This weekend members of the National Organization for Women (NOW) cast their votes for a new team of leaders to direct the largest grassroots feminist organization in the country over the next four years. NOW delegates elected Terry O’Neill, who served as the group’s membership vice president from 2001 to 2005, to succeed President Kim Gandy.
Gandy will retire from her office on July 20 due to the organization’s term limits; she has been a leader in NOW for 36 years, with 22 years of service at the national level, including the last eight as president.
“NOW is the organization that fights for the rights of all women no matter the circumstances of their birth, their race or sexual orientation, no matter if they live in poverty or are trying to escape violence,” said NOW President-Elect Terry O’Neill. “My experience with domestic violence, as an abused wife left me humiliated and embarrassed. I only began to talk about this publically five years ago as I realized that to keep quiet was to continue the abuse. I want to empower women and telling my story does just that. Women are fed up with persistent inequality and are ready for change. I am honored and eager to lead NOW in making that change.”
O’Neill cut her political teeth working to defeat David Duke’s gubernatorial campaign in Louisiana. She went on to serve NOW at the local, state and national levels. As an attorney, she served a clerkship at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago before practicing law in New Orleans. She taught at the University of California Davis Law School and Tulane Law School. Currently, she is chief of staff to a Montgomery County (Md.) councilmember whose successes include a transgender equality law and Maryland’s first Family Justice Center for survivors of domestic violence. O’Neill’s national positions also include executive director of the National Council of Women’s Organizations.
The other members of O’Neill’s team are Bonnie Grabenhofer of IL, taking on the position of executive vice president; Erin Matson of MN, serving as action vice president; and Allendra Letsome of MD, incoming membership vice president. The new administration will take office on July 21.