Follow Helene’s ERA Pilgrimage

In the deep meaning of the word “pilgrimage,” Helene de Boissiere-Swanson is trekking across the United States from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. She does this in the name of her mother, of her husband, her family and all of us. She will arrive in the District next spring. On her way, she is attending to business spiritual and political, as feminsts have long done. Ours is not merely a cause for legal equality, for a wider and deeper social justice, for a more inclusive and welcoming and robust social order. Our cause is for that, certainly, but that is only a basis, a legal ground, from which we imagine a world of humans of all kinds standing at ease in their own physical and emotional grace, social and economic dignity, and intellectual and spiritual radiance. THAT, is our goal. For ev-er-y-one.

The Equal Rights Amendment would be a key stone in the architecture that would create a social and natural environment in which these future humans would flourish. Without it, every “right” women currently enjoy is politically insecure.

You can follow Helene’s progress in her sojourn on the page for Katrina’s Dream — the name of the organization she created to tend this project — and on the web at WWW.KATRINASDREAM.ORG.

I have been for a few weeks now inspired and reinvigorated by my acquaintance with Helene. She’ll be happy to share that with you, too.

In justice,
Simone Roberts
Web Editor

YOUR chance to participate with Reorganizing NATIONAL!

NOW Mid-Atlantic Regional Programmatic Meeting!!!

  • NOW Mid-Atlantic Regional Council will host the programmatic aspect of the Regional Meeting via webinar on Saturday, April 5, from 1:00pm EST to 4:00pm EST
  • NOW Mid-Atlantic Regional Board Election meeting on Saturday, May 31st, from 1pm-3pm, at the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum

Register for the webinar - April 5th, 2014

 

LOCATION of the NOW Mid-Atlantic Regional Board Election, Saturday, May 31st

Sewall-Belmont House & Museum
144 Constitution Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002

The Museum is located on a corner that offers street parking nearby, and is a 10-15 minute walk or brief cab ride from Union Station Metro on the Red Line and Capitol South Metro on the Blue and Orange Lines. Union Station is the location of Amtrak trains arriving to and departing from DC, and the Museum is also accessible via Metro Blue and Yellow lines, and by cab from Reagan National Airport in Virginia.

A presentation and discussion on bylaws led by members of the NOW Modernizing Working Group (this will EFFECT all chapters across the country! hence show up and have a say!) and NOW Board, Patricia Ireland, Co-Chair, National NOW Advisory Committee, Joanne Tosti-Vasey, NOW Mid-Atlantic Regional Board Member.

Recruiting Diverse Members to Grow Our Organization: A Discussion on Strategies for Bringing in New Members: with Atima Omara, President, Young Democrats of America, and Chitra Panjabi, Membership Vice President, NOW.

Here is the agenda:

  • 1:00pm – opening and call for nominations to the Board
  • 1:15pm (estimate) – close of nominations, candidate speeches
  • 1:45pm (estimate) – close of candidate speeches, voting begins
  • 1:45pm – 2:45pm – voting, guided tours
  • 3:00pm – election announcement

Important Notice from Diana Egozcue:  We are still voting for our representatives in person. As time goes by, we will also be finding a way to vote safely online. Voting will occur on May 31st in DC at the Sewall- Belmont House museum.

 

THIS IS THE CHANCE TO BE A PART OF THE REORGANIZATION OF NOW!!!

Shine on in revolution!
Paradise Kendra
VA NOW’s Webmistress / Communications VP
communicationsvp@vanow.org

TUESDAY, March 25, RALLY for WOMEN’S FREEDOM to ACCESS BIRTH CONTROL

… and Keep Your Boss Out of Your Pants!!! … and your private life. … and your faith. … and live by your own moral compass. Because, you, you are a complete human being.
* * * * *

Join NOW and our allies on Tuesday March 25th in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as the Court hears challenges to the birth control benefit in the Affordable Care Act. Women fought hard for this benefit – and the two cases before the Court will determine if for-profit employers have the right to deny their employees access to no-copay birth control. Join us to demonstrate support for birth control as basic health care.

These two cases could have far-reaching consequences for millions of American women and our health care. The two companies involved, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, are attempting to claim that the religious beliefs of their owners allows them to refuse to cover birth control. They are trying to use religion to discriminate against women!

Read Terry O’Neill’s piece in the Huffington Post on the arguments presented by Hobby Lobby’s attorney.

The natural extension of this thinking is to expand rules like “conscience” clauses that already make access to some health care an inconsistent and emotionally difficult process.

We’ll gather in front of the Court starting at 8 am. There will be a people’s mic and rally from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and the rally will continue until 11:30 am.

If you can’t attend the rally make sure to sign our banner so your voice is heard!

This rally is really important because these cases would give bosses the right to deny their employees birth control coverage. A large coalition of groups is demonstrating what a majority of Americans believe – that birth control decisions are ours to make, not bosses. We will join groups including NARAL Pro-Choice America, the Religious Institute, Catholics for Choice, Methodists Federation for Social Action, National Council of Jewish Women, the Religious Coalition for Reproducitve Choice, a number of LGBTQIA groups*.

These cases are based on the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, which a was used as the attempt in Arizona to allow business owners to refuse to serve people on the basis of a “substantial burden” to religious freedom/practice. Because, you know, being around LGBTQIA people, or women using The Pill, or being around folk of other faiths — this is a stain on the soul.

For more information, please contact Marj Signer at legislativevp@vanow.org.  See you Tuesday morning!!!

Spread the Word! Tell Your Friends:
Bosses shouldn’t be able to take away their employees’ birth-control coverage! Join the rally on March 25 at the U.S. Supreme Court to make sure our voices are heard.   

It’s offensive that some bosses think they should be able to impose their views against birth control– or any medication or medical proceedure –on their employees. Speak out against these over-reaching bosses — join the rally in DC on March 25.

Getting There – Be sure to leave plenty of time for rush hour traffic and Metro crowds.
The address if the U.S. Supreme Court is 1 First St NE, Washington, DC 20543

The closest Metro (subway) stops are:
> Capitol South (Orange & Blue Lines, 0.3 miles)
> Union Station (Red Line, 0.5 miles).
Additional information on riding the Metro is available at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

By Train
> Amtrak, VRE, and MARC trains service Union Station, which is located approximately 0.5 miles from the Court — and has direct connections to the Metro.

By Car
> Street parking is extremely limited near the Supreme Court and virtually non-existent before 9 or 9:30 am. The closest public parking garage is located at Union Station.

*Apologies to our allies!! I (Simone) had to post this pretty quick, and research was not turning up the names of your organizations w/o a great deal of drilling. Next time, I hope I to have a wider window in my own schedule for the research!!

One Woman Begins Her Walk Across the USA for the ERA!!

VA NOW members, friends, allies, I have a good friend who lost everything. And there is nothing like a woman with nothing left to lose! Helene made one pilgrimage to India to prepare herself, and now she’s making another. In the name of her mother-in-law Katrina — the first female Episcopal priest, herself, and all women of all kinds in the US, she is walking across the US in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. Helene will pass through all 15 of the states that failed to ratify this simple affirmation of justice and freedom.

>> EQUALITY OF RIGHTS UNDER THE LAW SHALL NOT BE DENIED OR ABIDGED BY THE UNITED STATES OR BY ANY STATE ON ACCOUNT OF SEX.
>> THE CONGRESS SHALL HAVE THE POWER TO ENFORCE, BY APPRORPRIATE LEGISLATION, THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE.
>> THIS AMENDMENT SHALL TAKE EFFECT TWO YEARS AFTER THE DATE OF RATIFICATION.
__ THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT, full text

She has been training for sometime, and now she’s on her way. Helene will arive in Washington DC on International Women’s Day, March 8 of 2015, if all goes to plan. You can join that event on Facebook and be in DC to greet her in front of the White House — the traditional scene of protests and vigils for women’s rights for the last many, oh so many years. Alice Paul and the Suffragists, the Foremothers of the 2nd Wave, and soon Helene de Boissiere-Swanson and hosts of lovers of liberty.

For information on meeting her and making some noise, join this event: ERA March 8 2015 at the White House.

One reason for such a dramatic effort is that states like our Commonwealth have all manner of procedures (and therefore available strategies to kill proposed bills) designed to ensure lots of public debate on amendments: (click). So, legislators disinclined to recognize women’s civil equality use them to great effect. Like, denying us our civil equality. In fact, in 5 states conservative legislatures have attempted to *rescind their previous ratification* of the Equal Right Amendment (click).  As you might intuit, this delay to 2015 puts the ERA smack against its federal (and completely arbitrary, and nearly unique) ratification deadline. After which, welcome to another generation of fighting the same old battles all over again, and for the ERA by starting all the way over again — as in 1919 — with a federal Congress not much enamored of expanding or securing civil liberties.

Move On is supporting Helene’s petition to Congress. You can find that here: (click).

NOTE: It is often *much* more effective to write your own letter to your representatives in your state or in Congress. Most savvy politicians count mass emails and petitions as one (1) letter, but count a personal letter/eamil/call as many hundreds. See the websites linked below for facts to use in your letters, and contact guides for VA’s General Assembly and the federal Congress.

Two Facebook Events pages will chronicle Helene’s sojourn across the United States: Katrina’s Dream and Internaltional Women’s Day San Francisco.

Code Pink and Occupy Women, and a number of other women’s and Equal Rights Amendment organizations are also involved. March 8 next year is shaping up to be quite the party.

To write your letters to officials, and to inform any friends who don’t understand the Equal Rights Amendment and its implications for women and men, you may use these sites: EqualRightsAmendment.Org, and our own political action pages at VANOW.ORG/Ratify (about the ERA) and VANOW.ORG/Represent (where you can find contact guides for legislators).

With any luck, we will also be posting our first around of interviews for the Virginia Foremothers Project at VANOW.ORG/History. We recently had the honor to record a group of these activists recalling their public actions and their strategies for supporting them, and the incredible bonds of solidarity and friendship they formed in their work for women in many, many areas of public and private life. There is much editing and annotation under way! Expect updates as we archive this history in order to support exactly the kind of present efforts like Helene’s in the name of the future equality and liberty of all women and men, in the US and everywhere!

In the name of justice and liberty for all women, thrive and flourish!
Dr. Simone Roberts
Web Editor / Historian VA NOW
webeditor@vanow.org

Virginia NOW Endorses Alan Howze, Democratic Candidate for Arlington County Board

 

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Bharat Krishnan, Campaign Manager, 202-805-0911
 

Arlington, Va. – March 3, 2014 – The Virginia Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) has voted to endorse Alan Howze for election to the Arlington County Board.  “Alan Howze is committed to the social justice values of the women’s rights movement – and these values are as important at the county level as at the national level,” said Marj Signer of Arlington, co-chair of the Virginia NOW political action committee.

“We are impressed by Howze’s grasp of issues that are important to women in Arlington as well as throughout the state,” she said and listed four of Howze’s specific focus areas.

  • Reproductive Choice – He will oppose Republican efforts to restrict women’s reproductive choice options and remove or limit women’s access to affordable reproductive health care services.”
  • Healthcare Coverage – He supports expanding Medicaid healthcare coverage, which will improve the lives of women in Arlington – and their families – and increase their financial security. Howze will work with the Arlington Department of Human Services to enroll eligible people. 
  • Economic Inequality – Howze understands that wage stagnation and income inequality have created significant challenges for women and made closing the gender wage gap more difficult. He supports efforts to increase wages for low and middle income workers.
  • Affordable housing – The high cost of housing in Arlington can create significant burdens for women and families. Howze supports  increasing the availability of affordable housing in Arlington.

“Based on Howze’s understanding of these issues, Virginia NOW wholeheartedly endorses him for Arlington County Board,” said Signer.

Howze said, “I’m honored that the Virginia NOW political action committee has endorsed my candidacy, and I will continue to advocate for social justice.”

###

Paid for by the Committee to Elect Alan Howse

Charniele Herring for VA’s 8th Congressional District, Fundraiser this Saturday!! (reminder)

With U.S. Representative Jim Moran retiring, there will be a primary election June 10 to nominate the Democratic candidate from the 8th congressional district. If you’re in the 8th CD, you have the opportunity to support and vote for long-time NOW member and feminist activist Charniele Herring. 

The women of NOW – Alexandria, Arlington, Northern Virginia and Vienna Area – invite you to meet Charniele this Saturday, March 8, in Alexandria and find out why we’re so excited about her candidacy. Not only that – national NOW President Terry O’Neill will be with us and this is a great opportunity to talk with her. If you can’t come Saturday,  there are other ways to get involved – join “Women for Charniele” and/or volunteer for her campaign. And for sure, please vote for her June 10. 

Let’s make history together and elect Charniele to Congress! 

Bring a check to the event or donate online!

Saturday, March 8 * 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. 

Home of Jere Gibber
7221 Beechwood Road, Alexandria, VA (Fairfax County) 7221 

RSVP to Jere Gibber: 703.768.6987 * jgibber@aol.com 

****

Suggested contribution levels:

Ally $1,000  * Benefactor $500  * Patron $250

Friend $150  * Sponsor $100  * Guest $50

RSVP to Jere Gibber: 703.768.6987 * jgibber@aol.com

There is a large field of candidates in this race and many support issues of major concern for Virginia women.  While we salute them, we believe that Charniele Herring is exceptional among them and the best candidate. Charniele will bring her dedication and years of experience to Congress – with women, children and families at the top of her agenda.

Charniele will fill an important void in Virginia. Not a single woman is among Virginia’s 11-member Congressional delegation. Not a single woman is among Virginia’s statewide offices – held by stellar progressive men, in large part due to the votes of young people, unmarried single women and women of color. 

Charniele      

  • is the first woman Democratic Whip
  • chaired the legislative Reproductive Health Caucus during the ugly transvaginal bill debate, fighting valiantly for its defeat
  • was the first African American woman from Northern Virginia in the General Assembly
  • is Chair of the Virginia Democratic Party and shepherded the party’s victory last November
  • exemplifies the values we fight for – equality and justice for all
  • has fought to overcome racism and sexism
  • has worked tirelessly to identify and mentor women and people of color to run for office

Sign up on the website to endorse, volunteer and/or donate and join Women for Charniele:http://www.herringforcongress.com

Contacts: Marj Signer, marj.signer@gmail.com, Pat Reuss, patreuss@verizon.net, Norma Gattsek n.gattsek@verizon.net 

Directions – G.W. Parkway Route: Take the George Washington Parkway past National Airport and then through Old Town Alexandria. Take exit for Belle View Blvd. (second right-hand exit after leaving Old Town). Follow Belle View to first light. Left onto Fort Hunt Road. Follow Fort Hunt for 1 mile. Right onto Paul Spring Road (notice sign for Hollin Hills). Follow Paul Spring until fork at stop sign; take left fork onto Pickwick Lane. Follow Pickwick to end. Left onto Beechwood. 7221 is on left just before cul-de-sac.

From OUTER loop of Beltway, take exit for Route 1 South. Follow signs for Fort Hunt Road (this will take you on a jughandle across Route 1 to Fort Hunt Road). Follow Fort Hunt for 2 miles to Paul Spring Road. Right onto Paul Spring Road (notice sign for Hollin Hills). Follow Paul Spring until fork at stop sign; take left fork onto Pickwick Lane. Follow Pickwick to end. Left onto Beechwood. 7221 is on left just before cul-de-sac.

 Paid for and authorized by Herring for Congress. Contributions to Herring for Congress are not deductible for federal income tax purposes.

Legislative Update: Governor’s Edition

Hello wonderful VA NOW advocates and allies,

You may be wondering, what happened to the pieces of legislation we were tracking?? Well, some have died, others are currently waiting in a conference committee for the House and Senate to strike an agreement on amendments, and some have passed both the House and Senate and are on their way to the Governor’s Desk.

I’d like to offer the opportunity for you all to gain some experience advocating for legislation to Governor McAuliffe if you are interested in doing so! The Governor has to sign, amend, or veto legislation prior to April, but we’d like to get a head start now. 

What does this mean??

Essentially, this email should be very similar to the emails you have been sending out to the committees you’ve been following. Remember–a good email has a mixture of personal opinion, facts and statistics, and why this is worth the cost (if applicable). I have attached both our final billsheets and our fact sheets from the beginning of session for your convenience. Click the links for more issue info: other resources for domestic violence legislation; other resources for anti-bullying legislation

In the billsheet posted at our website, the bills that are starred are still in a committee conference; all other pieces of legislation are ready for the Governor’s signature!

Contact Governor McAuliffe  

What do we recommend taking action on?

Domestic Violence and Stalking: SUPPORT

HB 567 Sexual battery; touching a person’s intimate parts, etc., penalty. Introduced by: Vivian E. Watts

Sexual battery by touching a person’s intimate parts; penalty. Provides that a person is guilty of sexual battery (punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor) if, within a two-year period, such person sexually abuses against the will of the victim more than one victim or sexually abuses one victim on more than one occasion.

HB 708 Assault and battery; family or household member. Introduced by: C. Todd Gilbert

Assault and battery against a family or household member. Adds unlawful wounding in violation of § 18.2-51 and strangulation in violation of § 18.2-51.6 to the list of offenses that, if a person has been previously convicted of two such offenses within a 20-year period and such offenses occurred on different dates, enhance the penalty of assault and battery against a family or household member from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a Class 6 felony.

HB 1233 Address Confidentiality Program; victims of stalking eligible for Program. Introduced by: David J. Toscano

Address Confidentiality Program; victims of stalking. Makes victims of stalking eligible for the Address Confidentiality Program. Under current law, only victims of domestic violence are eligible for participation. The bill also allows the Office of the Attorney General to cancel a program participant’s certification if the participant obtains a name change through an order of the court and does not provide notice and a copy of the order to the Office of the Attorney General within seven days after entry of the order.

 

 Voting Rights: SUPPORT

HB 669 Absentee ballots; date requirement. Introduced by: Charniele L. Herring

Elections; absentee ballots; date requirement. Provides that a voter’s failure to provide the date, or any part of the date, on which he signed the statement on the back of the return envelope shall not render that ballot void or provide officers of election with a basis for rejection.

HB 670 Absentee ballots; name and signature requirements. Introduced by: Charniele L. Herring

Elections; absentee ballots; name and signature requirements. Provides that a voter’s failure to provide his full middle name or his middle initial in the statement on the back of the return envelope shall not render that absentee ballot void or provide officers of election with a basis for rejection, unless the voter also failed to provide his full first name. The bill also provides that a signature that is reasonably similar to the voter’s legal name is sufficient for purposes of casting an absentee ballot.

HB 838 Absentee ballot; procedures for return of envelope. Introduced by: Mark L. Keam

Elections; absentee ballot procedures. Provides that an absentee ballot will not be voided solely because the envelope containing the ballot was imperfectly sealed so long as the outside envelope containing the ballot and its envelope has been sealed and there is evidence that a good faith effort has been made to seal the ballot envelope.

 

Education: SUPPORT

HB 1187 School Safety, Virginia Center for; bullying. Introduced by: Jennifer L. McClellan

Virginia Center for School Safety; bullying. Requires the Virginia Center for School Safety to use the definition of bullying found in § 22.1-276.01 of the Code of Virginia for purposes of training on evidence-based antibullying tactics and providing information to school divisions regarding school safety concerns.

 

Education: OPPOSE

SB 236 Student religious viewpoint expression; school division policy. Introduced by: L. Scott Lingamfelter

Limited public forums for student religious viewpoint expression; school division policy. Requires each school division to adopt a policy to permit a student speaker to express a religious viewpoint at all school events at which a student is permitted to publicly speak. The policy shall declare each such school event to be a limited public forum, provide a neutral method for the selection of student speakers, and require each school principal to provide a disclaimer in advance of each such school event that the school division does not endorse any religious viewpoint that may be expressed by student speakers.

And always remember: if you have any questions, concerns, or would like to talk about any piece of legislation we are monitoring, do not hesitate to contact me directly! Please have a wonderful week and talk with you soon!!

Vicki Yeroian, BSW
Statewide  Director of  Lobbying, VA NOW