by Diane Minor
NOW activists are putting their money on the line to build the April 14 Fight the Right March in San Francisco.
At the start of a dialing for dollars phone campaign designed to sponsor activists who can't afford the $50 bus fare to the march, San Fernando Valley NOW President Jean Morrison said, "we've raised $700 without even getting through the C's!"
And the enthusiasm isn't limited to the West Coast. "We're pleasantly surprised by the number of East Coast states and chapters that are looking at reserving planes and pulling together state delegations," said NOW Executive Vice President Kim Gandy, after volunteers completed the first round of phoning to chapters.
"In the past few years there is no single issue that our chapters have been more concerned about than fighting the right wing -- especially the so-called religious right wing," said Gandy. "They want strategies and materials and our organizing for the march is just the ticket."
In addition to packets of flyers and sample press releases already sent to chapter leaders, a new, eight-minute, "Fight the Right!" video is available for $10 a copy. To order it, contact Shelley Golden at 202-628-8669, extension 761. People who have computer networking capabilities at home or work can receive information about the march on-line.
Local NOW activists and allies are already contributing their time and energy, too. After only being in operation one week, the West Coast march office in San Francisco had enlisted more than 200 volunteers to pull off phone banking four nights a week.
And the effort to draw in co-sponsoring groups was well on its way to garnering support from some 200 other national and local allies. Strong representation is coming from groups representing battered women, lesbian and gay rights, labor, civil rights, poor people and reproductive rights -- all the major themes of the march itself.
"We refuse to sit back and watch as the radical right turns their divisive rhetoric into national and state policy," said NOW Action Vice President Rosemary Dempsey, in a news release announcing her West Coast campus tour. (Two other campus tour teams featuring NOW President Patricia Ireland and California NOW Coordinator Elizabeth Toledo are also on the road.)
"We must stop ballot measures attacking affirmative action and lesbian and gay rights," she said. "We must stop congressional threats to poor women's and children's basic survival, the funding that ensures access to reproductive rights, civil rights and programs for battered women."
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