Candidates Announced: Sisters United for NOW

Karen Johnson, Elizabeth Toledo, Kim Gandy and Patricia Ireland announce their team's candidacy for election to NOW office.Our current team of national officers, elected as Sisters United for NOW, has been honored to serve the National Organization for Women during the past four years. All of us, Patricia Ireland, Kim Gandy, Rosemary Dempsey and Karen Johnson, thank you our members and activists for making this organization stronger and more effective than ever. And we ask you to give our new team the opportunity to serve you for another term.

Rosemary, who has served as Action Vice President for two terms, will be leaving the team this summer due to term limits. We will miss her energy and talents in the National Action Center, but Florida will be the beneficiary when she returns home to continue her activism.

The team is excited to welcome Elizabeth Toledo, currently the State Coordinator of California NOW, as our candidate for national Action Vice President. Elizabeth brings a wealth of experience as a chapter president, National Board member and National PAC member. She has organized mass marches and rallies (ranging in size from 50,000 to 100,000), zap actions, candlelight vigils, leadership trainings and political campaigns. As national NOW organized against the anti-affirmative action ballot measure in California last year, we had the opportunity to see the great respect Elizabeth has earned inside NOW and among our allies, especially among communities of color.

Our new team shares a common passion for, and commitment to, NOW. We believe our combined skills and expertise can help our great organization continue to grow as the preeminent feminist action group. In addition to our individual strengths, we have a history of working well together and a shared political philosophy that's why we too are running as Sisters United for NOW.

We are proud of NOW's many accomplishments during this term, especially the strong ties we have forged with diverse constituencies and organizations. The last four years of this newspaper provide a vivid record of our successes.

Our Rally to Stop Violence Against Women drew more than 250,000 to Washington, D.C., in a successful effort to get attention and funding for anti-violence programs. Last year's March to Fight the Right in San Francisco mobilized tens of thousands of women and men across the state to fight the right wing's campaign of hate and attacks on affirmative action for women and people of color.

Our newest project, the Women-Friendly Workplace Campaign, has drawn national attention to harassment and discrimination against women across a broad spectrum from the factory floor to the military to Wall Street. Smith Barney and Mitsubishi have been targeted as "Merchants of Shame," and our sexual harassment telephone tip line and on-line speakout give us vital information on other potential targets.

Among many technological advances, we set up the first internal computer networks at NOW and led the way for other women's organizations with the February 1995 launch of our Website which continues to garner awards for its activist content and up-to-date information. And we saved NOW over $200,000 a year while gaining better control over fund raising, by bringing our direct mail management and production in-house.

We hope you will agree that our team has a solid, convincing record of achievement. We have kept action at the top of our agenda. We have strengthened NOW and collaborated with states and chapters on successful campaigns and events, including two well-attended NOW Foundation Young Feminist Summits.

Still, we have many aspirations for power and growth for NOW. Our current Mega-Membership drive is only one step in our determination to increase NOW's influence.

As NOW moves into the 21st century, we envision an organization whose power base at the chapter level has grown significantly, whose membership has skyrocketed and whose voice is heard around the world. We are excited about moving into new media ventures, such as a feminist broadcast network.

With action organizing, leadership training, chapter development and fund raising, we will continue to improve women's lives through political action. Our leaders at all levels will be heard in the media, in political forums and perhaps most importantly, in our individual communities.

We want to hear your ideas for NOW, and we want to share with you information about our campaign. We can be reached by mail at P.O. Box 7378, Washington, DC 20044-7378 or on-line at We invite you to contact any one of us prior to the national conference in Memphis and to talk with us there. We will also be mailing more information about each candidate and about our Sisters United for NOW platform to chapters and states.

Together we hope to take NOW into the 21st century as the leading feminist organization. We look forward to hearing your vision for NOW and to discussing an energetic and inspirational future for NOW in Memphis.

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