National NOW Times >> Winter, 2001 >> Article
by Cindy Hanford
This fall, NOW chapters
throughout the country organized get-out-the-vote efforts in their
communities, picketed candidates George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in NOW's
Bush- Whacker campaign, held events for the NOW Foundation's Love Your
Body Day, and organized delegations to attend the World March of Women
Tallahassee NOW Keeps Busy
Tallahassee (FL) NOW
held a Bush Whacker protest at the local Republican headquarters on Aug.
28, the same day that Democratic candidate Al Gore visited their city. The
chapter's media advisory read: "Join the National Organization for Women
as we shake the Bushes and expose George W.'s abysmal record on the issues
women care about!" The press statement reported Bush's stance against
reproductive rights and lesbian and gay rights, his record on health care,
education, the death penalty and the environment, and the dangers of his
possible Supreme Court appointments.
Republicans organized a
counter-protest of about two dozen people, who crowded around the
chapter's public address system carrying Bush/Cheney signs and shouting"W
stands for Women" into the microphone, preventing NOW activists from
speaking. The counter-protest backfired—the media found the confrontation
worthy of coverage, and the television story, picked up by NBC news
outlets throughout Florida, actually listed NOW's reasons for opposing
Tallahassee NOW President Linda Miklowitz and other chapter
members received an invitation later in the day to meet Vice President
Gore when he spoke at a local pharmacy on the high cost of prescription
drugs and health care.
Milkowitz reports, "I felt obligated to tell
his campaign manager, Donna Brazile, that we were concerned about his
support of the Charitable Choice and Fathers' Count bills. Brazile told me
that Gore had modified his position on the Fathers' Count Act after a
meeting with national NOW's officers. She did not comment on charitable
choice." In Washington, D.C., for World March events, Milkowitz was able
to state the same concerns to Gore's advisor, Lynn Cutler.
Tallahassee chapter also held a recent action on pay equity with the theme
"Women Mean Busine$$." Members organized a Red Purse Parade outside the
chamber of commerce, carrying red purses because women are "in the red"
and "seeing red" over low pay. For Love Your Body Day, the chapter
received radio coverage on a local program aimed at a teen audience and
held a workshop at a public library. Along with Florida NOW, the chapter
has also been working very hard to save affirmative action in Florida (see
Summer 2000 NNT, p. 18). On Nov. 4, three days before the elections, the
chapter hosted a Florida NOW program on why women should support
affirmative action with their votes.
California NOW: Getting
Out the Vote to Save Supreme Court
On Oct. 2, California NOW staged
an action to "Save the Supreme Court." Dressed in judges robes, with masks
of current Supreme Court justices' faces, activists gathered outside the
Sacramento Federal Courthouse to remind voters the importance of the
upcoming election in determining the future makeup of the Supreme Court.
California NOW President Helen Grieco was joined by
representatives from Planned Parenthood and women's health specialists
speaking on the Supreme Court's impact on reproductive rights issues.
After the question, "What will the Supreme Court look like under the new
President?" activists flipped their masks to show blank faces with
Four days later, chapters throughout the state of
California organized actions to remind Californians to register to vote
before California's Oct. 10 registration deadline.
Marin County NOW
activists wore sandwich-board signs with slogans reminding people to use
the voting rights fought for by suffragists. Sacramento NOW members
dressed up and hit the town, spending the evening registering people at
night spots around the city. Other chapters held similar voter
registration efforts. In honor of the Redstockings Manifesto of 1969,
activists wore red socks or stockings and wore them again on election day
to remind people to go to the polls.
Cobb County NOW Keeps Tabs
on Rep. Bob Barr
On August 20, Cobb County NOW (GA) protested rock
star Ted Nugent as the featured performer at a fundraiser for conservative
Representative Bob Barr, R-Ga. Protesters were outraged by lyrics from
Nugent's song "Stranglehold," in which he sings about crushing his girl
friend's face and threatening to burn her house down if she doesn't
continue to see him.
The protest received television and newspaper
coverage. The Marietta Daily Journal quoted Cobb County NOW President,
Beverly McMurray: "Bob Barr has not addressed the fact that Nugent has
these lyrics ... I think as an elected official who runs on family values,
he needs to be more concerned about violence in personal relationships."
The same article quoted Nugent as planning to contribute "lots" to the
re-election campaign of Barr, a strong opponent of gun control.
Maine NOW Celebrates World March of Women
Maine activists made the trip to Washington, D.C., for the World March of
Women, others mobilized events back home in Portland. Portland NOW and
Maine NOW, in collaboration with the YWCA's Week Without Violence, began a
week-long series of events addressing violence against women with a World
March event in Portland on Oct. 15.
Scores of people marched from
Congress Square to Monument Square, where over 200 rallied to listen to
speakers. Sixteen organizations participated.
Portland NOW Coordinator
Van Berry welcomed the crowd and challenged everyone to become involved.
Long-time NOW activist Lois Reckitt emceed the event and read the state
proclamation acknowledging World Women's March Day in Maine. Maine NOW
President and National Board member Renee Berry-Huffman read the City's
Proclamation and a girl's choir, Musicia de Filia, performed three
selections. Heidi Hart of University of South Maine read a poem written by
Berry-Huffman entitled, "Do You?" about an abused woman's determination to
leave domestic violence behind her, and State Senator Anne Rand of
Portland addressed the crowd.
Many thanks for information provided
by: Linda Miklowitz of Tallahassee NOW, Zena Biocca of Lansing Area NOW,
Elizabeth Volz of New Jersey NOW, Helen Grieco of California NOW, Beverly
McMurray of Cobb County NOW and Renee Berry-Huffman of Maine NOW.