of NOW. As a lesbian, she was one of the people purged during the early NOW schism. This Woman of Courage award from NOW is an apology and honors her decades of activism for women and LGBTQIA+.
For those that don’t know, Ivy was the brains behind the first banner unfurled on the Statue of Liberty in 1970 that said, “Women of the World: UNITE!”
Her autobiography will be coming out in November “The Liberation of Ivy Bottini.”