From left to right: NOW President Terry O’Neill, Stephanie Poggi, NOW Vice President-Action Erin Matson, Kierra Johnson, and Dr. LeRoy Carhart
Photo by Lisa Bennett
On July 4, the National Organization for Women concluded its 2010 National Conference in Boston, Mass., with a display of feminist solidarity and determination that reflected the true spirit of Independence Day.
NOW members cast impassioned votes on a wide range of issues affecting women, charting a course for action that includes demanding transparency and accountability from British Petroleum and the federal government as they address the Gulf Coast oil disaster and calling on the Senate to censure and expel Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). The assembly also urged Congress and the IRS to rein in the aggressive and unconstitutional lobbying of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; committed to an aggressive campaign to restore coverage of abortion care in the new health reform law by repealing the Hyde Amendment; and called for an immediate suspension of dismissals under the discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
“This year’s conference was an inspiring event that sent activists back to their communities raring to go,” said NOW President Terry O’Neill. “I am proud of what we achieved this weekend, and I look forward to getting to work on these important agenda items.”
The conference included a number of superb speakers. Nebraska physician Dr. LeRoy Carhart, one of the few brave doctors in the U.S. to perform late-term abortions, gave a moving speech in which he proclaimed it time for reproductive rights supporters to go on the offensive against anti-choice terrorists. Rousing speeches were delivered by celebrated author Susan Douglas, former senator and ambassador Carol Moseley Braun and Democacy Now! host Amy Goodman. Local leaders on hand included Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Boston Mayor Tom Menino, State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, Wellesley College President Kim Bottomly and Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral.
The weekend’s general sessions addressed the state of the feminist movement, women of color and empowerment, and women in electoral politics, in addition to abortion access and women’s health. Workshops focused on the crisis in family courts, images of women in the media, transgender inclusion in the feminist movement, corporate campaign spending, assaults on Social Security, and much more.
“As our nation marked another birthday, it’s fitting that NOW members engaged in a demonstration of democracy at work,” said O’Neill, “I believe there is nothing more patriotic than pledging to fight for the rights of the oppressed, the exploited and the excluded — and that’s just what NOW did this Fourth of July.”