National NOW Times >> Summer 2002 >> Article
by Stefanie Richards, Chapter Development Specialist, and Monica Martinez, Field Organizer
In a coalition effort with a local civil rights group, the Valdosta Area chapter of NOW protested on March 30 against the alleged exploitation and sexual harassment of African American women by a local used-car dealer. The demonstration was organized by the People's Tribunal, and Valdosta Area NOW Coordinator Cherie Hicks was among the speakers who praised the demonstrators for bringing the injustices to light.
The chapter was coming off a busy month in which it helped bring NOW President Kim Gandy to the small South Georgia town for the Valdosta State University Women's Studies Conference and also hosted an evening of television monitoring and fellowship as part of NOW's Watch Out, Listen Up! Campaign. The Valdosta Chapter will celebrate its two years of existence this summer.
On March 8, 2002, NOW activists nationwide loudly and clearly told their senators they will not allow the Bush administration to roll back decades of hard-won reproductive rights by naming a foe of abortion to the Supreme Court. Following are the accounts from NOW chapters who sent in information about their actions to NOW Acts.
As part of the second phase of the Action to Protect and Advance Roe, members of the Wichita (Kan.) chapter of NOW met with Sen. Sam Brownback's aides. Chapter President Liz Hicks and Diane Wahto, president of the Wichita Choice Alliance, presented the testimony collected during the Jan. 22 speak-outs to the senator's staff.
While this meeting took place, NOW activists rallied outside the senator's office. In addition, the chapter also addressed issues of relevance to the community, such as the lack of reproductive services in Catholic hospitals, a particularly acute problem for communities with no other health care facilities, and the fate of the appellate and district courts.
Arizona NOW Chapters
East Valley, Phoenix/Scottsdale and Sun Cities/West Valley NOW members participated in a mock filibuster of Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain in Phoenix. Wendy Eckenberg, Arizona NOW coordinator, Karen Van Hooft, and other chapter members presented NOW's agenda at the senators' offices.
At the rally held as part of the event, NOW was joined by students from Northern Arizona and Arizona State Universities, as well as members of Planned Parenthood and Women in Black, making a stronger presence during rush-hour traffic.
Charlotte (N.C.) NOW hosted a mock filibuster at Sen. John Edwards' Charlotte office at the Federal Courthouse. The goal of the mock filibuster was to secure Edwards' pledge to filibuster any Supreme Court nominee who is not unequivocally in support of Roe and women's rights. Additionally, Charlotte NOW asked the senator to oppose any nominees to the district and appellate courts who come before the Senate Judiciary Committee whose statements and/or decisions betray their anti-abortion views.
This planned action also brought attention to the fact that there are currently over 50 nominees to the district and appellate courts before the Judiciary Committee. Most of those nominees have a clear record of right-wing, anti-abortion views.
Tallahassee NOW, Gainesville NOW, and UFSFCC NOW
Members of Tallahassee, Gainesville, and UFSFCC NOW chapters staged a mock filibuster at the offices of Senators Bill Nelson and Bob Graham. The activists sent a clear message to the senators: pledge to filibuster any Supreme Court nominees who are hostile to reproductive rights. The groups met with representatives of both senators and held a rally outside of Nelson's offices.
NOW activists stressed to the senators' staffs the importance of keeping abortion safe and legal and discussed issues such as the danger of parental notification laws to young women. The Gainesville NOW chapter also brought a 20-foot scroll detailing the ways the right to abortion is already restricted by laws.