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2004 National NOW Conference Resolutions


MOBILIZE WOMEN TO DEFEAT GEORGE W. BUSH

2004

WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women organized demonstrations at the inauguration of George W. Bush as President of the United States to protest both the voting process and the counting of votes in Florida and also the unprecedented decision by the highest court in the land that undermined the democratic process for electing our president; and

WHEREAS, through its website, "The Truth about George," the National Organization for Women has compiled a comprehensive record of the abuses of power, destructive and dangerous policies, unconscionable actions, provocative and divisive statements, misstatements of fact, and downright stupidity exhibited by George W. Bush and his administration over the years and posted our findings on the web for all the world to see; and

WHEREAS, NOW has worked tirelessly to insure that federal judges are fair, impartial, and dedicated to upholding the constitutional rights of women and people of color by taking a stand over and over again to oppose the confirmation of individuals nominated by George W. Bush whose records clearly show that they are not fair, impartial, and dedicated to upholding the constitutional rights of all people; and

WHEREAS, NOW has staunchly opposed attempts by George W. Bush and his administration to roll back lesbian and gay rights through an amendment to the United States Constitution to deny marriage equality while fostering a climate of hatred and fear towards lesbians and gay men in hope of political gain for themselves; and

WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women has been at the forefront of organizing protests against the wars of George W. Bush and through our courageous stand have exerted an incalculable influence by helping to awaken the nation to the evil of George W. Bush's rash militaristic policies; and

WHEREAS, on April 25, 2004, NOW along with other pro-choice organizations mobilized more than one million people to march on Washington in support of women's reproductive rights that have been and remain under constant and unrelenting attack by George W. Bush and his administration; and

WHEREAS, the re-election of George W. Bush for a second four-year term would do incalculable damage to women and the world, and the only candidate able to defeat George W. Bush in the 2004 election is Senator John Kerry whose public statements over the years and voting record in the U. S. Senate demonstrate his strong support of women's rights;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women declare a state of emergency beginning immediately and extending through November 2, 2004 (Election Day) and continue to the time the election is finally determined; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge our membership to respond to this national crisis by resolving to participate in the presidential election of 2004 by voting and by monitoring their local elections to insure that all votes are fairly cast and fairly counted; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we urge women everywhere to work to re-defeat Bush in 2004.

2006 NATIONAL CONFERENCE

2004

WHEREAS, our foremothers have provided us with unprecedented opportunities and tools to pursue lives of equality; and

WHEREAS, young feminists honor the victories of activists who inspire them to continue the movement; and

WHEREAS, NOW continues to make a concerted effort to incorporate the views and energies of young feminists, including the creation of a permanent young feminist task force to advise the Board of Directors and National Conference on matters of agenda, leadership recruitment, and issue prioritization regarding young feminists in NOW; and

WHEREAS, NOW has a made a commitment to diversity in the organization through the outreach and retention of young women; and

WHEREAS, a third of the participants in the 2004 March for Women's Lives were under the age of 25; and

WHEREAS, there is an intergenerational interest in making NOW accessible and relevant to younger generations; and

WHEREAS, by the year 2006, the last young feminist issues summit, which was an overwhelming success, will have taken place nearly a decade ago; and

WHEREAS, Article VIII, Section 1, paragraph D of the NOW Bylaws states that in even-numbered years, the National Conference shall include a special issue or constituency summit;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that the 2006 National Conference addresses issues of particular importance to young women and develops future women leaders; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the issues conference addresses and confirms the commitment to all issues of diversity in our organization; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the national NOW Young Feminist Task Force as well as state committees of young feminists and the Intergenerational Partnership Committee of the National Board play a central role in planning the 2006 National Conference.

CALL FOR A WOMEN OF COLOR AND ALLIES SUMMIT

2004

WHEREAS, one of NOW's priority issues is the commitment to eradicating racism in all of its forms; and,

WHEREAS, women of color in particular suffer the negative effects of inequality based on sex, race, class, sexuality and ethnicity; and,

WHEREAS, the March for Women's Lives articulated a message regarding the right to reproductive health and access for all women, resulting in an impressive participation of women of color, both in the organizing of the March and in their attendance; and,

WHEREAS, NOW, as one of the organizers of the March for Women's Lives, is committed to continuing to build stronger relationships with women of color organizations; and,

WHEREAS, NOW's national platform provides a forum for women of color to support and organize for social, political, economic and reproductive justice.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Organization for Women along with allied Women of Color organizations that participated in the organizing of the March for Women's Lives call for a National Women of Color and Allies Summit in the Spring of 2005 in order to develop a common agenda to further the cause of equality.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NOW will support the creation of a collaborative steering committee to organize and implement the Women of Color and Allies Summit; and

FINALLY BE IT RESOLVED that the National Women of Color and Allies Summit, at its conclusion, articulate a strategic plan of action developed by women of color activists, women of color organizations and allies, that will be reported at a plenary session devoted to issues of expanding diversity within the organization for the purpose of fulfilling on NOW's commitment to ending racism in all its forms at the 2005 National NOW Conference.

HALT TO MILITARY ACTIONS IN IRAQ

2004

WHEREAS, the government of the United States, in an unprecedented act of unilateralism, carried out a "pre-emptive" war against Iraq based on false and misleading information; and

WHEREAS, the human cost of such war against a sovereign country has resulted in hundreds of U.S. military deaths, thousands of Iraqi military and civilian deaths, and the deaths of numerous civilian contractors, journalists and relief workers in Iraq; and

WHEREAS, the monetary cost of the Iraq war has resulted in expenditures of more than $125 billion dollars in the first year of hostilities with an additional $25 billion estimated for 2004, while human needs programs are being drastically cut or eliminated throughout the U.S.; and

WHEREAS, the decision to go to war in Iraq has resulted in the instability of the region and has provided terrorists with a breeding ground and an additional haven for organizing and plotting against the people of the United States and its allies; and

WHEREAS, women and children are victims of war in overwhelming numbers even when not engaged in military activities since 80 percent of the world's refugees and internally displaced persons are women and children. In Iraq, the majority of its citizens are under 15, and an estimated 2 million of them will become displaced and refugees; and

WHEREAS, refugee women and girls have a higher mortality rate than men and boys because systems of health services and food provision in refugee camps privilege men and boys over women and girls; and

WHEREAS, women are victims of increased sexual abuse under the consent of the governments engaged in hostilities which have accommodated and tolerated military brothels under the aegis of "rest and recreation" for the soldiers in an effort to boost soldiers' morale; and

WHEREAS, sexual violence and abduction of women and girls increase significantly under military occupation and given that enforcement of laws to aid in the apprehension and prosecution of perpetrators are rarely enforced under such violent and hostile environment;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women call upon all members of the U.S. Congress and all presidential candidates to end military occupation of Iraq by:

  1. Establishing a U.N. multi-national peace-keeping force
  2. Withdrawal of U.S. troops
  3. Investing, through a publicly transparent bidding process which gives preference to egalitarian Iraqi business people, in the reconstruction of Iraq's infrastructure, which has been devastated by U.S. aggression
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women call upon all members of the U.S. Congress and all presidential candidates to work to allocate sufficient funds to help women and children victims of war both in Iraq and in the U.S., to address the issues of housing, health care, education and safety; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women call upon all presidential candidates to pledge to conduct foreign policy for the United States based on true international collaboration, integrity and honesty and respect for other nations' sovereignty and their right to self-determination.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY LITIGATION CAMPAIGN

2004

WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women is committed to full equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Intersex people; and

WHEREAS, marriage equality is a fundamental right and civil unions do not provide the same benefits and rights as marriage;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women urges NOW Foundation to participate in a litigation campaign immediately following this conference in which the Foundation would:

(1) sign on to amicus briefs supporting full marriage equality at the state level and

(2) seek the assistance of lawyers to represent the Foundation on a pro bono basis to author amicus briefs in support of full marriage equality at the state and national levels.

OUTSIDE UNBIASED OBSERVERS NEEDED TO MONITOR 2004 ELECTIONS

2004

WHEREAS, 13 courageous members of the United States Congress have sent a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations asking for U.N. oversight of the U.S. presidential elections in November; and

WHEREAS, this courageous and historic request aimed at helping to protect the right of every person to vote as enshrined in human rights treaties ratified by the United States, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (article 25) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (article 5) not to mention the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act of 1965; and

WHEREAS, the 2000 presidential election was plagued by allegations of widespread voter disenfranchisement, particularly in the state of Florida, where the allegations included irregular and wrongful purging of voter registration lists and questionable practices and policies relating to balloting, counting and certification procedures; and

WHEREAS, the disenfranchisement "fell most harshly on the shoulders of black voters" according to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, with other experts concluding that over half of the votes that went uncounted nationwide during the last election were "cast by non-white voters"; and

WHEREAS, this April, the USCCR issued a status report which found that despite promised nationwide reforms relating to voting equipment, voter list maintenance, pollworker training, election certification, and reinstatement of ex-felon voting rights, adequate steps have not been taken to ensure that a similar situation will not arise in the coming election. Rather, upon evaluating the current state of affairs, the Commission concluded "the potential is real and present for significant problems on voting day that once again will compromise the right to vote"; and

WHEREAS, given the deeply troubling events of the 2000 election and the growing concerns about the lack of necessary reforms and potential for abuse in the 2004 election, the engagement of international election monitors has the potential to expedite the necessary reform as well as reduce the likelihood of questionable practices and voter disenfranchisement on Election Day; and

WHEREAS, across the nation, error-prone punchcard machines have been replaced by touchscreen machines that have failed repeatedly in actual elections, not just lacking paper trails, but their source code is proprietary. Computer security experts believe these machines are hackable, and voters have no confidence their votes will be recorded and counted honestly; and

WHEREAS, key officials in this administration seek the power to postpone (or cancel) the 2004 election based on self-generated warnings of terrorist attacks;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW fully supports the efforts of Members of Congress and our coalition partners and will work with them to demand that unbiased international observers serve as monitors in this November's presidential election; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW activists will encourage their Members of Congress to join in this effort; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW uses this opportunity to educate our supporters and the world to the frightening aspect that our democratic government appears to be disappearing in front of our eyes, replaced by 5 members of the Supreme Court, Clear Channel Communications, and manufacturers of defective voting machines to name a few, unless, we can guarantee free and honest elections.

RECOGNITION OF NOW'S COMMITMENT TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING

2004

WHEREAS, the lack of safe, decent, and affordable housing affects over 95 million people in the United States; and

WHEREAS, women are in the greatest need, heading over 59 percent of the 5.3 million families with "worst case" housing needs; and

WHEREAS, women are disproportionately affected by federal housing assistance programs; and

WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women (NOW) is committed to equality for low-income women, women of color, and women with disabilities, women who disproportionately face barriers to safe, decent, and affordable housing; and

WHEREAS, affordable housing is often the solution most desperately needed by women who are trying to escape violent domestic situations; and

WHEREAS, studies have shown that stable and affordable housing contributes substantially to family health and children's education; and

WHEREAS, the 1998 Declaration of Sentiments of the National Organization for Women calls for access to housing for all;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW further develop and coordinate a multifaceted campaign, focused on but not limited to, protecting and increasing funding for the housing voucher program administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and protecting and increasing funding for HUD affordable housing projects in state and local jurisdictions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this campaign may include any or all of the following: petition and post card drives, action kits, leafleting, lobbying locally and in Washington, D.C., a demonstration in D.C., electronic organizing by list serve and web site, and activist seminars at all levels of NOW; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the National NOW Action Center devote a prominent section on its web site to affordable housing, including affordable housing fact sheets, links to research and other resources, and action ideas for chapters and states.

ELECTING WOMEN TO OPEN SEATS

2004

WHEREAS, women are 53% of the population and comprise only 15% of the U.S. House of Representatives, 14% of the U.S. Senate, 22% of state legislatures and serve as governor in only nine states, and

WHEREAS, the U.S. currently ranks 58th in the world for women holding elected office; and

WHEREAS, representative democracy should mean representative democracy and representative democracy without women is not representative; and

WHEREAS, the conversation and the outcomes change when women are in the room; and

WHEREAS, women are more likely to opt for government in public view rather than behind closed doors; and

WHEREAS, women are more responsive to groups previously denied full access to the public policymaking process; and

WHEREAS, the reapportionment and redistricting process has often decreased opportunities to elect women to office rather than increasing women's opportunities; and

WHEREAS, women have had limited access to special interest and other funding sources that enable candidates to run for office on a level playing field;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW endorse a campaign of advocating that "Every Open Seat Should be a Woman's Seat" until we reach equality; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW call on all political parties to adopt as part of their platforms the principle that every open seat be a woman's seat and for those parties which claim to fully support women's rights, to encourage those women candidates to support the full range of women's rights issues; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW reaffirm its support of campaign finance reforms such as clean elections; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW urges the political parties to encourage and support women who run for elected office.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY EDUCATION CAMPAIGN

2004

WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women is committed to full equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Intersex people; and

WHEREAS, marriage equality is a fundamental right and civil unions do not provide the same benefits and rights as marriage;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women conduct a campaign, the first phase of which would begin immediately following this conference through the November 2004 elections, that would;
  1. Implement leadership speaker training sessions on the issue of marriage equality.
  2. Develop a list of speakers to encourage debate and education on this issue within NOW and outside of NOW.
  3. Conduct a pro-active media campaign on this issue.
  4. Develop action kits and products.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women urge the NOW PACs to use NOW's Marriage Equality Education Campaign to conduct an aggressive candidate and incumbent education campaign to advance the movement toward same-sex marriage and by helping such candidates formulate appropriate language in discussing this issue.

SOUND THE NATIONAL ALARM—REAUTHORIZE AND EXPAND VAWA

2004

WHEREAS, this year is the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the historic law is to be reauthorized in 2005; and

WHEREAS, even though almost $5 billion has been authorized during this decade to prevent violence and provide services for victims of sexual and domestic violence, this amount barely meets the needs of victims and leaves little funds for massive prevention efforts; and

WHEREAS, congressional funding for VAWA has to be approved every year and advocates have to spend great amounts of time continually begging/demanding that programs not be reduced and under-funded: and

WHEREAS, while the awareness and the impact of sexual and domestic violence on women has grown since the enactment of VAWA, recognition of the needs of the estimated 3.3 million children who witness their parents and caretakers being abused and sexually assaulted must be addressed with equal alarm; and

WHEREAS, although hotlines established and funded by VAWA to direct victims of violence to hospitals, law enforcement officials, safe havens and shelters have assisted millions of victims, there are still great gaps in services. Because almost 1/3 of homeless families escaping abuse have no emergency shelter beds available, DNA rape kits are gathering dust on shelves, and victims continue to remain silent; and

WHEREAS, even though violence related services and programs are at historically high levels, there is still a scourge of vengeful rape, sexual assault, domestic battering and family violence in our lands and worldwide; and

WHEREAS, we continue to witness the unfair and unequal enforcement of existing laws when a case involves sports, entertainment and other public figures; and

WHEREAS, one instance of media sensationalism and acceptance of violence against women can undermine past victories, such as rape shield laws; and

WHEREAS, it has been demonstrated that the need for public awareness, prevention education and an information campaign are important components in ending violence;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW, as a continuation of our four decade campaign to stop violence against women, demand that Congress reauthorize VAWA at the funding level of at least $10 billion over the next five years with an emphasis on an increase in public education and support for proven violence prevention including strict and enforceable measures for accountability and punitive action for perpetrators.

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