Young Feminists Offer "New Voices, New Visions"

NOW Foundation Young Feminist Summit Committee membersNOW Foundation Young Feminist Summit Committee members, representing nine geographic regions, include, from left: Nicole Nelson, Theresa Alan, Bethany Maben, Susannah Northart, Inson Kim, Amy DeBower, Heather Martin and kneeling, Brooke Viviano and Andrea Lee. Photo by Dee Dee Anderson.

by Inson Kim,
Young Feminist Committee Chair

With their eyes on the future, hundreds of young feminists will meet at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C., April 11-13 for NOW Foundation's 1997 Young Feminist Summit. The conference theme, "New Voices, New Visions: Young Feminists Taking Action Into The 21st Century," reflects what the weekend holds for participants: action, involvement and goal-setting.

Building on the success of the 1995 Young Feminist Summit on Violence Against Women, members of the Young Feminist Committee gathered at NOW Foundation headquarters in January to set into motion this year's summit. Representing nine geographic regions, the committee members collectively brought extensive activist experiences, leadership in the women's rights movement and diversity to the conference organizing weekend.

We planners decided the summit should focus on activism and leadership skills-building. Consequently, summit workshops and working groups will be action-oriented, and every participant will be asked to commit to at least one personal action related to a particular workshop/working group issue.

Workshops will cover topics such as sexual harassment, date/acquaintance rape, lesbian/gay rights, women's health issues, diversity, local organizing and fund raising. While it may be difficult to cover all issues in a weekend summit, the committee members are setting as diverse and comprehensive an agenda as possible.

We also stressed the need to establish connections not only among young feminists, but with women's rights leadership in each region. Committee members agreed that one of the summit's priorities must be linking new activists with established local activists. This will increase opportunities for continued skills and leadership building at the grassroots level and increase activity locally and regionally.

To achieve this inter-generational connection, regional caucuses will be held at the summit. Beforehand, committee members will contact leaders at local, state, regional and national levels in their respective regions and encourage them to attend the summit.

Of course, the summit will not be all work and no play. Entertainment and dances are set for Friday and Saturday evenings. We hope to highlight the artistic talents of young feminists by providing a forum as part of the entertainment.

We are amazed at the excitement and positive response we've encountered about the summit. During the organizing weekend, the first official registration was received at the office, and on the final day many D.C.-area activists came together as members of a Volunteer Conference Committee.

As indicated by the tremendous success of the last summit -- attended by more than 1,200 activists -- young feminists from around the country are eager to gather, share experiences and develop action plans.

To register for the Young Feminist Summit see online at or contact us at 202-331-0066.

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