Feminist Message in the Spotlight at National Conference in Los Angeles

by Roxanne Guillory, Publications Intern

As women's rights supporters gear up for the unique challenges ahead in the next millennium, NOW has chosen the entertainment capital of the world as the site of its final national conference of the 20th Century. On July 2-4, 1999, NOW members will converge on the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles to celebrate the victories we've achieved and to plan strategies for the year 2000 and beyond.

The Beverly Hilton

The Beverly Hilton Hotel, site of the 1999 NOW National Conference in Los Angeles.


As the center of the Hollywood Dream Machine, Los Angeles is an ideal place for NOW to make women's voices heard by an entertainment industry that has long ignored the concerns of women and often objectifies, degrades and demeans us. This year's National NOW Conference will offer activists the unique opportunity to make their presence felt in the entertainment community.

"As NOW moves into the next century, more determined than ever to control our own message, what better place than Los Angeles to demonstrate our commitment to becoming a major force in the communications world," said Action Vice President Elizabeth Toledo.

Other key issues on the agenda will include NOW's commitment to having 2000 feminist elected officials by the year 2000 and our continuing struggle to protect reproductive rights.

The national conference will also be the place for activists to take part in examining NOW's Statement of Purpose and proposing changes to fit the challenges of the next millennium.

"The National Board has asked chapters to begin discussion of a new statement of purpose for our organization," said Membership Vice President Karen Johnson. "Current language appears as Article II of our National Bylaws. During our National Conference in Los Angeles, members will collaborate on the new statement, which will be voted on as a bylaws amendment at our conference in Miami in 2000."

A Media Institute is also planned in conjunction with the conference and will be open to activists
on a first-come, first-served basis. Last year's conference participants in Rochester passed a Declaration of Sentiments where we declared:  ". . .We commit to building a mass movement where we are leaders not followers of public opinion. We will continue to move feminist ideals into mainstream thought, and we will build our media and new technology capabilities to control our own image and message . . ." The 1999 Media Institute will be a major step toward implementing this vision.

Look for more information on the Institute in the next issue of the National NOW Times, and check NOW's website for updates.

Of course, it's not all work and no play at a National NOW Conference. As always, there will be plenty of exciting entertainment as feminists from around the country gather to celebrate their community. Conference attendees can enjoy miles of beautiful Pacific beaches and caucus at the two hotel pools.

The Beverly Hilton sits at the border between Los Angeles and Beverly Hills and is located near terrific shopping and restaurant areas. Los Angeles is also home to several vibrant ethnic enclaves.  Visit Chinatown's gardens and herb shops, Little Tokyo's sushi bars, and Olvera Street's patio diners where live mariachi music fills the air.

Art enthusiasts can visit the popular new J. Paul Getty Museum, which houses some of the world's finest art treasures. The Museum of Tolerance, a heartwrenching but enlightening journey through the dynamics of racism and prejudice, is also near the conference site. This museum highlights not only the atrocities of the Holocaust, but also racial conflicts in the U.S., including the L.A. uprisings. It is a must-see for any equal rights activist.

Register now for the National Conference and be a part of the fight for women's rights in the next millennium (click here for registration form). Please book your airfare through West End Travel at 1-800-368-5874 and tell them you are going to the NOW Conference. Each ticket purchased through that agency counts toward free tickets to bring in speakers and entertainment. Room rates at the Beverly Hilton are $115 single, $125 double, $135 triple, and $140 quad. Reservations must be made by June 1. Call 1-800-HILTONS to reserve your place at the hotel, and don't forget to check NOW's website at www.now.org for the latest information on the conference or to register online.

Host Chapter Getting Busy On National Conference

Los Angeles NOW will host the National NOW Conference on July 2-4, 1999, for the first time in 20 years. This year's conference presents a wonderful opportunity for the many activists in the greater Los Angeles area to work together to put on a successful event. The chapter needs your talents and input - the local organizing committee has fourteen subcommittees working on different aspects of conference organizing. If you live in the Los Angeles area, please volunteer by calling 310-312-1185.  Of course, anyone can volunteer on site at the conference, and conference organizers will welcome your help!

"Los Angeles NOW is really excited about this conference, and they are already doing outreach in the area," said Toledo. "This 1999 conference promises to be an entertaining and informative strategy session."

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