2008 National NOW Conference
No Capes, No Masks, No Boundaries: Feminist Super-Women Unite for the 2008 National NOW Conference!
Speakers and Honorees
Mónica Alemán serves as coordinator of the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI/IIWF) and program director of MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization. As an indigenous woman from Nicaragua, Alemán dedicates herself to advancing the rights of women worldwide and promoting indigenous peoples’ collective human rights. Having grown up during the war in Nicaragua, Alemán resolved to devote herself to creating peace, security, and human rights for all peoples throughout the world.
While still only in her early 30s, Alemán has significantly expanded the breadth and depth of MADRE’s international programs and partnerships with community-based women’s groups worldwide. She currently conducts seminars on human rights, women’s human rights, and United Nations agencies, as well as leadership trainings for women and youth in countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico.
Alemán spearheaded a report, Mairin Iwanka Raya: Indigenous Women Stand against Violence, and has initiated inter-movement dialogues on issues such as sexual rights, feminism, and indigenous peoples’ rights. Alemán represents MADRE and FIMI/IIWF in the international arena and coordinates MADRE’s work at the United Nations. In 2001, she played a key role in the Youth Caucus at the U.N. World Conference against Racism in South Africa, and she facilitated the participation of indigenous women in Beijing + 5 and Beijing +10 in New York in 2000 and 2005.
A columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group, Marie Cocco recently took stock of the sexism directed at Hillary Clinton during the presidential primaries, drawing considerable attention from readers and sincere gratitude from feminists.
Her columns on health care, taxes, budgeting, the workplace and other issues are written for everyday readers, not political insiders. Cocco was among the first journalists to report the emergence of a business-backed movement to privatize Social Security, and to show how years of neglect and policy changes were eroding the private pension system. Her series on the government’s pollution record, written with reporter Earl Lane, received numerous awards.
Born in Massachusetts, Cocco earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, and began working as a reporter for the Daily Register of Monmouth County, N.J. She joined New York’s Newsday in 1980 as a local reporter, quickly advancing to the statehouse bureau. In 1986 she joined the paper’s D.C. bureau, where she covered economics, Capitol Hill, the White House, and the last four presidential campaigns. Her column was syndicated in 2002 and she now devotes full-time to opinion writing.
Cocco’s reporting and commentary have won prizes from the Associated Press and the Newswomen’s Club of New York, among others. She has appeared on CNN, Fox, MSNBC and C-SPAN, as well as national radio shows.
Hon. Donna Edwards
A rising star in the Democratic party, Donna Edwards recently was sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives, becoming the first black woman from the state of Maryland to serve in Congress. Edwards defeated an eight-term incumbent in the state primary this year and went on to capture more than 80 percent of the vote in a special election.
One of six children raised in a military family, Edwards has traveled throughout the U.S. and the world. She attended Franklin Pierce Law School in New Hampshire, where she developed her love of law and public interest. Edwards co-founded and served as the first executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
She aimed to reform the campaign finance system first through the group Public Citizen and then as executive director of the Center for a New Democracy. Starting in 2000, Edwards served as the executive director for The Arca Foundation, where she gained national prominence as a strategist on issues such as: the independence of the federal judiciary, ending capital punishment, protecting Social Security, international labor and human rights, and instituting a “living wage.”
Edwards is a strong advocate of providing health care for those who can’t afford it, funding adequate school resources, and working for women’s rights.
Dr. Erika Falk
Dr. Erika Falk is the associate program chair for the master’s degree in communication at Johns Hopkins University. She earned her doctorate in communication from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in speech communication from San Diego State University.
Falk has published several articles on women and the U.S. presidency. She is also the author of Women for President: Media Bias in Eight Campaigns, a book about how the media cover female candidates. Falk has also published on the history of rhetoric, the effects of sexist language, and civility in the House of Representatives.
Previously, Falk served as research director of the Washington office of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. While there she supervised several research grants and wrote reports on diverse communication issues, ranging from issue advertising to women in executive management of communication companies to communication strategies for early childhood development advocates. She also worked on the data analysis team of the National Annenberg Election Survey. Falk’s reports have been widely cited by the national press and on the floors of Congress.
Falk began her career as a public radio reporter and anchor. Additionally, she has taught university courses in political communication, persuasion, public speaking, business communication, and overcoming communication apprehension.
Jehmu Greene is a political and pop culture commentator and a recognized expert on voter engagement, issue advocacy, young voters and celebrity politics. She has been featured on The Daily Show, The O’Reilly Factor, Anderson Cooper 360°, MTV News, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, ABC World News, and all major cable news networks.
Greene is the former president of Rock the Vote, where she developed progressive issue campaigns, executive produced award-winning public service announcements, and implemented strategic partnerships with the nation’s largest media companies. Under her leadership, Rock the Vote’s membership grew from 1,500 to 1 million, and the organization worked with over 250 of the nation’s top celebrities, registered a record 1.4 million new voters, and helped significantly increase youth voter turnout in the 2004 elections.
Greene served on the Credentials Committee for the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and has worked on over 20 political and issue campaigns at the local, state, and national levels. She is also a former Director of Women’s Outreach and Southern Political Director at the Democratic National Committee.
Greene also founded Urban Hang Suite, an Internet company specializing in social networking and promoting community service for African American professionals in Washington, D.C. In addition to numerous other awards, Greene was named one of Essence Magazine’s 40 Women Under 40 Shaping the World.
Woman of Courage honoree
After retiring as a professional nurse, Barbara Hillary became fascinated with arctic travel. While taking on the challenges of learning snowmobiling and dog sledding in the United States and Canada, Hillary became aware that no African-American woman had ever reached the North Pole. On April 23, 2007, after overcoming many obstacles Hillary reached the North Pole.
A graduate of the New School University, Hillary earned Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Professional Studies degrees. As a Gerontology major, Hillary utilized her education to tailor staff development in nursing homes and related facilities to meet the expectations of an aging population. This approach included a strong emphasis on sensitizing staff, as deliverers of human services to the elderly, to their own aging process.
Hillary was founder and editor-in-chief of The Peninsula Magazine, the first multiracial magazine published by an African-American woman in Queens County, New York City. The magazine was a non-profit, community-focused publication. Hillary has maintained an active role as an advocate for community improvement and was the founder of the Arverne Action Association, Inc.
Hillary has received many noteworthy awards and honors, including a special acknowledgement from the Explorers Club, a special citation from the U.S. House of Representatives. Her next dream is to reach the South Pole later this year.
Woman of Vision honoree
As NOW’s longest serving president (1991 to 2001), Patricia Ireland helped move the organization to the forefront of the political scene, build a strong, effective women’s movement and establish herself as a groundbreaking activist. Ireland emerged as one of the most influential feminist leaders in this country and a leading figure in the worldwide feminist movement.
Ireland found her calling when she confronted discrimination as a flight attendant for Pan American World Airline. She credits NOW’s help for her success in winning equal health benefits at Pan Am. After earning her law degree at the University of Miami, she served as pro-bono counsel to Dade County and Florida NOW for a dozen years.
Widely recognized as a key player in improving social and economic conditions for women, Ireland is especially adept at challenging people to make the connections between women’s rights and other human rights issues. A hallmark of her work has been to forge stronger links among the feminist, anti-poverty, civil rights, disability, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movements.
Ireland is currently representing unions and their members as a labor lawyer in Miami. She has been organizing for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and serves on the board of the SayNO2, a campaign dedicated to defeating a so-called marriage protection amendment to the Florida constitution.
Carol Jenkins is president of the Women’s Media Center, an organization dedicated to building a strong, dynamic community of women to speak up and change the face of media. Jenkins has testified before Congress and the FCC, and written about what she calls The Invisible Majority – the 51 percent of the population (women) who occupy only three percent of “clout” positions in media. She argues the case for inclusion of women throughout media: in ownership positions, at the highest levels of management and creativity, and the telling of women’s stories.
Jenkins enjoyed a 30-year, award-winning tenure with several New York City news departments, including 23 years at WNBC-TV, where she co-anchored the 6 p.m. newscast. She covered presidential politics and international issues, reporting from the floor of national party conventions and from South Africa on the release of Nelson Mandela. She anchored and co-produced an Emmy-nominated special on apartheid, and was an executive producer of the PBS documentary, What I Want My Words To Do To You, which won the Freedom of Expression Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2003.
With her daughter, Jenkins authored an acclaimed book about her uncle’s life story. She also promotes the cause of the women and children of war ravaged Africa, traveling to South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Woman of Courage honoree
Lilly Ledbetter was hired as a supervisor in 1979 by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. She worked at the same production plant in Alabama for 19 years. For a long time, Ledbetter did not know she was earning considerably less than men in the same position. Eventually rumors surfaced, and when they finally turned into hard evidence, Ledbetter took her employer to court.
A jury agreed she was paid unfairly, and awarded Ledbetter $223,776 in back pay, and over $3 million in punitive damages, but a judge cut that to only $300,000 because of a 1991 law that limits a company’s liability for damages. Goodyear took the case to the Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 against Ledbetter, taking away every cent of the damages and back pay. In a decision written by Bush nominee Justice Samuel Alito, the Court told Ledbetter that she should have filed a complaint of pay discrimination within 180 days of her first unfair paycheck, even though she had no knowledge of the disparity.
Ledbetter may never recover the pay she rightly earned. But federal legislation has been introduced in her name in an effort to restore the true intention of Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, and protect other women from wage discrimination.
Hon. Carolyn Maloney
New York Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney is a national leader with extensive accomplishments who chairs and serves on a number of key committees.
As a renowned champion for domestic and international women’s issues, Maloney helped passed legislation to target the demand side of sex trafficking and provide annual mammograms for women on Medicare. Maloney also authored the Debbie Smith bill to process DNA kits, which has been called the most important anti-rape legislation in history.
Maloney has been an outspoken authority against sexual assault in the military. She successfully attached an amendment to Defense Authorization legislation in 2004 to ensure the U.S. military has ample rape DNA testing kits and that the use of those kits is properly expedited.
She was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing and has fought vigorously to restore the nation’s contribution to the United Nation’s Population Fund. Maloney also has worked to restore the U.S.’s contribution to combat the horrific condition obstetric fistula.
Together with Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, Maloney commissioned a comprehensive report examining wages for all women over the past 20 years, which revealed a persistent wage gap of 20-cents on the dollar that has remained unchanged. In 2007, Maloney reintroduced legislation to amend the Constitution and guarantee equal rights for women.
Irshad Manji is director of the Moral Courage Project at New York University, which aims to develop leaders who will speak truth to power in their own communities for the sake of a greater good. She is the best-selling author of The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith, which has been published in 30 countries, including Pakistan, India, Lebanon and Indonesia. In Muslim states that have banned her book, Manji is reaching readers by posting free translations on her website. So far, they have been downloaded more than 500,000 times.
Manji is creator of the acclaimed PBS documentary Faith Without Fear, which chronicles her journey to reconcile Islam with human rights. The film won Gold at this year’s New York Television Festival. Through digital technologies, it is now being viewed in the Muslim underground worldwide.
For her pioneering efforts, Manji receives death threats and distinctions: The New York Times called her “Osama Bin Laden’s worst nightmare”; Oprah Winfrey gave Manji her first annual Chutzpah Award; Ms. Magazine selected her as a “Feminist for the 21st Century”; Immigration Equality gave her its Global Vision Prize; and The Jakarta Post in Indonesia (the world’s biggest Muslim country) identifies Manji one of three women making positive change in the Middle East today.
Heather Mizeur, a Maryland state delegate from the 20th district, is a strong proponent of women’s rights and progressive values. In the Maryland state legislature, she sponsored several important healthcare bills, including one which allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ health plans until the age of 25, preventing what Mizeur called a “dangerous rite of passage” in losing insurance after graduating from college. She is also focused on gaining marriage equality rights for Maryland’s citizens.
Mizeur ran for her seat on a platform of affordable healthcare, affordable housing, adequate support for public schools, and sustainable energy. She has significant experience in the field of health policy, working with non-profit community health centers for low-income, minority, migrant and homeless people across the country.
Mizeur worked on John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign as a principal architect of his agenda for healthcare reform. During the 2004 campaign, she served as Kerry’s campaign director for the state of Maryland. In 2005, she was elected as a Maryland representative to the Democratic National Committee, and she remains a DNC superdelegate.
Mizeur spent four years as a member of AmeriCorps, working as a tutor and mentor in a drop-out prevention program. She also helped forge an aggressive Maryland voter protection program in 2004, which trained and deployed over 1,300 volunteer lawyers on election day.
Nancy Redd is the 26-year-old author of Body Drama, a New York Times Best-Seller and a 2008 NAACP Image Award nominee. On a mission to tackle the issues least discussed but most significant in young women’s lives, Redd’s book dares to empower a new generation – with facts instead of fantasies, and the priceless gift of self-knowledge. Body Drama celebrates the many versions of “normal,” replacing seriously erroneous information with the honest, medically proven truth with language all girls can understand.
Two weeks after graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Women’s Studies and as one of Harvard Magazine’s Top Six Seniors, Redd won the title of Miss Virginia, going on to make the Top 10 and winning the swimsuit competition at Miss America 2004. She once won $250,000 on Who Wants to be a Millionaire (donating 10 percent to 4-H), and was named by Glamour magazine as one of the United States’ top-ten college women “most likely to succeed – at anything.”
Redd is a contributing editor and Body & Soul expert at CosmoGIRL! Magazine. She has been featured on E! True Hollywood Stories, PEOPLE magazine, NPR, PBS, CBS’s The Early Show, Eyewitness Kids News, Discovery Channel, The Washington Post, USA Today, The New York Times, ABC’s Good Morning America, J-14 and more.
Breakout Session I – Friday: 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM
Mr. Bush’s Circus, Featuring Women Juggling Work and Family
Only a fraction of non-government workers have access to Family and Medical Leave, and millions have no paid sick days. And with parents and caregivers are in the workforce in overwhelming numbers, laws and policies in this country have not kept up with the economic reality of working families’ lives. Learn how we can get state and federal governments, as well as the private sector, to start helping working families – from paid sick days and family leave, to fair pay and recognition of caregiving.
Moderator: Maretta Short
Panelists: Rachna Choudry, Melanie Ross Levin
LGBT and gender non-conforming students from junior high to college are bullied and discriminated against for not fitting expectations of masculinity or femininity. This workshop will analyze the ground-breaking Gender Equality National Index for Universities and Schools (GENIUS) study from the Gender PAC on the efforts of colleges and universities to combat discrimination and promote awareness; it will also provide the tools activists need to fight for safe campuses, junior and high schools, and communities.
Moderator/Panelist: Gail Garcia McWilliams
Panelist: Dr. Stephanie Barns, Sasha Madway, Nichalos S. Sakurai
Will Your Retirement Plan Leave You in Rags or Riches?
Planning for retirement can be a daunting process, whether you are in your 20s or your 60s … How much money will I need? Do I need long-term care insurance? What help will I get from Social Security and Medicare? Where can I afford to live? Presenters will look at the state and federal retirement programs and politics how these may help or hinder women’s retirement security, and address many of the legal and financial concerns that all women must eventually face.
Moderator: Latifa Lyles
Panelists: Janet E. Witt, Ashley B. Carson, J.D., Liz Gilchrist, Jan Erickson
Escaping the Trap: Women Caught in the Mental Health System
Come join us to explore the biases against girls and women with mental and intellectual disabilities and the challenges they face within the health care system. Parity in mental health care (with physical health care) is still far from reality. Identify the tools needed to fight this kind of discrimination in the health care system, and discuss what can be done immediately and how to work toward longer-term solutions to remedy this “hidden” bias.
Co-Moderator: Stephanie Ortoleva
Co-Moderator/Panelist: Vanessa Volz
Panelists: Ashley Blake, Lauren Spiro
Create Your Feminist Toolbelt!
Develop your feminist action toolbelt and move the movement! Using hot issues, panelists will describe innovative tactics that you can use to affect social change in your community. No matter how little time your friends, members, and local activists have – 5 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour or 1 day – there are ways they can take action. Seasoned activists share their expertise, answer questions, and provide tips for developing creative action tools. Participants will leave with a tool belt that they can use to mobilize people in their community to create change.
Moderator/Panelist: Erin Matson
Panelists: Amy Sejfulla, Crystal Lander
Murders of Juarez
Participants will become educated on the latest developments in the unresolved murders of women in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua, Mexico. Hear stories from the newly released book “If I Die in Juarez” and assess what has been done in the U.S. Congress to bring attention to the issues. Come join us for a discussion that will include the possible use of International and Regional Human Rights treaties to bring justice to the women of Juarez.
Moderator/Panelist: Olga Vives
Panelists: Stephanie Ortoleva, Laura Marsh, Jennifer Johnson
Forming Alliances to Stop Exploitation, Racism and Sexism
Working women of color unite! Women around the globe are fighting to improve their futures, and many of them make the hard decision to immigrate to the United States. Community based services and programs work with these women as they begin their new lives in the US and as they struggle as women workers and immigrants in a strange new land. Join us for a unique training opportunity focused on the exploitation that immigrant women face, and how we can work together with other women of color to build a strong alliance that will allow all women to face the challenges of sexism and racism.
Moderator: Michelle Colon
Panelists: Beth Myers, Alexis De Simone, Ruth Castel-Branco, Kristi Matthews
Breakout Session II – Friday: 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
Got HPV? Education and Prevention are Key to Combating STIs
Rates of sexually-transmitted infections (STI) among adolescents are shockingly high: a national survey by the CDC found one in four female teens were infected with HPV, chlamydia, trichomoniasis or herpes simplex. Young women of color are at even higher risk of contracting STIs. The lack of comprehensive sex education, undoubtedly, plays a role in adolescent risky sexual behavior, but what are the other factors, and how can we empower young women to take control of their health?
Moderator/Panelist: Erin Matson
Panelists: Urooj Arshad, Catherine Morrison
Beyond the Headlines – What’s Really Going on with Educational Equity?
Girls are gaining ground in education, but not at the expense of boys. Equal opportunity in education is not a zero sum game – as the 36-year history of Title IX shows. But we still face obstacles: discriminatory sex-segregated public schools, a hard glass ceiling for women in STEM careers (science/technology/engineering/ mathematics), continuing discrimination in athletic programs, and harassment on campuses. Discuss our achievements and our challenges.
Moderator: April Osajima
Panelists: Dr. Sue Klein, Lisa Maatz, Fatima Goss Graves, Elizabeth Homer
Finding the Key: Unlocking Women from an Unjust Prison System
Often women who are not directly involved end up with longer sentences that the men in their lives who were committing actual crimes. This workshop will provide perspectives on how the criminal justice system affects women and how Families Against Mandatory Minimum (FAMM) campaigns have assisted some of the women facing discriminatory treatment in prison. Discuss recent changes within the federal sentencing guidelines and consider possible legislative and regulatory reforms.
Moderator: Marion Wagner
Panelists: Angelyn Frazer, Jasmine Tyler, Karen Garrison
Mounting a Campaign for Reproductive Justice
The stealth campaign to undermine our rights is coming out into the open, with right wing campaigns like “The Pill Kills.” Women everywhere must demand that: birth control and family planning be accessible and affordable; emergency contraception be available for rape survivors at every hospital; Plan B be available to every girl and woman of childbearing age; sex education be based on science and not scare tactics; foreign aid include birth control and condom distribution; and birth control be accessible to low-income women. We have our work cut out for us – make plans now!
Moderator/Panelist: Loretta Ross
Panelists: Nina Schwartz, Diana Romero
Person-to-Person Feminism: Share It!
Rock your streets, knock down the doors, bring it! Develop your canvassing skills, use role-plays to get you ready to move the movement and share the feminist activist love. Then put it into action – we will be using part of this workshop and lunch break to hit the streets and canvass for signatures in downtown Bethesda, demanding that Congress pass paid family leave legislation and asking people to join NOW. Later, gather to share stories and celebrate street canvassing – an effective way to raise awareness about important issues and about NOW.
Moderator/Panelist: Jessica McCaffrey
Panelists: Alexis Torres, Rachna Choudry
Feminists Unite for Immigrant Women’s Rights
Immigrant women face some of the worst adversity and discrimination you can imagine – and you haven’t heard the half of it! As feminists, we must push for laws that are humane and workable for immigrant women and their families. Learn about the Immigrant Women’s Liberation Project, which works for reform concerning raids, detention centers, and deportation. We will also introduce the work of the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights, of which NOW is a steering committee member.
Moderator/Panelist: Olga Vives
Panelists: Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, Pat Reuss
U.S. Asylum Law Helps Women Fleeing Gender Violence
Discuss current issues such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and other forms of violence against women, and explore how the U.S. Asylum Law can be used to provide refuge for women from other countries to escape such practices. FGM is one of the many forms of social injustice that women suffer worldwide, and combating this practice is key to creating societies in which women are valued as full and equal participants. Recognizing that civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights are indivisible and interdependent is a crucial starting point for addressing the range of factors that perpetuate FGM and other abuses.
Moderator: Stephanie Ortoleva
Panelists: Gannon Gillespie, Daria Fisher Page, Esq., Kim Thuy Seelinger, Taina Bien-Aimé, Mindy Townsend
Breakout Session III – Friday: 2:15 PM – 3:30 PM
Children and Families at Risk: CPS Gone Bad
Departments of Child Protection are removing children from families that are poor, of color, or female-headed, sometimes equating poverty with parents’ – especially mothers’ – neglect. Instead of helping with housing, childcare, legal needs, or domestic violence and abuse, child protective services (CPS) are removing children at an alarming rate. Research shows that in most cases children are better off and safer with their families than in foster care. A grassroots movement of groups and individuals are challenging these abuses with facts, pickets, lawsuits, lobbying, and other protests.
Moderators: Marcia Pappas, Phoebe Jones
Panelists: Pat Albright, Nancy Carroll, Lawanda Connelly, Barbara Clayton
Women of New Orleans & the Gulf Coast – Three Years After Katrina
What is happening currently to women and their families in the Hurricane Katrina-affected regions? Workshop panelists include a survivor of the hurricane and New Orleans flooding as well as researchers who have documented continuing patterns of discrimination and neglect of women, children, the elderly and poor. A staff member from the office of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) will examine federal efforts to address the devastation.
Moderator: Terry O’Neill
Panelists: Charlotte Klasson, Avis Jones-DeWeaver, Jane Henrici, Ph.D., Sarada Peri
Inequalities in the Health Care System: Women Suffer the Most
Women face healthcare disparities due to their race, economic circumstances, where they live, or simply because they are women. Immigrants and culturally and ethnically diverse communities often have little or no access to health care, and may not be able to communicate with medical professionals in a familiar language. Join us to discuss how we can mount a public education campaign around this issue, and how to help pass H.R. 3014, the Health Equity and Accountability Act sponsored by Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.).
Moderator/Panelist: Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas
Panelists: Jennifer Ng’andu, Dawn Philip, Eleanor Hinton Hoytt, Maggie Elehwany
Election Analysis for Political Junkies
Join these longtime NOW political strategists for a roundtable discussion of the opportunities and challenges we face in the 2008 US congressional races. The panel will present a uniquely feminist overview of the November congressional elections offering a sophisticated analysis of races where we have the opportunity to elect more feminists, as well as an examination of ways having feminists in office positively influences the outcome of critical legislation. Designed for “political junkies” who are committed to electoral politics and believe that electing more feminists is crucial to the success of our movement.
Moderator/Panelist: Melody Drnach
Panelists: Linda Berg, Dr. Janet Canterbury, Amb. Carol Moseley Braun
Plug into the Power of Online Activism
Today NOW activists are looking online for organizing tools and action alerts more than ever before. The Internet, especially blogs and social networking sites like Facebook, can be an easy (yes, EASY!) way for you to quickly establish an online presence and stay connected with your activists. Our panel of bloggers and social networkers will discuss the capacity of online networking and will give simple, step-by-step instructions on how to set up and maintain your own online actions!
Moderator/Panelist: Ali Rodway
Panelists: Liz Newbury, Latifa Lyles
Iraqi Women Activists Share Their Stories
Join us to hear six Iraqi women trade union leaders share their stories of activism and their diverse experiences fighting for the rights of women and workers in Iraq. Despite constant discussion and attention focused on the war in Iraq, rarely do Americans hear the voices of Iraqi women. Struggling with a complex set of issues brought on by war, occupation, and civil strife, women across Iraq are raising their voices for rights and respect at home and in the workplace as they struggle to build fulfilling professional and personal lives amid daily risks.
Moderator: Shawna Bader-Blau
Panelists: Aseel Zuhair Hadi, Jehan Seleem Ahmed, Thanaa Mathlum Rajab, Midya Manszur Hassan, Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein, Ameera Ali Hussain
Structure and Process
Breakout Session IV – Saturday: 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
Mad at Media Bias? What NOW? Feminists Fight Back!
You couldn’t help noticing the sexism that gripped the media during Hillary Clinton’s campaign – but that’s not where it started, nor where it will end. They used gender-based insults on Nancy Pelosi, and they’ve already started on Michelle Obama, combining both sexism and racism. But media bias is bigger than politics – it is the way women are portrayed, from talk radio to fashion advertising, and the very real impact it has on the lives of girls and women. Join us for a conversation about how NOW has been taking on the media, and how you can join our campaign by taking action individually or as part of a Talkback Team. Help us create a feminist vision of media justice.
Moderator/Panelist: Lisa Bennett
Panelists: Jan Strout, Latifa Lyles
The Road to Same-Sex Marriage in the United States
While the federal government and states have enacted “defense of marriage” legislation and some states have enshrined discrimination in their state constitutions, other states have moved toward marriage equality. Through the courts and legislation, domestic partnership, civil unions, and even equal marriage have become the law in several states. This workshop will explore the path towards recognizing the equal marriage rights of gays and lesbians, the efforts of our opponents to enshrine discrimination in state and federal law, and what you can do to end marriage discrimination in your state!
Moderator/Panelist: Olga Vives
Panelists: Ellen J. Zucker, Patricia Ireland, Deborah Tannenbaum
No Excuses: Stop Violence Against Women NOW
Every day four women die in this country as a result of “domestic violence,” the euphemism for murders and assaults by husbands, boyfriends, and acquaintances. Come join us as this panel explores the broad issue of sexual and domestic violence against women with a special emphasis on prevention. Our goal will be to craft public education and accountability strategies and policy initiatives to reduce and eventually end violence against women.
Moderator: Judie Fortier
Panelists: Lucy Melvin, Tonya Lovelace, Amy L. Katz
Engaged in Faith … Empowered by Feminism
Come join us in this workshop as presenters discuss the strides that feminists continue to make within the often unfriendly confines of faith. Multiple faiths will be represented, and a wide range of religious institutions and organizations will be discussed. Along with the feminist work being done to confront the patriarchy of religion, there is also room to promote and support the success stories when feminism makes transformations within faith.
Moderator/Panelist: Della Fahnestock
Panelists: Cynthia Hess, Crystal Lander
Take Control of Your Health – Be Savvy About HIV/AIDS
As many as one-fourth of the one million plus people in the U.S. living with HIV do not know they are infected. HIV infection must be de-stigmatized; early detection can lead to a longer and healthier life. In the U.S., there is an HIV epidemic among women of color, while for all women, heterosexual anal intercourse (and the attitudes of young women about anal sex) poses a special risk. Also discussed will be the politics of federal funding of HIV/AIDS programs.
Moderator/Panelist: Susan Wyche
Panelists: Carol Roye, Jacqueline Brown, Beatrice Krauss, Jamila K. Taylor
Organizing for a New Vision: Cities of Justice
Using community-based success stories, activists will hear how to build a successful campaign with a strong coalition including labor and faith groups, environmental and financial organizations, neighborhood leaders, and activists to achieve social change. Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE) has created an exciting new model to achieve their vision for improving the lives of working men and women, and building healthy communities. Integrating policy, research, community organizing and communications, they have helped improve living wages, created better jobs for tens of thousands of workers and developed more sustainable communities.
Moderator: Liz Gilchrist
Panelist: Rev. Alexia Salvatierra, Aiha Nguyen
Global Sisterhood: Challenges Around the World
A panel of experts will examine issues facing women globally, such as earning enough to feed their families, having access to health care and education, protecting themselves from violence and dealing with climate change that is affecting their environments. Sustainable development, reformed trade policies, micro-lending, improved access to education and health care, and women in leadership are all part of the solution. Panelists will also provide a brief update on what Congress is doing – or not doing — to address these problems, and a special update on Afghan women since the fall of the Taliban.
Moderator/Panelist: Eleanor Smeal
Panelists: Nora O’Connell, Rachel T. Harris, Dr. Patricia Morris
Social Justice and Civil Rights
Breakout Session V – Saturday 4:00 PM – 5:15 PM
Danger Under Fire: Sexual Assault in the Military
Participate in this eye-opening workshop about the sexual violence faced by women in the military. Perpetrators of rape in the military are generally given reduction in rank and confinement to base, but seldom jailed or placed on the national sex offenders list. When rapes occur in a war zone, women face post-combat trauma AND rape trauma, and there is little counseling or treatment for either. Military women, experts, and the mother of Suzanne Swift speak out on what must be done.
Moderator: Roberta Waddle
Panelists: Col. Ann Wright, Sara Rich, Dr. John Johnson, Linda Johnson, Maricela Guzman, Helen Benedict
The Subprime Foreclosure Crisis: What it Means for Women, Our Families, and Our Communities
Subprime loans have gone disproportionately to women and as a result women are feeling the brunt of the drain of the current subprime foreclosure crisis. As highlighted in the winter edition of Ms. Magazine, the devastation of the subprime crisis is hurting women, their families, and communities. The panel will highlight the implications for all women and discuss the impact on communities that were targeted by abusive lending practices, plus review federal policy solutions and provide points for advocacy.
Moderator: Duchy Trachtenberg
Panelists: Debby Bocian, Julia Gordon
Family Court Watch Documents Discriminatory Treatment
As a first effort of its kind, the National Family Court Watch Project took a snapshot of family courts in five states using comprehensive instruments that recorded how litigants were treated. The results of this important survey are truly eye-opening. This initial phase is beginning to demonstrate that a pattern of discrimination against women is common in family courts. We will also consider the growing problem of mothers losing custody of minor children to documented batterers and child abusers.
Moderators: Erin Sullivan
Panelist: Renee Beeker, Laurie Christine Olaniyi, Marcia Pappas
Get (Your Voice) Out There
Do you have something to say? Learn the nuts and bolts of working with the media to get out your message and why an effective media strategy is an essential part of your activist tool belt. Whether you want to talk back, write in, or speak up, join experienced panelists for a hands-on discussion. This session includes real-life faux-pas and success stories, the top ten dos and don’ts when working with the media, and tips on how to reach out to local outlets.
Moderator/Panelist: Lisa Bennett
Panelists: Latifa Lyles, Mai Shiozaki, Sonia Ossorio
Women Run, Women Vote, We All Win!
Get involved. Get out the vote. Get going. Learn and share information about why the women’s vote is the pathway to positive change this November and how you can be part of it. Be volunteer-savvy as campaign veterans share information about where turning out the feminist vote is essential to victory, and learn about the newest technology used by campaign volunteers across the country. Campaigns will be active in all 50 states this fall and feminist candidates are counting on you. BTW – George, moving day is coming!
Moderator/Panelist: Melody Drnach
Panelist: René Redwood, Sharon Grosfeld
Women Crossing Borders to Advance a Common Agenda
Learn about global feminist strategies and models where women’s activism and leadership are creating peaceful and just societies that advance the status of all women by prioritizing economic and social rights, including resources for health care; reproductive health and justice; education and employment; gender responsive budgets; paid family leave; and the elimination of discrimination based on race, gender and sexual orientation. We will highlight specific strategies using international women’s human rights resources and opportunities, and show film clips of International Women’s Day organizing around the world.
Moderator: Jan Strout
Panelists: Olivia Burlingame Goumbri, Cynthia Domingo, Stephanie Ortoleva, Yanet Stable Cardenas
Emerging and Other Issues
Breakout Session VI – Saturday: 5:30 PM – 6:45 PM
Election 2008: What’s at Stake for Women?
It’s more than the Supreme Court. The 2008 elections hold both promise and peril for supporters of women’s rights, but accurate information is hard to come by. There was a clear media bias against Hillary Clinton, and now that same media seems biased toward John McCain and against Barack Obama. How will we get the real story? Join us for analysis and discussion of the key issues facing women voters in the presidential race.
Moderator/Panelist: Kim Gandy
Panelists: Jatrice Martel Gaiter, Dolores Huerta, Eleanor Smeal
Fun and Games: Secrets to Successful Lobbying
Feminists should know that everyone can lobby. As a voter, you have the right to talk with your City Council Members, State Legislators, Representatives, and Senators, and they need to hear from you. This workshop will focus on how to familiarize yourself with these key people and their staffs, and how to organize your advocacy efforts so that your voice and messages are heard and your bills are passed! Learn the tricks of the trade, so you can start making a difference right NOW, and have fun in the process!
Moderator: Janice Rocco
Panelists: Marcia Pappas, Jessica A. Lowe, Maretta Short, April Carson
Sex Trafficking of Children in the U.S. – A Call to Action
Many victims of domestic sex trafficking are minors who are arrested and incarcerated in detention centers, given a criminal record, and shunned by institutions that are supposed to help them. Panelists will address how domestic sex trafficking works, the magnitude of the problem, the negative outcomes for girls and women who have been trafficked, and why the issue should be at the top of the feminist agenda. There will also be a review of current efforts to reauthorize the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Moderator/Panelist: Sonia Ossorio
Panelists: Celia Williamson, Lisa Fedina, Jessica Trease, Karen Stauss
Latinas Moving Forward in the U.S.
As we move forward developing directions and strategies for the women’s movement, this panel will address critical issues about how Dominican and Latina women are building the women’s movement and what’s needed to sustain a multicultural movement. What goals do we share? What are our barriers and points of conflict? What does solidarity mean within this movement and with other movements? This workshop hopes to be both a critical reflection and a visionary discussion about what it takes to build solidarity and sustain our multicultural women movement as NOW works to forge a progressive women’s agenda.
Moderator/Panelist: Zenaida Mendez
Panelists: Candida Bido, Judith Amaro, Raquel Batista, Marisol Alcantara
Getting to Universal Health Care that is Truly Universal for Women
Access to affordable health care is a major election year topic. Explore several different approaches to universal health care, including a single payer system like Canada’s. Some proposals for “universal” coverage don’t cover all of women’s health care needs, such as affordable contraception and access to abortion. The panel will assess presidential candidates’ health care reform proposals as well as provide some predictions about Congressional action next term.
Moderator: Jan Erickson
Panelists: Lisa Codispoti, Cindy Pearson, Dr. Diana Zuckerman, Zenei Cortez
Moving From Campus Activism to Community Organizing
This workshop will address building and sustaining youth-led direct action. Join us as we discover ways to stay connected across social change movements both on and off campus and in our communities. Let’s organize street actions, online actions, and community and workplace actions. We can create social change in every workplace setting – come and share your ideas to build a progressive young feminist movement.
Moderator: Kristy Pagan
Panelists: Rebecca Thompson, Elisabeth Crum, Wendy Matheny