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National NOW Times >> Winter, 2001 >> Article

Activists March Online with NOW.org

by Dana J. Robinson

A new form of activism – a Virtual March – made its debut at http://www.now.org to encourage online activism and to allow far-flung activists to experience the World March of Women 2000. From a special web page, online activists could access streaming video of rally speakers and entertainers, a video feature showing the day's events through the eyes of a participant, exciting photos from marches around the world, background information about the World March and the issues behind it, and a guestbook for participants to sign.

Streaming Video
The streaming video sections really engaged the web audience and brought the rally into their homes. Inspiring and moving speeches made viewers wish they had been there, and they were urged to take action by Patricia Ireland of NOW, Dolores Huerta of the United Farm Workers, Eleanor Smeal of the Feminist Majority, Cheri Honkala of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, and Marleine Bastien of the Haitian Women of Miami. Videos also captured the performances by the trio BETTY and by SONiA of disappear fear. The feature story included video and commentary on the day from the perspective of young feminist activists Latifa Lyles and Jordan Abbott, beginning with their road trip from New York to Washington for the march.

Bringing the Issues Home
Online marchers could learn about the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, how their policies encourage women’s poverty worldwide, and what is being done to address these problems. Participants could also participate in a forum to discuss the event and the issues, and they could purchase the same World March souvenir t-shirts and buttons that were sold at the main event. These are still available through the catalog in the centerfold of this NOW Times or online at www.now.org/catalog.

Launch of New www.NOW.org Site
The Virtual March on October 17 marked the launch of NOW’s newly designed and revamped website at http://www.now.org. While it is still a work in progress, visitors will see lots of new features, like daily news stories, a weekly opinion poll, back-and-forth chats about current issues, NOW Village discussions on a host of topics, regular features on historic feminists, and much more to come.

Soon NOW will be offering its own Internet service -- just like AOL or Compuserve, but with great features, and best of all it will help to finance an even stronger action agenda. The Virtual March was on the home page during the first few weeks of the launch, and now can be found in the Global section -- just click on the banner. So anyone who missed the live march in October, it's not too late to log on, listen in, and take action NOW.

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