NOW What? Speakers on April 21st
Register for April 21st: Building Generations of Intersectional Feminists
Heather Booth is one of the country’s leading strategists about progressive issue campaigns and driving issues in elections. She started organizing in the civil rights, anti-Vietnam war, and women’s movements of the 1960s. She started JANE, an underground abortion service in 1965, before Roe.
She was the founding Director and is now President of the Midwest Academy, training social change leaders and organizers. She provided training for early NOW from 1970 – about 1975 and helped design early NOW campaigns. She was very active in women’s liberation and helped to found the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union.
She has been involved in and managed political campaigns and was the Training Director of the Democratic National Committee. In 2000, she was the Director of the NAACP National Voter Fund, which helped to increase African American election turnout. She was the lead consultant, directing the founding of the Campaign for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2005.
In 2008, she was the director of the Health Care Campaign for the AFL-CIO. In 2009, she directed the campaign passing President Obama’s first budget. In 2010 she was the founding director of Americans for Financial Reform, fighting to regulate the financial industry. She was the national coordinator for the coalition around marriage equality and the 2013 Supreme Court decision. She was strategic advisor to the Alliance for Citizenship (the largest coalition of the immigration reform campaign). She was the field director for the 2017 campaign to stop the tax giveaways to millionaires and billionaires She directed Progressive and Seniors Outreach for the Biden/Harris campaign. She has been a consultant on many other issues and with many other organizations.
There is a film about her life in organizing, “Heather Booth: Changing the World.” It has been shown on PBS/World Channel stations around the country.
Delegate Hala Ayala
A Lifelong Virginian, Delegate Hala Ayala was elected to the House of Delegates in 2017 and currently represents the 51st district which covers parts of Prince William County.
Hala is the daughter of a Salvadorian and North African immigrant father and an Irish and Lebanese mother. She has worked as a cybersecurity specialist for over 20 years with the Department of Homeland Security to protect our nation’s information systems. Hala has also been a women’s rights activist for over a decade.
She was the president of Prince William County National Organization for Women, appointed by Terry McAuliffe to serve on the Women’s Advisory Council, and in 2017, she helped organize Virginia’s attendance at the first Women’s March in Washington. As a Delegate, Hala has worked to pass some of Virginia’s most important pieces of legislation like expanding Medicaid for 400,000 Virginians, raising teacher pay, passing the Equal Rights Amendment and expanding background checks to keep guns out of dangerous hands.
Hala is running for Lieutenant Governor because she understands our Commonwealth, its history, its challenges, its many opportunities and wants to ensure every Virginian has the opportunity to succeed.
Clarissa Reichblum (she/her) is an At-Large Board Member for NOW Oregon. She has been an advocate and organizer for most of her life, starting at age 9 holding “Honk for Obama” signs on the street corner with her mom. Since then, she has worked for local campaigns in Vermont, Planned Parenthood, The Feminist Majority, and The Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
After working on the 2020 election in Wisconsin, Clarissa began working at FreeWill – a social venture on a mission to move $1 Trillion into high-impact nonprofits. Clarissa is incredibly passionate about women’s issues, LGBTQIA+ issues, access to healthcare, access to education, and dismantling systemic racism which permeates every social issue in this country.
In her current role at FreeWill, she is actively working with nonprofits to help them with their development and fundraising so that they are able to continue the work they do for decades to come.
As a board member with NOW Oregon, Clarissa is focused on engaging and working with activists in local communities to advance the key issues that NOW is fighting for.
Kristen Herring, President of Austin N.O.W
Kristen Herring is the daughter of a Welsh/Dutch Father and a Lumbee/Scottish Mother, who grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago for 20 years before moving to Austin, Texas. She first became an advocate in early childhood when she was taught of the discrimination her Mother and other family members faced for being Lumbee and having brown skin in America. When Kristen was diagnosed with a “pre existing condition” before middle school and had no guarantee of insurance, she decided her purpose in life would be to heal, not only the trauma in her family, but also of Turtle Island and Mother Earth. Having been discouraged from becoming an activist, Kristen instead used her Indigenous culture to connect to others by telling stories. After 10 years of advocacy, she has since then become an activist and uses her social media platform to share Native stories that are ignored and erased in mainstream media and in the education system.
After the first year of living in Austin, Kristen experienced an unhealthy pregnancy and found out just how difficult it is for Texans with a uterus to have full access to their bodily autonomy. She went through almost every anti abortion law in the state, despite the fact she was using abortion care to save her life, costing her $2,700 with only 4 days to pay (out of pocket). With the help of her family, she was able to get the care she needed, and since then has partnered with pro abortion care groups who share abortion care stories.
Kristen has been a caretaker for over 15 years, from working with infants and children to dementia care, and has been volunteering for Texas N.O.W for a year and a half. With the collected help of her team, Vice President Alexia Emuze, and a few Board Members, Kristen was able to successfully convene a new chapter in Texas called Austin N.O.W. As President, Kristen is leading her chapter more progressively with the focus on decolonization, which ultimately means coexisting and respecting Sovereign Nations and Treaties while intersectionality fighting for liberty, equity, & protection for all People and Mother Earth.
Kristen enjoys writing screenplays and children’s books, acting, dancing, and enjoys spending time with her family, her People, and friends.”
Christian F. Nunes, MBA, MS, LCSW
In late August 2020, Christian became NOW President. She was previously appointed Vice President by the board in May 2019.
Christian is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Consultant, and a Woman-Minority Business Owner since 2006. Ms. Nunes received her BSW degree from Northern Arizona University, Master of Science from Columbia University, and Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.
She is an active community organizer and has spoken at events such as the March for Black Women in 2018. Along with her activism for mental health, Nunes also has over 20 years of experience advocating for children’s and women’s issues.
Nunes is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Consultant, and Woman-Minority Business Owner. In 2006, she founded a behavioral health and consulting practice where she assists social service and behavioral health companies, as well as provides direct mental health services to individuals and families. As an advocate for social justice and mental health policy, she took up the role as Chair of the Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues and co-authored a community survey on police response to crisis. Additionally, she has worked tirelessly to elect progressive candidates to school boards and local office positions. She is often featured in media outlets including Ebony, Black Enterprise magazine, AZ News Channel 3, Yahoo News, and many more.