NOW Acts

by Cindy Hanford, Chapter/State Development Staff

Baltimore NOW Planned Parenthood of MarylandBaltimore NOW Planned Parenthood of Maryland worked in coalition on the chapter's annual Roe v. Wade rally. The gathering on Jan. 22 at the local courthouse was a public show of respect for reproductive choice and health service providers and an attempt to counter the climate of hate and violence surrounding the issue.

In January, many NOW chapters held vigils in remembrance of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade (the 1973 Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion) and participated in coalition efforts to commemorate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Many chapters sent in exciting photos over the past month, so NOW Acts is happy to share a number of these photos and the following highlights with our members.

Cobb County (GA) NOW joined members of Atlanta NOWOn Jan. 18, members of Cobb County (GA) NOW joined members of Atlanta NOW in Atlanta's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday March. NOW signs emphasized the importance of affirmative action. The Cobb County contingent pictured from left to right: Pat Chapman, Bill Bolton, chapter president Beverly McMurray, Leah Moreas, Roberto Moreas, Donald Walker and Eleanor Babcook.  Photo courtesy of Beverly McMurray.

N.H. NOW Rally Against Christian Coalition Agenda

New Hampshire NOW held a protest on Saturday, Feb. 6, 1999, against the regressive agenda of the Christian Coalition. The protest took place in Manchester, N.H., where the Christian Coalition held a kick-off Campaign 2000 gala event, attended by such conservative right-wing presidential hopefuls as Gary Bauer and Allen Keyes. Former Vice President Dan Quayle sent a video message to the event.

NH NOW Treasurer Barbara Bazemore of Merrimack was quoted in the Manchester Union Leader as saying, "We want to send the message that we don't want to mix religion and politics."

Protest signs included NOW rounds. One sign read "My Christian values are not your Christian values," and others quoted Thomas Jefferson and George Washington on the theme of separation of church and state. Despite the presence of Bauer, Keyes, Pat Robertson and Steve Forbes, the picture published in the next day's newspaper was of NOW protesters.

The Raleigh (NC) NOW chapterThe Raleigh (NC) NOW chapter commemorated the 26th anniversary of Roe v. Wade with a demonstration of support outside the Raleigh Women's Health Clinic. The chapter presented clinic owner and National Women's Health Organization President Susan Hill with a plaque in recognition of her leadership in the abortion rights movement.  In addition, the chapter recognized all clinic personnel with certificates of appreciation.  Event participants read the names of people who have been murdered in anti-abortion violence and stated their commitment to keeping abortion safe and legal. Pictured left to right: Diana Haskell, Rochelle Guilford and Ellen Willis.  Photo by Anthony Rocco, courtesy of the Raleigh Spectator.

Lawsuit Against Cincinnati NOW Appealed

Our Winter 1999 article, "Feminist Court Watches: Trials and Tribulations," reported on the legal difficulties faced by the Cincinnati NOW chapter. The chapter spoke out when a judge overturned a restraining order and threatened a woman with jail for denying visitation to an ex-spouse she alleged was abusive. The ex-husband sued the chapter and individual NOW activists for defamation. The judge dismissed the suit, but the plaintiff has appealed.

The chapter has already sustained major legal bills and now will incur even more. If you would like to help protect NOW chapters' ability to speak out about bad judicial decisions, please send contributions to: Legal Defense Fund, Cincinnati NOW, P.O. Box 9422, Cincinnati, OH 45209.

Tulane NOW Victory

Also in the last NOW Acts column, we told readers about a group of male students at Tulane University who had hung a plastic blow-up doll in a dorm window in a high-traffic area. The display appeared to the Tulane University Action Team of New Orleans NOW to be a monument to rape.

Tulane NOW President and former NOW Action Center intern Meghan Streit spearheaded the efforts to have the display taken down.

After residence hall officials refused to remove the display, Streit and Attebury filed a complaint with the University Honor Board, charging that the display amounted to sexual harassment. The Honor Board ruled for Tulane NOW, and the display is now down.

The Action Team's next aim is to secure a commitment from the University to a safe environment for women students.

Florida / Santa Fe Community College (UF/SFCC) NOWCandi Churchill (third from left), president of Florida / Santa Fe Community College (UF/SFCC) NOW, looks on as Allison White speaks out against rape, sexual assault, and harassment on campus. The chapter's demands include proper handling of rape cases and a women's center on the Gainesville, Fla., campus.  Photo by Jenny Brown.

University of Florida/Santa Fe Community College NOW

On Jan. 22, the University of Florida/Santa Fe Community College (UF/SFCC) chapter of NOW in Gainesville, Fla., held a speak-out against rape, sexual assault and harassment on their campus.  The chapter handed out a flier listing their demands for the proper handling of campus rape cases and for a women's center. Chapter President Candi Churchill addressed the crowd assembled on the campus plaza.

"The University continues to address rape as a safety, communication or education issue," Churchill said. "We [UF/SFCC NOW] do not focus on how a woman can prevent a sexual assault, but how we can prevent an assault from happening due to the imbalance of power between men and women."

Churchill went on to state that the university's programs should hold men responsible for their actions.

More than a dozen NOW members and other women from the audience came forward to tell about acts of violence and harassment against them. Churchill credits the chapter with starting a campus-wide discussion about sexual assault. She promised, "We will continue to push our demands."

Westchester (NY) NOW President Luba Fineson (right) and Linda CastroWestchester (NY) NOW President Luba Fineson (right) awards Linda Castro for her work on a successful campaign to achieve equality of racial representation on the Mount Vernon school board. Also , the county Board of Legislators declared Dec. 19, 1998, Westchester NOW Day in recognition of the chapter's "advocacy... to combat domestic violence, support legal aid for women, and provide a climate for diversity and freedom from hate crimes in the county."  Photo courtesy of Luba Fineson.

Thanks for information provided by: Christine Brodak, Lynn Buck and Nesli Karakus of Baltimore NOW;  Robin Davis of Raleigh NOW; Candi Churchill and Jenny Brown of UF/SFCC NOW; Kris Moody of NH NOW; Beverly McMurray of Cobb County NOW; Luba Fineson of Westchester NOW; Mindy Grantham of Cincinnati NOW; and Terry O'Neill from New Orleans NOW.


Send descriptions and photos of your chapter actions to: Cindy Hanford, NOW Acts, 733 15th Street NW, 2nd Floor, Washington D.C. 20005 or by email Please remember to tell us who took the photos and who is pictured.

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