Kirkendale: Re-energized to Persist at the 2018 NC NOW Conference

“Ladies all across the world
Listen up, we’re looking for recruits
If you with me, lemme see your hands
Stand up and salute
Get your killer heels, sneakers, pumps or lace up your boots
Representing all the women, salute, salute.”

“Salute” by Little Mix

Audrey Muck aptly chose this song as accompaniment to her update on the ERA, inspiring us to dance in and out of our seats – much needed during the 2pm time slot! The Women Rising Up NOW! 2018 State Conference couldn’t have come at a better time for me personally: deeply discouraged by the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, following two back to back trips to Washington DC to join the “angry mob” of dedicated women, survivors and allies from across the country in bird-dogging, direct actions, and speak-outs at the U.S. Senate and at the Supreme Court, I missed the company of kindred spirits acutely.

Photo Credit: Jenn Alexander

But I’m preaching to the choir here. This is a dark time in our nation, and we can’t afford to give in to hopelessness. Participating in the NC NOW conference re-energized and re-motivated me to continue fighting the good fight.

Highlights included civil rights attorney Anita Earls’ keynote speech on women and the right to vote in NC. I’ve long been an admirer of Anita – we need her on the NC Supreme Court now more than ever!

Photo Credit: Beth Dehghan

Robin Davis provided a succinct legislative update, and Sharon Johnson explained the six constitutional amendments that legislators are seeking to push through by using deceptive and manipulative language. Fortunately, people seem to be catching on to this latest con, as the “Nix All Six” campaign gains momentum – let’s hope that proves to be the case at the polls as well! Jenn Alexander talked about Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump both claiming to be victims rather than the aggressors and the gaslighting phenomena.

Panel with Jenn Alexander, Sharon Johnson and Robin Davis Photo Credit: Beth Dehghan

Finally, I appreciated putting faces to names on yard signs, as candidates endorsed by the NC NOW PAC introduced themselves to us.

The most uplifting aspect of the conference was the opportunity to re-connect with some long-time acquaintances and forge new relationships.

I also enjoyed facilitating a session on self-care in trying times, a topic close to my heart.

Self Care in Trying Times workshop in the atrium
Photo Credit: Jenn Alexander

Rest is non-negotiable when you’re training for a marathon. This is a marathon, not a sprint! I look forward to getting more involved with NC NOW as we head into midterms and beyond. Complacency is not an option!

-Stella Kirkendale

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