You’re invited to come celebrate Women’s Equality Day with the Charlottesville chapter of NOW!
Come celebrate the hard-fought right to vote!
Beating Back the Patriarchy Every Day
15 Aug 2016 Leave a comment
in Virginia NOW
05 Jul 2016 Leave a comment
in Virginia NOW
This Thursday, July 7th from 11:20 am to 1:30 pm
At the Federal Court House – 255 W. Main St.
At the corner of Main St., Water St., and Ridge McIntire Rd.
06 Jun 2016 Leave a comment
in Virginia NOW
11 May 2016 Leave a comment
in Virginia NOW
Vienna Area NOW
Prince William NOW
invite you to an exciting evening with :
President, Feminist Majority and eminent expert on the Gender Gap
Deal Women In: Playing the Woman Card
because it’s the hand we’ve been dealt and we’re not folding
The power of the women’s vote
Maximizing the “gender gap”
Supporting progressive candidates
Fighting to achieve equal rights and economic justice for ALL
Friday, June 17
Potluck at 6:30 pm ~ Meeting 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Center for Spiritual Enlightenment
222 North Washington St, Falls Church
Free Parking in the nearby Kaiser Permanante garage, after 6 pm. Entrance on Park Ave.
Special Invited Guest:
Candidate, House of Representatives from VA Congressional District 10
Space is limited so RSVP as soon as possible to Connie Cordovilla, NOVA NOW,
28 Apr 2016 Leave a comment
Courtesy of the American Civil Liberties Union
Just six weeks after the September 11 attacks, a panicked Congress passed the “USA/Patriot Act,” an overnight revision of the nation’s surveillance laws that vastly expanded the government’s authority to spy on its own citizens, while simultaneously reducing checks and balances on those powers like judicial oversight, public accountability, and the ability to challenge government searches in court.
Most of the changes to surveillance law made by the Patriot Act were part of a longstanding law enforcement wish list that had been previously rejected by Congress, in some cases repeatedly. Congress reversed course because it was bullied into it by the Bush Administration in the frightening weeks after the September 11 attack.
The Senate version of the Patriot Act, which closely resembled the legislation requested by Attorney General John Ashcroft, was sent straight to the floor with no discussion, debate, or hearings. Many Senators complained that they had little chance to read it, much less analyze it, before having to vote. In the House, hearings were held, and a carefully constructed compromise bill emerged from the Judiciary Committee. But then, with no debate or consultation with rank-and-file members, the House leadership threw out the compromise bill and replaced it with legislation that mirrored the Senate version. Neither discussion nor amendments were permitted, and once again members barely had time to read the thick bill before they were forced to cast an up-or-down vote on it. The Bush Administration implied that members who voted against it would be blamed for any further attacks – a powerful threat at a time when the nation was expecting a second attack to come any moment and when reports of new anthrax letters were appearing daily.
Congress and the Administration acted without any careful or systematic effort to determine whether weaknesses in our surveillance laws had contributed to the attacks, or whether the changes they were making would help prevent further attacks. Indeed, many of the act’s provisions have nothing at all to do with terrorism.
The Patriot Act increases the governments surveillance powers in four areas:
One of the most significant provisions of the Patriot Act makes it far easier for the authorities to gain access to records of citizens’ activities being held by a third party. At a time when computerization is leading to the creation of more and more such records, Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the FBI to force anyone at all – including doctors, libraries, bookstores, universities, and Internet service providers – to turn over records on their clients or customers.
The result is unchecked government power to rifle through individuals’ financial records, medical histories, Internet usage, bookstore purchases, library usage, travel patterns, or any other activity that leaves a record. Making matters worse:
|The law before the Patriot Act||The law under the Patriot Act|
|When can the Patriot Act be used?||To gather foreign intelligence or investigate international terrorism||To gather foreign intelligence or protect against international terrorism|
|What can the FBI demand be turned over?||“records”||“any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items)”|
|Who can they demand information about?||Only people who the FBI has evidence are an “agent of a foreign power”||Anyone|
|Who can they demand it from?||Only common carriers, public accommodation facilities, physical storage facilities, or vehicle rental facilities||Any entity (including bookstores and libraries)|
Why the Patriot Act’s expansion of records searches is unconstitutional
Section 215 of the Patriot Act violates the Constitution in several ways. It:
For centuries, common law has required that the government can’t go into your property without telling you, and must therefore give you notice before it executes a search. That “knock and announce” principle has long been recognized as a part of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
The Patriot Act, however, unconstitutionally amends the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to allow the government to conduct searches without notifying the subjects, at least until long after the search has been executed. This means that the government can enter a house, apartment or office with a search warrant when the occupants are away, search through their property, take photographs, and in some cases even seize property – and not tell them until later.
Notice is a crucial check on the government’s power because it forces the authorities to operate in the open, and allows the subject of searches to protect their Fourth Amendment rights. For example, it allows them to point out irregularities in a warrant, such as the fact that the police are at the wrong address, or that the scope of the warrant is being exceeded (for example, by rifling through dresser drawers in a search for a stolen car). Search warrants often contain limits on what may be searched, but when the searching officers have complete and unsupervised discretion over a search, a property owner cannot defend his or her rights.
Finally, this new “sneak and peek” power can be applied as part of normal criminal investigations; it has nothing to do with fighting terrorism or collecting foreign intelligence.
Under the Patriot Act, the FBI can secretly conduct a physical search or wiretap on American citizens to obtain evidence of crime without proving probable cause, as the Fourth Amendment explicitly requires.
A 1978 law called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) created an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s requirement for probable cause when the purpose of a wiretap or search was to gather foreign intelligence. The rationale was that since the search was not conducted for the purpose of gathering evidence to put someone on trial, the standards could be loosened. In a stark demonstration of why it can be dangerous to create exceptions to fundamental rights, however, the Patriot Act expanded this once-narrow exception to cover wiretaps and searches that DO collect evidence for regular domestic criminal cases. FISA previously allowed searches only if the primary purpose was to gather foreign intelligence. But the Patriot Act changes the law to allow searches when “a significant purpose” is intelligence. That lets the government circumvent the Constitution’s probable cause requirement even when its main goal is ordinary law enforcement.
The eagerness of many in law enforcement to dispense with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment was revealed in August 2002 by the secret court that oversees domestic intelligence spying (the “FISA Court”). Making public one of its opinions for the first time in history, the court revealed that it had rejected an attempt by the Bush Administration to allow criminal prosecutors to use intelligence warrants to evade the Fourth Amendment entirely. The court also noted that agents applying for warrants had regularly filed false and misleading information. That opinion is now on appeal. [link to FISA page]
Another exception to the normal requirement for probable cause in wiretap law is also expanded by the Patriot Act. Years ago, when the law governing telephone wiretaps was written, a distinction was created between two types of surveillance. The first allows surveillance of the content or meaning of a communication, and the second only allows monitoring of the transactional or addressing information attached to a communication. It is like the difference between reading the address printed on the outside of a letter, and reading the letter inside, or listening to a phone conversation and merely recording the phone numbers dialed and received.
Wiretaps limited to transactional or addressing information are known as “Pen register/trap and trace” searches (for the devices that were used on telephones to collect telephone numbers). The requirements for getting a PR/TT warrant are essentially non-existent: the FBI need not show probable cause or even reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. It must only certify to a judge – without having to prove it – that such a warrant would be “relevant” to an ongoing criminal investigation. And the judge does not even have the authority to reject the application.
The Patriot Act broadens the pen register exception in two ways:
“Nationwide” pen register warrants
Under the Patriot Act PR/TT orders issued by a judge are no longer valid only in that judge’s jurisdiction, but can be made valid anywhere in the United States. This “nationwide service” further marginalizes the role of the judiciary, because a judge cannot meaningfully monitor the extent to which his or her order is being used. In addition, this provision authorizes the equivalent of a blank warrant: the court issues the order, and the law enforcement agent fills in the places to be searched. That is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment’s explicit requirement that warrants be written “particularly describing the place to be searched.”
Pen register searches applied to the Internet
The Patriot Act applies the distinction between transactional and content-oriented wiretaps to the Internet. The problem is that it takes the weak standards for access to transactional data and applies them to communications that are far more than addresses. On an e-mail message, for example, law enforcement has interpreted the “header” of a message to be transactional information accessible with a PR/TT warrant. But in addition to routing information, e-mail headers include the subject line, which is part of the substance of a communication – on a letter, for example, it would clearly be inside the envelope.
The government also argues that the transactional data for Web surfing is a list of the URLs or Web site addresses that a person visits. For example, it might record the fact that they visited “www.aclu.org” at 1:15 in the afternoon, and then skipped over to “www.fbi.gov” at 1:30. This claim that URLs are just addressing data breaks down in two different ways:
Similarly, if I fill out an online form – to purchase goods or register my preferences, for example – those products and preferences will often be identified in the resulting URL.
Attempts to find out how the new surveillance powers created by the Patriot Act were implemented during their first year were in vain. In June 2002 the House Judiciary Committee demanded that the Department of Justice answer questions about how it was using its new authority. The Bush/Ashcroft Justice Department essentially refused to describe how it was implementing the law; it left numerous substantial questions unanswered, and classified others without justification. In short, not only has the Bush Administration undermined judicial oversight of government spying on citizens by pushing the Patriot Act into law, but it is also undermining another crucial check and balance on surveillance powers: accountability to Congress and the public. [cite to FOIA page]
Although this fact sheet focuses on the direct surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act, citizens should be aware that the act also contains a number of other provisions. The Act:
Thank you to the ACLU for taking a stand for our civil liberties!
Communications Vice President
27 Apr 2016 Leave a comment
in Virginia NOW
18 Apr 2016 Leave a comment
in Virginia NOW
We hope you’ll join us!
For equality and justice,
13 Apr 2016 1 Comment
in Virginia NOW
Equal Pay Day, commemorated on April 12th this year, represents the approximate day that women must work to in the current year to make the same amount of money men did in the previous year. In other words, the equal pay calculation means that a woman must have worked all of one year and well into the next year to be paid what men were paid in one year alone. The gender-based wage gap represents a pattern that has existed over many years and reflects multiple barriers to equal pay, including gender- and race-based pay discrimination, segregation of women into lower paying jobs and exclusion from higher-paying nontraditional jobs as well as lack of workplace policies that make it difficult for women to care for families without suffering an economic penalty.
$10,800 Less Income – The wage gap of 79 cents (rounded up from 78.6 percent) is the median earnings in 2014 (latest data available) of women full-time, year round workers as a percentage of the median earnings of men full-time, year round workers, according to the Current Population Survey, U.S. Census Bureau. The 21.4 percent gap represents nearly $10,800 in lower annual earnings for all women at the median – which accumulated over a 40 year working career is a huge loss in income.
NOW was the first women’s organization to publicize not only the traditional, all women’s Equal Pay Day, but also the dates that symbolize how much harder women of color must work to make the same as their male counterparts from the previous year. So to continue that conversation about the pay gap to include the income inequalities which exist along racial as well as gender lines, the NOW again recognizes multiple Equal Pay Days.
2016 Equal Pay Day Dates
The wage disparity in the U.S. persists not only between men and women but also varies considerably by race and this pattern has persisted over many decades. Although women (of all races) are paid $.79 for every dollar men (all races, across all occupations) are paid, the wage gaps for nearly all other major racial groups are dramatically wider. Only the Asian American women’s wage gap is smaller – but many smaller sub-groups of Asian-American women have a much larger wage gap. The wage gaps and Equal Pay Days noted below are based on calculations using 2014 median year round, full time earnings.
March 15 – Asian-American Women’s Equal Pay Day (88%)
April 12 – Traditional Equal Pay Day (79%)
August 23 – African American Women’s Equal Pay Day (63%)
September 14 – Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day (59%)
November 1 – Latina Women’s Equal Pay Day (54%)
Hashtag: #EqualPayNOW #equalpayday #equalpay
Traditional Equal Pay Day – April 12
– It’s #EqualPayDay – 79 cents is the median pay for all women compared to the $1 paid to men. #EqualPayNOW
– Think all women earn 79% of what men earn? Think again. Many #WOC earn even less. #EqualPayNOW
– As of April 12, women have been paid the same amount by working into the second year men received in the previous year alone. #EqualPayNOW
– Women are paid 79¢ for every dollar a man receives—adding up to an approx. $1,000K/yr. wage gap compared to white, non-Hispanic men. #EqualPayNOW
– The average pay gap for women across racial lines is about 79% of what men are paid. #EqualPayNOW
General Equal Pay – Use Any Time
– Disclosing salary to fellow workers: not protected by Equal Pay Act. ~50% of private companies will fire you for doing so. #EqualPayNOW
– At this rate, the U.S. wage gap will not close until 2059. #WeWontWaitFor2059 #EqualPayNOW #PaycheckFairnessAct
– The worldwide wage gap will take another 118 years to close at the current rate. #EqualPayNOW
– The Equal Pay Act passed over 50 years ago—but we still haven’t closed the wage gap. #EqualPayNOW
– Substantially equal work deserves #EqualPayNOW!
– Women are over 2 times more likely than men to work jobs with poverty wages. #EqualPayNOW
– Approx. 2/3 of minimum wage workers are women, even though they make up <1/2 of the overall workforce. #EqualPayNOW
– Help women – increase the minimum wage! bit.ly/1c1mpHu #EqualPayNOW
– This year’s high school graduates will be 61 by the time the pay gap closes. #EqualPayNOW
– The pay gap means losing up to $1mil over a 40 year career. What would you do w/ YOUR $1mil? #EqualPayNOW #IWantMyMillion
For More Information:
For more information about Equal Pay Days, example Tweets for other 2016 Equal Pay dates, some graphics to post, and more resources, see NOW’s Equal Pay Social Media Kit.
12 Apr 2016 Leave a comment
Two types of subjugation that impede the Black Woman’s Collective Identity. Social Oppression and Self-Oppression. They both happen in the context of relationships, whether it is in rapport with one-self or with another. There is an unspoken law that women are second to man. Subtle messages that say, “women are not good enough.” A […]
05 Apr 2016 Leave a comment
in Virginia NOW
The National Action Center is setting up a NOW WordPress website for members to make comments on the three strategic plans, such as:
If you are interested in running for one of the Electoral District seats on the National Board, you must notify Terry at email@example.com by April 7. She will then forward your email to the state presidents/coordinators in your district. FYI, here are the new Electoral Districts each of our states will be moving to:
On June 23, we will honor a stellar group of women with NOW’s Intrepid Awards at the NOW Gala. The Forward Feminism Conference will follow on June 24-26. You can register online at http://now.org/about/conference/register/. Room reservations at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill can be made at http://now.org/about/conference/hotel/; deadline is May 24.
Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, National NOW Board of Directors
At-Large Executive Member and President Emerita, Pennsylvania NOW, Inc.