North Carolina lost a feminist warrior when our friend and lifetime NOW member Jan Allen passed away on 9/13/19. Janet Heineman Allen was a wonderful woman who donated decades of her life to working for women’s equality. She joined NOW working for the Equal Rights Amendment over 40 years ago, and continued for decades on our NC NOW board and NC NOW Political Action Committee. She went to almost every national NOW conference through at least 2015 in New Orleans. Jan co-founded Lillian’s List in 1997 to fill a need to support pro-choice progressive women who wanted to run for office. Jan chaired at least one Lillian’s List board and was also on the NC Planned Parenthood board (through Planned Parenthood’s name changes). Over the years, she was a mentor to countless women.
NC NOW’s Treasurer, Roberta Waddle, wrote in part, “For 40 years, Jan has been in the women’s movement through NC NOW and Lillian’s List. I have sat in countless meetings where her voice was a voice of reason, and always an advocate for women. Together we have strategized, celebrated victories and voiced frustrations at setbacks.”
When Jan’s 80th birthday was celebrated at a Lillian’s List Chapel Hill Reception, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall introduced Jan. Secretary Marshall said, “There is not a more dedicated feminist or champion of reproductive freedom in the entire state than Jan Allen!”
On that same 80th birthday, September 3, 2015 was declared “Jan Allen Day” by the Town of Chapel Hill!
Jan Allen has received many awards for her work to champion reproductive rights over the years, here are some other examples. Jan received the Susan Hill Award from Naral Pro-choice North Carolina in 2013. Jan received the North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine on January 12, 2011. She received the Planned Parenthood Margaret Sanger Award, 2005. NC Equity Carpathian “Speaking Out” Award, 2000. NC NOW Achievement Award, 1994 & 1999.
Jan was interviewed and recorded by the southern oral history program at UNC Chapel Hill.
“If anyone changed the face of power, Jan did.” – Lillian’s List
“We all stood on Jan’s shoulders.” – Paula Wolf
Jan’s work shows the powerful change people can enact on their community if they work at it.
There will be a memorial service for Jan on Sept. 29th at 1:00 pm at the Carol Woods Retirement Community in Chapel Hill, 750 Weaver Dairy Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 . NC NOW friends will be among the speakers.