NOW Board Candidate Statements 2020

Pacific District Candidates (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington)

Western District Candidates (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Utah, Texas)

Heartland District Candidates (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin)

Southern District Candidates (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee)

Eastern District Candidates (Delaware, District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia)

Northern District Candidates (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont)


Pacific District Candidates (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington)

 

Patricia Bellasalma (California)

With more than 30 years working at the intersections of law, social science and policy, her advocacy and public policy analysis concentrates on identifying and eliminating systemic inequities based on status categories and their intersections, such as race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexuality, gender identity, disability, and socio-economic status.  Her work moves beyond identifying systemic inequities by providing transformative public policy and advocacy designed to remove root causes of biases and inequities.

By using a core values foundation coupled with a both/and framework and intersectional analysis government and civil society can broaden and deepen consensus around the core values of freedom, justice and equality. Presenting public policy issues based on the role of government being the creation of a favorable environment where every person may enjoy all of their rights, so they can take an active part in economic, social, cultural, and political life. By centering the conversation on removing barriers policy solutions can be presented in a way that directly and positively impacts people where they live and equally important progress toward those goals can be measured.

As former President of the California Chapter National Organization for Women and Strategic Planning and Policy Director for the California NOW Foundation, Ms. Bellasalma headed statewide public advocacy and policy organizations dedicated to institutionalizing human rights based intersectional gender equity at the state and local level.

As the Policy Advocate: Lead legislative advocacy using an intersectional lens prior to and throughout Governor Brown’s administration. Successfully sponsored historic equal pay legislation that includes race and ethnicity. Researched and published two intersectional healthcare related policy papers centering Black women.

As founder and CEO of rapidguardian.com I’m shepherding the development and launch of a personal protection mobile app emanating from my organizing and advocacy work with community organizations dealing with the intersections of race, gender and other status categories around issues occurring at work, home and in public. Rapid Guardian is a startup technology and service-based company with a social purpose. That purpose is aiding the effort in achieving a more just and equitable world where violence, intimidation, harassment, and other forms of oppression are the exception rather than the norm. By developing technology that helps people protect themselves through individual and collective action a process is ignited that changes how we look at personal protection, who we look to in providing protection and how we use technology to increase personal and institutional accountability. One of those changes is looking at personal protection as encompassing the whole breath of places home, work or in public and our roles as individuals, family members, workers, and citizens.

I’m running for a National NOW Board seat because I believe the National Board should be transparent and accountable to both members and local and state leadership. In a time when its apparent that strong state organizations are needed to build and strengthen a broad coalition to push and pass intersectional progressive change at the state level, NOW is moving in the opposite direction.


Christine Chin Ryan (Oregon)

Christine Chin Ryan is a business owner, consultant and community activist.  Her company provides consulting services for equity, diversity, inclusion, facilitation, board review, and political strategy.  It previously provided comprehensive IT solutions focused in the energy industry with emphasis on hydropower, energy efficiency, conservation, and renewables.

Since May 2018, Christine served as President of Oregon Chapter National Organization for Women (Oregon NOW) and started to diversify the Board by recruiting WOC millennial feminists.  In 2019, we fought for Feminist Policy Priorities in Oregon’s capitol.  Our statewide Legislative Task Force, formed in 2017, is a force to be reckoned with to prioritize policies in line with NOW values.  We supported our feminist partner organizations and participated in coalitions that helped to pass meaningful policies, such as Paid Medical and Family Leave, Driver’s Licenses for All, and the Student Success Act.  NOW members testified, submitted letters of support, attended lobby days and town hall meetings, and published op-eds and letters to the editor.  We’ve also continued to share our model student dress code with people in Oregon and across the nation.

The 3rd Oregon NOW Annual Conference featured panels on how racism impacts individuals in the social justice movement and on the unheard voices of women veterans, included outstanding addresses by the Executive Directors of Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon.  We were also excited to include several women running for office throughout the conference.

We supported movements for a more Equitable future since the election of 2016 galvanized communities to stand up, show up, and fight back!  We were proud to stand with our communities at the Walk with Immigrants and Refugees, National Period Day, the student-led Climate Strike, Lights for Liberty Vigil and showing up to calls for the ending of concentration camps at the border and to mourn the lives of those lost while encaged.

We worked to make our organization more Inclusive and Equitable and proud that our state chapter has a young immigrant woman of color serving as Executive Director (ED).  We have also welcomed new Board members that are representative of our beautiful diverse community.  Our Board President and ED have visited several local chapters to meet with members and local leadership as we prepare for 2020.  It’s empowering in these times to partner with other feminists around the state as we work to dismantle the patriarchy and fight for women’s reproductive rights and justice.  Oregon NOW is in it for the long haul to fight for women and femmes, our queer and trans community, immigrants and refugees, our disabled and differently abled community, and Black, Indigenous and people of color.

Christine’s service:
• Member, Prosper Portland Council on Economic and Racial Equity
• Chair, Asian American Unity Coalition Public Relations Committee; Member, Executive Committee
• Member, 2020 National Civic Leadership Forum Program Committee
• Member, I-5 Rose Quarter DBE/OJT Community Opportunity Advisory Committee
• Executive Vice-Chair, Democratic National Committee Small Business Council
• Chair, Oregon Small Business for Responsible Leadership
• Member, City of Portland Small Business Minority Evaluator Program
• Moderator, Candidates’ Forums


Karen Eyres (California)

I want to be your California representative in the Pacific District because I want to develop this district into the feminist powerhouse that I know it can be.

This is a crucial time for building our membership in California and other states in the Pacific District, and as National Board Member, I would bring energy and innovation to chapter recruitment efforts and the development of tomorrow’s leaders.

As Vice President of one of California’s most active chapters, I am eager to bring my ideas, experience and passion to the national level.  My goal is to unify the state and local chapters in my district and create a model for other districts to follow.  One of my priorities is to reach out to areas traditionally under-represented by chapters and members, and to give women there the guidance, encouragement and resources to fully engage in the organization.

I also want to strengthen the recently developed communication lines from national/district to state and local chapters, by continuing regular updates to members and also soliciting input from them on policy issues and calls to action.

As Vice President of Hollywood NOW, I spear-headed the Chapter’s tabling efforts at Women’s March Los Angeles and served on the production team for The Vagina Monologues — both for four consecutive years — resulting in an increased awareness about NOW and feminist issues with thousands of people.  2020 will be the fifth year that I’ve been involved in producing the Chapter’s annual HERstory Awards event, and my third year serving as judge and the Chapter’s representative for the Pasadena LitFest, where the Chapter sponsors the “Women Hold Up Half the Sky” award for best feminist short fiction.

Outside of NOW, I am very engaged in the political process and currently serve as Administrative Director of the California Democratic Party’s 2020 Coordinated Campaign.  I am also Secretary of the Steering Committee for the Westside Democratic HQ (westsidedemhq.org) and member of the City of West Hollywood’s Women’s Advisory Board.

In all these roles, I’ve developed considerable experience with leading campaigns and calls to action, speaking at rallies and public meetings, and conducting media interviews.  My experience also includes training and motivating volunteers, creating relevant and empowering events for women, and collaborating with leaders of organizations that advance rights and resources for people of color. All toward the goal of advancing rights and opportunities for women.

A vote for me is a vote for more unity, increased action, and a stronger future for the Pacific District.  And a stronger future for women.  Because, as my favorite Women’s March sign said, “the Patriarchy isn’t going to smash itself.”


Denise Sala-Gore (California)

I have been a lifelong-feminist and activist, prior to hearing about NOW. As an active member of our NOW Sisterhood beginning in 2010, while living in Brevard County Fl for 7 years, as well as starting our Riverside County Chapter in CA (2017) I have held numerous leadership roles. As a leader, there are ardent factors that I hold dearly, like transparency, communication skills, inclusivity, ownership, and team-building strategies in order to advance our platform. These are all paramount if we are to address the advancing of intersectionality and all feminist causes. From the days of Roe vs Wade in college to today, the struggle continues and is real. It is hard to believe that in this day and age that we women are still having to fight the same issues, equality, choice, sexual harassment, pay equity… There is another layer of our activism that we must address, how do we engage/address more women of color into our organization? We have much work ahead of us but passion, intestinal fortitude as a Hispanic woman, drives me to speak up for the voiceless, as a catalyst to empower other women. Passion continues to be my friend and will guide me in leading the Pacific West to new heights.

My service and experience (past & present) in leadership positions are the following:

  • CA NOW Secretary
  • Riverside County NOW President
  • Riverside County Democratic Delegate for AD#67
  • Brevard County, Fl Democratic Party Chair
  • Brevard, Fl Democratic Executive Committeewoman
  • Brevard County, Fl Hispanic Caucus President
  • Florida National Delegate-Democratic Party for Pres. Obama in 2012

Educational Background:

  • Master’s Degree- Educational Leadership, Azusa Pacific University
  • Master’s Degree- Curriculum & Instruction in Multicultural Contexts, Azusa Pacific University
  • Bachelor’s Degree- Social Work- Cal State University Los Angeles

Recent Awards: Riverside County NOW won Chapter of the Year in CA for 2019 for chapters activism, recruitment and helping candidates get endorsements.

My commitment to the NOW Pacific West would be an honor as well as rewarding. I promise to hold at least bi-monthly conference calls, reinvigorate chapters, and fulfill all duties required of me by National as a liaison. My goal is to also visit chapters in person, building alliances and bridges leading to a commonality. I can guarantee you we will dramatically change, work and build TEAM, as this is what I do best, just ask our RC NOW members. The time is NOW for an experienced feminist to take the reigns as your new Pacific West Director.


Cheryl Wapes’a-Mayes (Washington)

My name is Cheryl Wapes’a-Mayes and I am running for National Board in the Pacific District. I am an enrolled member of the Assiniboine/Sioux Tribes at Fort Peck Reservation in Northeast Montana. I attended Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA where I earned a BA in Education. As an Indigenous woman, my career choice was to educate Native youth, which I did for over 30 years. After a year and a half of retirement, I find myself back at the Puyallup Tribal School, Chief Leschi, where I teach Native Sovereignty Issues.

I am currently the president of Tacoma NOW in Washington State and I serve on Washington State NOW Board and Washington NOW PAC. I am also active in Women of Vision. For the past two years I have become involved in Native American Youth Leadership where I enjoy my position as Camp Elder and Senior Counselor. As vice-president of Urban Indians Northwest, I was involved in the passage of a bill in Washington State on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women where I testified three times on the bill before the House. I am also a member of Thurston County Democrats and serve on Campaign Services Committee where my personal priority is to seat as many qualified women as possible. I also attend as many rallies at the two immigration detention centers in Washington State as possible.  I have also served on the organizing committee for Washington Community Action Network: Health Care is a Human Right, where reproductive rights for immigrants and LGBTQIA+ is a priority. Voting rights is a passion of mine and I have testified on a bill in Washington State brought forth by, Sen. John McCoy, Tulalip Tribal member, to secure Native voting rights in Washington State. I also worked with the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in 2018 to protect the voting rights of Native Americans being suppressed by the state of North Dakota. I am also registering young people to vote at this crucial time with November just around the corner.

The highlight of my involvement in NOW has been serving on the National Board since 2018 and I serve on four NOW National Core Issues committees: Reproductive Rights, Violence against Women, Immigration and LGBTQIA+. During my time on the board I helped Waialae NOW in Oahu begin its chapter and have met with women who are passionate about starting a NOW chapter in Washington. I also work with local immigration advocates to donate much needed items for the incarcerated women and girls.

Serving on four committees can be challenging so my primary focus will be Violence against Women and Immigration. With the members of each committee working together toward a common goal, the success of protecting the most marginalized groups of women can be achieved. I am here to listen to your concerns and ideas and I will represent you with transparency and honesty. I can be contacted at: wapesawiyanow@gmail.com


Western District Candidates (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Utah, Texas)

 

Jeri Burton (Nevada)

I am running for re-election to continue serving on NOW’s National Board in the Western District. As a Board member I served as Chair of our ERA Committee and we were successful in our activism to help Virginia ratify the ERA and become the 38th state needed. I also have been involved in our Western District supporting new chapters and traveling to Arizona and Utah to support their efforts to ratify the ERA. As President of Nevada NOW I have been working on bringing attention to the issue of child sex trafficking and our chapter was involved in working with our Legislature to pass progressive bills in our last legislative session. I hope you will vote to help me continue serving as a National NOW Board member for 2020-2022. Thank you.

 


Victoria Steele (Arizona)

Senator Victoria Steele represents Tucson, Arizona.  She is a powerful advocate for ending violence against women and children. She has a Master’s degree in Counseling/Psychology and as a woman of Seneca/Mingo Native American ancestry, she co-authored a bill creating the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Study Committee.

Senator Steele also successfully passed legislation to provide greater protections for people who have been raped. She continues to lead the way on policy regarding water and climate change, ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, ending domestic and sexual violence, and extending the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse.

As the Senator Representing hundreds of thousands of people in southern Arizona, Victoria has fought for ratification of the ERA, comprehensive sex education, making it mandatory for clergy to report child sexual abuse, repealing rapist parental rights and protecting spousal rape laws, and a ban on assault-style weapons.  These stances have put her under a harsh spotlight which she accepts in the process of fighting to protect our most vulnerable citizens.  Her 25 years of experience as a television/radio news broadcaster has honed her communication skills enabling her to effectively relay vital messages and to sway public opinion on important matters.


Heartland District Candidates (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin)

 

Susan Elder (Michigan)

After serving the Michigan NOW chapter as its administrator since 2012, and as membership vice president for the last two years, I have experienced a great deal of interaction with the chapters in Michigan, the NOW headquarters staff, and several national officers and board members. I have been a self-employed association manager since 1986 and served as a lobbyist and public information director for a state agency for 30 years before retiring. I look forward to bringing my experience with NOW and with numerous other associations, nation-wide, state-wide, and local, to offer suggestions and solutions as needed. I look forward to representing the Heartland chapters on the national board.


Freda McKee (Missouri)

After the 2016 election we all were in shock. We had worked to elect a woman as President of the United States.

The time was at hand, the possibilities for women and the American people were boundless. Oh, yes were on the cusp, we could see it, taste it, and feel it. It was within our grasp. But it was not to be, it was snatched from our grasp. Stolen.

I felt lost, angry, and thinking, “what now?”  I have to do something but what. My children and grandchildren had lives of their own. They didn’t really need me, still I have a Voice to use and I did.

I ended up in Jefferson City in a meeting with like-minded women who together wanted to move forward and strengthen our impact on future elections including more women in elected offices.  We needed a vehicle that was inclusive of all women in all walks of life and ethnicities with equal VOICES.

I along with other volunteers started the process to chartering a new chapter; the Capitol Missouri Area National Organization for Women. I had a rebirth the VOICE, my VOICE only this time it is much, much stronger and it has continually grown steadier as I attended Nationals Now’s new state President’s orientation. Again, my VOICE just kept getting stronger still as I learned how to quietly demonstrate on the side walk in front of Senator Blunt’s office. Then joining other activist organizations to discuss common sense gun laws, I’ve spoken in the Missouri State Capitol Rotunda, on Advocacy Day Project 28 ERA and the Mortality Rates for Black Women. I was also fortunate enough to sit on a panel to discuss Racism and give a speech at the 2019 National NOW Conference.

The interaction or rather intersectional action with other activist organizations is what again enables our Voice as an organization to grow stronger with good intersectional communication.

I’ve always been a feminist and an activist but did not know it. I have fought for racial parity in our daily and all walks of life. I will continue to work toward the elimination of all forms of discrimination.  Especially in the schools as it is rearing its ugly head again. It rose up from covert to overt because it was given a platform.  I will continue to seek the rights of women to control their bodies, health, and reproductive health. Every day of my life I will again continue the efforts to pass laws (enforceable laws) such as the Red Flag Law and ending Violence Against Women and Young Girls.

However, it is inherent that all of us as members advocate for National NOW for its voice to be stronger and prevalent in today’s society. Therefore, in doing so it’s also inherent for all of us as members to promote the same general tenants not only in our Chapters, District, but from within our own National Organization for Women will make for a much stronger VOICE.  Because after all human rights are WOMEN’S RIGHTS!!!


Jessica Scheller (Illinois)

Jessica Scheller is running for a position on the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Women because she believes in our collective ability to guide structural change.  She is focused on building organizations supporting women seeking political office, influencing positive legislative change, and guiding NOW as a renowned feminist organization into the future of intersectional organizing.  Jessica focuses on strategic planning and grassroots collaboration.

Jessica Co-Founded Women’s March Chicago, a 501(C)(4) organization and led its Board of Directors into mobilizing hundreds of thousands of women into action in 2016 – 2018.  She currently serves as Vice President of Action for Illinois NOW and Vice President of Chicago NOW.  In these roles, Jessica collaborated and organized for several revolutionary pieces of legislation in Illinois, including safeguarding reproductive choice, strengthening workplace protections for women, and ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.

Jessica grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota, and understands the geopolitical complexities feminist organizers confront.  She was raised in the Heartland and hopes to expand the legislative successes of Illinois through grassroots collaborations with other States within the district.

In her professional life, Jessica is a practicing lawyer and leads a large civil litigation division in a public office.  Her resume of public service includes successfully arguing against and defeating a Second Amendment challenge to the Blair Holt Assault Weapons Ban in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, acting as lead trial counsel in First Amendment victory over a political action committee seeking to repeal Illinois’ campaign finance reform law, and filing groundbreaking lawsuits against the federal government challenging onerous and discriminatory policies such as the “Refusal” and “Public Charge” Rules.

Jessica graduated from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with dual degrees in Economics and Government & International Affairs.  She moved to Chicago to study law at Loyola University Chicago, where she obtained Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degrees.  Jessica is the proud mother of twins, a dedicated wife, and the reluctant owner of a golden retriever named Dave.

It would be an honor to serve your Chapter as we jointly seek to strengthen NOW and to support your priorities within the movement.


David Stewart (Iowa)

I have over the past 38 years been a grassroots activist. I have attended and organized, marches, vigils, rallies, counter protests, clinic defense, registered voters, volunteered for multiple campaigns and candidates, at state-regional-district- national conferences.

I commit to the Heartland district that I will be an Active/Activist board member. I will bring your concerns, your ideas, and your vision to the board. I will be in regular contact with state presidents and chapter leadership.  I will keep you in the loop on ALL board business and All board meeting times and dates. I will work with my Heartland board member sisters to create a Facebook page where we can exchange ideas, thoughts, and what is going on in your state and chapter.

I commit to the Heartland district I will be an Active/Activist board member. I will bring your concerns, your ideas, and your vision to the board. I will be in regular contact with state presidents and chapter leadership. I will keep you in the loop on ALL board business and All board meeting times and dates. I will work with border states and active chapters to connect or reconnect with NOW members in states without a state president or leadership. I will be a voice to invest national resources back into the states. TOO many states have NO state leadership.

The Heartland District is down 5.  We must reach out to our Feminist Rural sisters and Native American sisters. To go to them and get involved in their actions and events and when we hold events or actions, those rural and Native American women need to be there at the beginning!!!  Not invited just to fill the room.

Chapter Leadership Experience
Chapter President, Vice President, Secretary, Social media coordinator, and in the field Activist.

State Leadership Experience
State President Iowa NOW 1996 to 2000, 2014 to 2016, Iowa NOW Vice President, 2016 to 2018, reelected in 2018

National Leadership Experience

National Board: 1990 to 1994, 2002 to 2004, 2008 to 2012, Regional Director 2010-2012, Interim Board member 2012 through January 2014

I am white. I am male.  I am well into my 50-teens.  I am also a Queer-Loud-Out Spoken-Feminist.  I am asking you for your support and Vote to SERVE you on the NOW National Board.


Southern District Candidates (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee)

 

Triana Arnold James (Georgia)

About me, I have spent the majority of my career as a political advocate and public servant. I am a mother, U.S. Veteran (US Army – Active and Reserves), and wife of a Iraq War Veteran. In 2015, I found the The Susan Jolley Awareness Program in honor of my best friend Susan Jolley, which brings awareness and education to all women and girls on the impact and prevention of cervical cancer and other gynecological cancers that affect women.

In January 2016, I presented to the legislature a resolution for Medicaid Expansion for the State of Georgia (HR1101). In 2018, I ran in the Democratic primary for Lieutenant Governor of Georgia garnering over 250,000 votes.

My plan is to bring us together and help move our agenda forward.  Education and advocacy are the best teachers for the six tenets of the organization.  We must educate ourselves and each other on the totality of our tenets and advocate for those tenets to ensure that everyone has their fair share as I look through the eyes as a woman of color.

We must come together and get us to a place where love and sanity prevails. I believe that as women, we can get it done.


Lakey Love (Florida)

Lakey Love is a non-binary pansexual grassroots activist with over 25 years of advocacy experience in Florida, Colorado, Washington, DC, and Virginia.  They first got involved with National Organization for Women fighting for abortion rights in Tallahassee, Florida when they were 15.  They served for three years on Gainesville FL NOW’s executive team while at college at University of Florida where they helped fight for the creation of the UF Women’s Studies Department and rape awareness and services on campus.

While completing their Bachelor’s degrees at University of Colorado, Lakey did humanitarian work with women who had been raped during the Guatemalan Civil War and organized with local LBGTQ+ and Chicano movements. While living in Washington, DC, and attending George Mason University, they worked at Amnesty International to fight against rape in warfare and helped organize the first “LGBT Rights are Human Rights” March on Washington. In DC, they joined grassroots feminists organizing for the ERA and against the war on Iraq. While at George Mason University, Lakey returned to Guatemala for 8 months to work with Maya women impoverished and oppressed by the war.

Currently, Lakey is working on a dissertation for a Ph.D. in English Literature at Florida State University and holds a Master’s in Literature, Master’s in Liberal Studies, a Bachelor’s in Philosophy, and a Bachelor’s in Anthropology.  Lakey designed the grassroots organizing model adopted for state chapters of Women’s March on Washington and has extensive grassroots organizing experience on a range of issues including education, gun control, racial justice, economic justice, criminal justice reform, immigration, LGBTQIA+ justice, reproductive rights and women’s rights at the local, state, regional and national levels.

Lakey is a co-founder of UnKoch My Campus, a national grassroots student organization that works closely with Greenpeace USA, the Center for Media and Democracy, Student Labor Action Project and ALECWatch to fight against corporate corruption in public universities and create a debt free future for students.  Lakey has been employed as the NE Regional Organizer for the ACLU of Florida and the TransAction Training Coordinator for Equality Florida (Florida’s largest LGBTQ+ organization) and held elected union positions at the national, state and local level with the American Federation of Teachers. Lakey has worked tirelessly in Florida’s Capitol to develop grassroots organizing efforts on behalf of progressive issues, including fighting for gun reform laws before and after the Parkland shooting. Lakey has done regional grassroots organizing work with the Florida Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls to expand criminal justice reform for women in the South. At the local and state level they have also helped develop PAC endorsements and aided progressive political campaigns.

For the past three years, Lakey has served on the board for Tallahassee NOW as their Political Action Chair and has recently accepted the position at Florida NOW as the LGBTQ+ Advocacy Subcommittee Chair.   This legislative session they co-founded the Florida Coalition for Transgender Liberation which joined Florida NOW to fight and defeat several anti-LGBTQ state bills that attacked LGBTQ+ youth in Florida.


B J Star (Florida)

Remembering my first NOW meeting, I was riveted by women who knew everything about legislation, organization, and liberation. I joined immediately dedicating myself to feminism and NOW. My sisters taught me feminist organizing basics. I’ve refined that education to include 21st-century topics, technology, and apps.

I’ve internalized NOW’s mission to increase membership and formulate action plans with an eye to diversity, inclusion, intersectionality; listened to younger members, learning and absorbing their ideas; served at every NOW level, convening chapters to National Board; delivering presentations keeping NOW’s brand alive in communities; led a successful statewide campaign defeating an anti-choice referendum; picketed the Republican Convention after they deleted ERA from their Platform; convened a chapter that exclusively held ERA presentations/petition drives. This vigorous politicking got us arrested – the case ending in the Michigan Supreme Court. I am a Lifetime NOW Member who’s cited in “Feminists Who Changed America;” Awarded the “Veteran Feminists of America Medal of Honor.”

Our Bylaws direct the Board to “manage the affairs … control the funds” of NOW. My Bachelor and Master of Administration degrees give me solid foundations in both.  I broaden those skills with my Law Degree.  I’ve applied my education extensively as I’m on both the National Budget and Structure & Process Committees.  I well understand NOW’s policy and procedures; our feminist business and fiscal needs; our internal structure and national/state strategies; investment acumen. Importantly, all through new eyes.

We made and fulfilled campaign promises: We modified a Board bylaw, exempting the Person of Color seat from the third state residency requirement; Promised ERA work, so staffed a Virginia precinct on Primary Day, the NOW candidate winning which led to Virginia ratifying the 38th state ERA; Promised reproductive rights work, so trained as a trainer for SASS – Self-Managed Abortions Safe and Secure. We’re giving medicine abortion online classes. Call to book us. Promised modernization, so chairing the Structure and Process Committee, we’re updating our national website; drafting templates for chapter/state bylaws.

We fulfilled our bylaw mandate, by distributing an Intersectional Feminism tutorial; listened hard, really learned from younger members; drafted a cheat-sheet for Florida leaders to comply with government regulations; attended district calls after Board meetings to share the issues discussed/voted on.

New campaign hopes include: more e-activities; 2020 Federal/state electioneering; increased district communication; more read/zoom tutorials; as Asian-American, intend to build NOW’s diversity membership; more attention to the LGBTQIA+ community.

We can be very proud of our district. It’s flourishing with new members, more chapters, Get Out The Vote activism, ERA efforts, a national conference coming south; cities honoring chapters with August Centennial Proclamations. We’re all visioning a new NOW, rebuilding with a bright lens focused on racial justice, the LGBTQA+ community, intersectionality, inclusion, diversity. We bring a fresh, well-seasoned voice to the Board. Institutional memory creates a unique type of diversity. Having well represented our District we promise to continue doing our very best.  I’m asking for your vote. Please re-elect me to the National Board.  Call me.


Eastern District Candidates (Delaware, District of Columbia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia)

 

Kobby Hoffman (Virginia)

Kobby Hoffman has found it a privilege to serve simultaneously on the National Board of NOW, Virginia NOW PAC, and the Charlottesville NOW while working for the Equal Rights Amendment ratification in Virginia as the 38th and last state needed to put women in the United States Constitution.

She has worked on ERA as a foot soldier since the early 1980s. In 1989 she founded the Blue Ridge Abortion Fund which helped one short of 1100 people last year.

She started the Take Back the Night March which continues today at the University of Virginia with month-long activities each April.

She has served in numerous positions in several times as president in Charlottesville NOW.

Kobby is pleased to presently serve on the Board committees for ERA, budget, audit and investment.

The National Organization for Women is critical as it covers all aspects relating to women and their families. This breath is the strength of the organization. It has always been intersectional. Its strength is its grassroots with its members giving direction to the organization.


Ashley Pirani (Indiana)

I am running to be a member of the NOW National Board because I have a strong connection to progressive ideals, and I feel our six core issues encompass those progressive ideals. Like many in our new wave of membership, I joined NOW after the 2016 election. I became aware that the way in which I was expressing myself was not enough. I attended the Women’s March in D.C. and in preparation, created a workshop to better prepare women for their trip to D.C. That is where I found other women who were ready to do more. The seven of us banded together to convene the Monroe County NOW Chapter in Bloomington, IN. Being a part of a chapter’s creation has afforded me a unique glimpse in what it takes to get a chapter up and running, as well as the areas that need improving so that we may better serve those interested in creating their own local chapters.

After our convening year, I became our first President and served in that role for two years. In my two years, our board brought in experts in various fields pertaining to women’s issues, held rallies for equity, inclusiveness, and reproductive freedom, and tabled several events. Though my term has come to an end, I am proud of some of the things we were able to accomplish and learned a lot about what does and doesn’t make an effective leader.

In addition to my service at the local level, I became a member of our Indiana NOW State Board in 2018. I serve as an at-large member. In that role, I have helped plan our State’s Annual Conference as well as a drive for our local pregnancy center and domestic violence center.

When I am not working on NOW related activities, you can find me participating in activism revolving around fighting for feminism, LGBTQ+, and racial justice rights or helping women get elected to office. I sit on a couple of local not-for-profit boards that focus on helping the most vulnerable in our community. I practice what I preach; ask me about the time I was arrested in a purple octopus costume while fighting white supremacy.

Along with my husband, we are raising two sons. We want them to have strong figures in their lives that do not just identify as male. We want them to know that women have a place in leadership. My children attend many events with me because we feel it’s important they know that when oppression is happening, we stand up to fight it. I want to continue fighting those issues, ensuring a feminist process, and listen to marginalized people. Being a part of the National Board is one of the ways I can do that. If you are member of the Eastern District, I would appreciate your vote.


Northern District Candidates (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont)

 

Kimberly S. Adams (Pennsylvania)

My name is Kimberly S. Adams and I am a staunch supporter of women’s rights. As a small girl growing up in Mississippi, community leaders drilled into my psyche that coordinated and consistent activism brought about positive change. Thus, I became active and worked on my first campaign at the age of eleven.  From those early days in Mississippi to my current position as a political science professor, I remain committed to eradicating barriers to the full inclusion of women and minorities in society.

Throughout my career, I have worked to foster women’s public leadership through education, empowerment and action.  I have published academic journal articles, presented research, and given over 70 talks on women, race, and politics, domestically and internationally. Over the years, I have marched for gender equity, consulted candidates, and registered voters. Since 2014, I have served as an American Fellowships Selection Panelist for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) where I review proposals and recommend funding for women’s research. AAUW provides more than $3.7 million in funding annually to outstanding women. I have served as a featured speaker at DC rallies for Katrina’s Dream, an organization geared to securing passage of the ERA.  I have active memberships in numerous organizations including NOW, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and the American Women’s News Club. I am a charter member of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

As a member of the NOWPAC, I have diligently worked alongside my colleagues to endorse over 100 feminist candidates for federal office.  As a member of NOW’s Racial Justice Taskforce, I authored and presented a resolution on the overcriminalization of young girls and women of color at the 2019 national conference. I also co-facilitated a panel on race. More recently, I served on the Racial Justice Planning Committee for the Racial Justice Summit held on Capitol Hill in early February. At the 2020 RJ Summit, I moderated a panel on voter suppression and presented NOW’s Intersectional Feminist Award to the chosen recipient. Subsequently, I have been added to NOW’s Vision 2020 Committee, a committee tasked with planning NOW’s commemoration of the 100th year Anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment.

I have devoted my career to the advancement of women and minorities in society.  As a NOW Board member, I will serve with great pride and continue to lift my voice to fiercely advocate for all women and minorities.


Nina Ahmad (Pennsylvania)

I am excited to seek another term as a Board member from the Northern District. My first term has been extremely informational as I have learned how NOW works, and how priorities are shaped. It has been invigorating to watch NOW become more intersectional in its approach with a real commitment to racial justice. I am committed to working with our Northern District Board members to create a cohesive network amongst all the states in our district. To have clear structure to facilitate a such cohesion and to bring transparency about how National NOW functions will help us grow our membership and allow our national campaigns to be successful.

My political experience of building broad coalitions which includes organized labor, progressive groups, women’s organizations, communities of color, immigrant communities and students is an asset to NOW. Building out our grassroots infrastructure is critical to a successful movement building around issues of intersectional equity. I am interested to continuing the work to end sexual violence against women of color we started in that committee, to operationalize the pilot that we had designed. Preventing sexual assault and domestic violence against women and girls and promoting healthy relationships cannot be fully successful without engaging men and boys. Therefore, our committee started by working with organizations in the Philadelphia area who have men who are trainers of healthy masculinity and use our learnings from the RIGHTS NOW curriculum.

I am a first-generation American, scientist, former Deputy Mayor for the City of Philadelphia where I was the first AAPI woman to hold a Cabinet position in any Philadelphia Administration. With a Doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, I was an Assistant Professor and subsequently the Director of Molecular Biology of the Research Department at Wills Eye Hospital. I also co-founded JNA Capital, Inc., a community development and real estate finance company where I served as its Executive Vice President of Community Engagement until I declared my candidacy for Pennsylvania Auditor General. I have been a successful civic leader who is unafraid to take on big fights. As former President of the Philadelphia NOW, I led a fight against the District Attorney’s office that refused to fire three prosecutors who had e-mailed degrading pornographic images and rallied City Council to issue a resolution. During my tenure, we diversified the Board to become multigenerational, multiracial with diversity of gender and sexual orientation. As the Deputy Mayor, I fought workplace discrimination and harassment which undermines women and people of color economically. As a Board member of the Philadelphia Foundation, I have helped provide millions of dollars to local non-profits aimed at fighting poverty and educating young people. President Obama appointed me to his Advisory Commission on AAPI and I was the 2016 Honoree of the Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition for my work facilitating civic participation of immigrants and refugees.

I would be honored to serve on the Board of NOW for a second term and I hope you will consider voting for me.


Sasha Goodfriend (Massachusetts)

Sasha Goodfriend is a social movement organizer and leader working to curate feminist & queer experiences on the personal and political levels through partnerships with statewide government, community organizations & creatives alike. She works to advance this mission through her roles as State President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Mass NOW), Chair of the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth and consultant with Boston Pride and Suffrage100MA. Sasha graduated from the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University majoring in International Relations and minoring in Women, Gender & Sexuality studies and received her Masters in Public Policy from Simmons University.

Sasha Goodfriend first became involved with Mass NOW as the 2013 Feminism in Action Grant awardee, co-creating a leadership program for middle school girls in Boston Public Schools. She then joined the Mass NOW board in 2013 as VP of Action and was elected Co-President in December 2015. Since then, Sasha is proud of Mass NOW’s role co-writing the MA Pay Equity Bill, the most comprehensive pay equity legislation in the country, co-founding the MA Pay Equity coalition & acting as the coalition’s spokesperson. Following the pay equity win in 2016, Sasha led Mass NOW through a racial justice strategic visioning transformation. In 2017, Mass NOW’s board partnered with the Anti Racism Collaborative (ARC) to examine the history of white supremacy culture within the feminist movement and the organization’s structure. Our partnership with the ARC also led to a series of Dismantling White Feminism workshops for our members which included a critical examination of white feminism through historical, intersectional, and social movement lenses in the first session, and an interrogation, planning, and accountability process for allies in the second session.

Currently, Mass NOW is championing the ‘I AM bill’ to Increase Access to Menstrual products. Mass NOW’s ‘I AM bill’ is the most comprehensive menstrual equity legislation proposed in the country and is the first bill about menstrual products in Massachusetts’ history. Currently the I AM bill has over 70 bipartisan supporters, 50 endorsed organizations and was voted favorably out of committee in December. October 19th was the first ever National Period Day with rallies in all 50 states – excitedly over a dozen other NOW chapters across the country helped organize rallies! That same month, Sasha was invited to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland to represent the USA and participate in the first-ever international policy review on menstrual equity.

This past December, the Mass NOW board voted to transition from a volunteer board led organization to a partly paid State President position. We hope to maintain the successful programming and advocacy work we piloted in 2019 and fundraise enough this year to grow to a fully compensated State President position necessary to sustain this work. If elected to the National Board, I look forward to the opportunity to collaborating more with the other state and local chapters in the Northeast region as well as nationwide.


Anjali Mehrotra (New Jersey)

Dream big. Fight Hard.

Four words that embody my own life experience. Born and raised in India, from a young age I was unafraid to challenge the status quo and fight for what is right. Growing up in a repressive society, I had no choice but to speak up if I wanted a college education or career. Moving to New Jersey to attend college, I faced challenges both as an immigrant and a woman of color. I continued to use my voice as a young professional, to call out unfair practices; and as a mother, to advocate for children. I learned to hold my ground and fight for all who did not have a voice.

After my daughters left for college, I followed my passion to see more women elected to office. After working on local, state, and federal campaigns, I became a candidate for Borough Council. During that election I learned that the ballot listed the position I was running for as “Councilman.” I worked to get the language changed to “Member of Council” in my county and got legislation introduced in the State Legislature to create gender-neutral ballots.

I am a strong leader with a proven record of decades of service in leadership roles at multiple non-profits and advocacy organizations. Within NOW, I spearheaded the revival of my local chapter which was dormant. Before I became President of NOW New Jersey, NOW NJ was largely on the sidelines of politics and policy in the state and because of my leadership and persistence, NOW has regained a seat at the table of power and influence. We have used our organizational voice to call out the toxic culture that exists within NJ politics and the barriers it presents for women. At the same time, I have built relationships with legislators, the Governor’s office and advocacy groups. We are currently working on bills to codify Roe v Wade, improve access to abortion care for all New Jerseyans and provide free menstrual products in public schools. I fought to change the bill’s language from “feminine hygiene products” to “menstrual products” making it trans-inclusive.

A lifetime member of NOW, I serve on the National Global Feminist Committee and the Racial Justice Task Force. I am chair of the Democratic Party in my town and County Director for the South Asian American Caucus of the state party. Representation is important to me, and as a member of the Union County Advisory Board on the Status of Minorities, I am working to ensure that all persons in my county are counted in the census.

If elected, I will work to lift the voices of color in our organization. For too long we have been unable to attract persons of color and young feminists and I will work to grow our organization through better communication and sharing of knowledge and best practices with our chapter leaders. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize and unite in the fight for equality. I ask for your support. #LFG


Samantha Pearson (Pennsylvania)

A strong millennial women’s rights activist, Samantha was elected as President of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Organization for Women in March 2018 and currently serves on the Young Feminist Task Force. Previous to her current position, Samantha served for two terms as a Board Member for Philadelphia NOW.  Dedicated to her neighborhood and community, Samantha was elected to serve as Committeeperson in Philadelphia’s 31st Ward, 1st Division in May 2018 and was further elected to serve as Ward Assistant Treasurer. Professionally, Samantha serves as Chief of Staff to Representative Mary Isaacson.

We have seen some progress with historic numbers of women running for office, the #TimesUp movement and the strengthened push towards wage equity across the country. We have been striving towards equality for almost 150 years and still, too many employers across the country continue to underpay women as well as show benign leadership in unhealthy work environments and cultures in which sexual harassment runs rampant. The time is past due for change. Together, we must work across socioeconomic lines and barriers to demand that we be treated with respect, civility, and fairness not only as women, but as human beings.

We must meet each other at the intersections of our experiences and work towards the passage of more intentional legislation and policies designed to level the socioeconomic disparities experienced by women from all walks of life.

The criminalization of poverty is an attack on women who are unable to make ends meet for their family, so we must fight for criminal justice reform. The fact that employers continue to find ways to underpay women and objectify them in the workplace is an attack on women, so we must fight for wage equity and policies to combat sexual harassment in our mission for economic justice. The fact that citizens are willing to elect candidates with histories of partner violence and sexual assault is an attack on women, so we must fight against domestic violence and sexual violence.

The fact that legislators continue to try to override a woman’s right to choose and limit their access to reproductive services is an attack on women, so we must fight for reproductive justice.  And the fact that all of these issues are only catalyzed and compounded through systemic racism for women of color is why we must continue to fight for racial justice. We will never reach equality without it.

Many women’s organizations are popping up across the country. Women are more actively seeking to get involved and we need to make certain that NOW is being a part of that.

We must not only work to increase our membership but make certain that we are reaching out to partner and ally organizations so that we can build more effective coalitions. We must also be certain that we are reaching out to other chapters to increase our numbers and visibility. NOW is stronger for its state chapters and more effective due to our local impact we have through grassroots organizing.