What is Empowerment?

By Lauriane Lebrun Empowerment.  From “empower” (em-pou-er). “1) To give power or authority to; authorize, especially by legal or official means. 2) To enable or permit.” I have been thinking about this word a lot.  As one will find in the design plans for the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, “empowerment” is set to be the memorial theme.  […]


Social Media and Issues Survey


Since we’re gathering this weekend, we thought we’d use this moment to ask you:

How do you want to engage with us? What issues are most important to you? What do you think about our social media strategies?

This survey takes about 5 minutes to fill out. Please, let us know what you’re thinking!

BIG!, HUGE!, ERA News Coming this Week

UpDate: Take backsies! The Big Huge ERA News is NOT NOT NOT Coming. Postponed. Indefinitely. Watch this space.

BIG!, HUGE!, ERA News Coming this Week.

Hop over the Virginia ERA Network Blog: Pay close attention to your feminist news feeds and sources on Wednesday, around 12:30 pm EDT or so. Maybe tune in to C-Span or MSNBC. You might have to hunt around. It is the ERA after all, and the mainstream press is not hot on that particular trail.

Hey, We’re Throwing a Great Conference and You Should Come!

Richmond NOW and Virginia NOW

are pleased, thrilled, excited, and delighted 

to invite you to our young feminists conference.

April 10-12, 2015

Richmond, Virginia


on Facebook and Twitter

10959943 10153581047388765 3754288771000252733 o 

Conference Registration, Saturday Meal Pre-Order, Get Our Newsletters

(*) Guests may also register at the door.
Cash or check only, in that case.

To Reserve a Hotel Room, Visit the Conference Page Here.

Room and Ride Share

Guests may arrange to share rooms and rides to Richmond on our Facebook event page.
Please watch the event page closely for these requests! Please be sure to protect your privacy.
Use the Private Message feature to exchange information.

For a Printable Agenda, Click Here.

Also, a complete description of the conference.

– See more at: http://www.vanow.org/join/2015-conference

The 1st Woman President Needs Equal Rights!!!

Dear Virginia,

Happy ERA Monday, and Happy Presidents Day!! It’s a double day, and I have a double request of you.

First: Del. Mark Cole holds an open house at his office tomorrow, Feb. 17. Activists will be present as the weather allows,
but snow can’t stop email, or phone calls!!!

Click here for a post with a great email for Chair Cole and his contact information. Tell him the ERA MUST BE PUT ON THE DOCKET and moved into the full Privileges and Elections Committee.

Please, send the same email to Speaker Howell.

This committee is heavily resistant. We must push hard this week! On the same post, you can contact the whole committee.

When pressed, their objections tend to crumble down to traditional and fundamentalist forms of sexism. Show them that’s the only reason they could refuse us our rights.

Feel some tweetage coming on? Yeah, me too.

To tweet the House: @VaHouse.
To tweet the House GOP: @vahousegop.
To tweet the Hosue Dems: @VAHouseDems.

1st Woman #POTUS deserves full #civilrights, #RatifyERA, SJ 216 on the P&E docket!!

(*)   (*)   (*)

Second, in honor of Presidents Day, I ask you for one more action.

The fundamental political difference between the first woman president and all the men before her is that she might not enjoy fully protected civil rights under the Constitution she will swear to defend and protect.

Clinton? Warren? … Clinton/Warren?
Warren/Clinton? President Seal
Who knows.

This week, let’s focus on the Senate.

Send them this email:
Email Page for Senator Warner
Email Page for Senator Kaine
Subject: Please Support Women’s Civil Rights, Lift the Deadline on Ratification

Dear Honorable Senator _______,

You serve with women who swear to protect and defend the Constitution, but are not fully protected by it. Our nation’s daughters have long risked their lives in our wars, but are not yet fully protected by that Constitution.

On this Presidents Day, consider: our next president could well be a woman — who still may not be fully invested with the civil rights enshrined in our laws.

This is an inconsistency that should not stand for one more year. This March when Senator Cardin offers a new resolution, please sign on to support it and then encourage your colleagues to do so — especially friendlier Republicans. Cardin aims for vigorous bi-partisan support.

Ratification of Equal Rights Amendment would accomplish one civil goal: it would mend the patchwork of laws that currently tack together the rag doll of women’s citizenship.

I urge you to join which would remove the historically aberrant and wholly arbitrary deadline on ratification.

Justices Scalia and Ginsberg agree on one thing: the 14th Amendment clearly applies only to “male citizens” and “male inhabitants” of the Republic. What “rights” women do have are only supported by laws and statutes — all of which can change given a hostile political wind.

Our nation’s women are caught in a stalemate. States wait for a signal from Congress, Congress for a signal from the states. Be first, lead, honor the nation’s women with fully established civil rights. Assure us that a future female president will not be so civilly vulneralby as women are today. Send the signal — it’s time for ratification. Lift the deadline.

Let the Constitution protect and defend our women as our women do the Constitution.

With my lasting gratitude for your service to our state and the nation,
Your Name
City, State

You’re Invited to Women’s Lobby Day, Feb. 4.

Wednesday, February 4, is Women’s Lobby Day at the Virginia General Assembly in Richmond. Let’s show our strength and numbers by being there and speaking up.

What happens Wednesday? You can get an up-close look at the legislative process. Go to committee meetings, visit your elected representatives and other decision-makers, and see the House and Senate chambers. Join a terrific group of women for lunch (or have lunch on your own) and then visit the lieutenant governor’s office, arranged by the League of Women Voters.

The day starts at 8:30 am at the League of Women Voters Legislative Roundtable, 4th Floor at the General Assembly Building at 9th and Broad Streets. Legislators and advocates will address the roundtable on a variety of issues.

Please take a moment to be sure you have your delegate’s and senator’s contact information, which is here (type your address in the right corner). Please contact me if you have questions.

Important bills that Virginia NOW supports this session include:

The Equal Rights Amendment

Reporting Sexual Assault on Campuses

Repeal of Mandatory Ultrasound Prior to an Abortion

Legally Allowing Breast-feeding in Public Places

Removing Firearms From Domestic Abusers

Non-Partisan Redistricting

Expanded Definition of Stalking

Thank you for reading this and for all you do every day for equality. Looking forward to seeing you Wednesday.

Marj Signer, VA NOW Legislative V-P

Session opens this week: Turn The VOLUME UP!!!

“It isn’t over. There is much more to do.”
Alice Paul’s last words 

This past Sunday was Alice Paul’s 130th Birthday.  Rights are never given, they are claimed and

When Alice Paul first introduced the ERA, this was the most popular phone in the US.

taken. Our foremothers worked for over 70 years for suffrage, and we are part of this great tradition of courage and grit. It’s in their spirit and honor that I ask you to turn that volume all the way up!

First, I ask you again to reach out to the Privileges and Elections Committee in Virginia to insist that they bring the ERA through to the floor of the House of Delegates for a public and proud vote! (Click here for that guide.) It’s vital that we keep the heat on these legislators in particular.

Let’s get the ERA to the Floor!!

But, we still need that roaring crowd cheering for the ERA to the ears of all our state senators and delegates. On the Contact Congress & General Assembly page of our blog, I have updated the contact information for the 2015 session members at both the state and federal level.

Second, please contact the members of Congress and ask them to support removing the ratification deadline on the Equal Rights Amendment by supporting H.J. Res. 43 (House) and S.J. Res.15 (Senate). Suggest they encourage deadline removal to colleagues in their caucus, across the aisle, and in the other house. (See Media & Messaging for more detail.)

Third, let’s continue to email / Facebook / tweet / call our state level representatives.They equate volume and consistency of contact with voter interest and urgency. So, let’s create that sense of urgency for them.
Here’s a list of some representatives we have not yet contacted. The whole kit is over on the blog. Click on their names, and you can access their websites, which gets you to all their social media. If you have the time, I invite you to go beyond this list, and start repeating contacts. Feel free to rinse and repeat as often as you like. As I say — roar of the crowd!

What to Say:
(adapt to representative’s house, embellish at will)
Dear Honorable (Senator / Delegate) ___________,
I urge you to support ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in this session of the General Assembly. Your colleague, (Sen. Ebbin / Del. Surovell), is sponosoring (SJ 216 / HJ 495), and I encourage you to support and vote for this bill. Both you and the Commonwealth of Virginia deserve to stand proudly in affirmation of the constitutional equality of women.
With my thanks for your service,
Your Name
Your Address

 Delegates to email: 

Rust, Thomas Davis                DelTRust@house.virginia.gov
Scott, Edward T.                    DelEScott@house.virginia.gov
Sickles, Mark D.                     DelMSickles@house.virginia.gov
Simon, Marcus B.                   DelMSimon@house.virginia.gov
Spruill, Lionell, Sr.                  DelLSpruill@house.virginia.gov
Stolle, Christopher P.              DelCStolle@house.virginia.gov
Sullivan, Richard C. (Rip), Jr   DelRSullivan@house.virginia.gov
Surovell, Scott A.                   DelSSurovell@house.virginia.gov
Taylor, Scott W.                     DelSTaylor@house.virginia.gov
Torian, Luke E.                     DelLTorian@house.virginia.gov
Toscano, David J.                  DelDToscano@house.virginia.gov
Tyler, Roslyn C.                    DelRTyler@house.virginia.gov
Villanueva, Ronald A.            DelRVillanueva@house.virginia.gov
Ward, Jeion A.                     DelJWard@house.virginia.gov
Ware, R. Lee, Jr.                  DelLWare@house.virginia.gov
Watts, Vivian E.                   DelVWatts@house.virginia.gov
Webert, Michael J.                DelMWebert@house.virginia.gov
Wilt, Tony O.                        DelTWilt@house.virginia.gov
Wright, Thomas C., Jr.          DelTWright@house.virginia.gov
Yancey, David E.                  DelDYancey@house.virginia.gov
Yost, Joseph R.                    DelJYost@house.virginia.gov 

Senators to email:
Saslaw, Richard L. district35@senate.virginia.gov D 35
Smith, Ralph K. district19@senate.virginia.gov R 19
Stanley, William M., Jr. district20@senate.virginia.gov R 20
Stosch, Walter A. district12@senate.virginia.gov R 12
Stuart, Richard H. district28@senate.virginia.gov R 28
Vogel, Jill Holtzman district27@senate.virginia.gov R 27
Wagner, Frank W. district07@senate.virginia.gov R 7
Watkins, John C. district10@senate.virginia.gov R 10
Wexton, Jennifer T. district33@senate.virginia.gov D 33
I cannot thank you enough for your work. I know how tight time is for all of us. You have my greatest admiration.

We’re the background noise, but we need to be consistent. Members of the Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition will be in Richmond consistently over the session. Advocates from VA NOW and Women Matter will be especially focused on the ERA, and will be making personal contact with legislators and their staff daily. Our efforts will go a long way to supporting their presence.
Again, my thanks to Richmond Sunlight for your amazing work! I could not do this without you!

For Women!
Simone Roberts
Web Editor/Historian/ERA Coordinator   
Virginia NOW
Virginia ERA Network

Push START on ERA in the Commonwealth

Push START on ERA in the Commonwealth.

Yes, I’m going to ask you for more during this holiday season. Your time, not your money.

Our legislative session is very short in 2015, and its coming soon. We must try to move the ERA to floor of the House of Delegates for a public vote.

The bill to ratify the ERA is buried in the Governance Committee where Delegates can vote not to bring it to the floor, but not suffer the consequences of that vote. Committee votes don’t get recorded

Through December and the session in Jan-Feb, I will send CC emails giving you the following:

  • Names, emails, Facebook pages, Twitters, and phone numbers for relevant federal and state representatives;
  • Suggested talking points/messages/tweets for your interactions;
  • Links and hashtags and all that jazz to help you get yourself and others connected to these efforts.
Our goal is to contact EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of the recalcitrant House of Delegates and US House of Representatives to demand ratification. In VA, to being the bill to the floor and vote in public. In Congress, to lift the arbitrary ratification deadline.

You’ll get a handful of names every week. Contact as many as you have time for — ideally 5 or 6. They will be from all districts. Members must hear from all Virginians — not just from their carefully drawn districts of like-minded voters — because this is a national issue. Members of our coalition partners will making contact as well — it will not be just us out there.

This “hear from all” approach is not conventional, I know.
But convention is obviously not working for us.

We need their attention and action. Business as usual simply has not and will get women into the Constitution. We’re feminists. We go way beyond convention, and we will do so now.

To join this action in VA, and get updates about work in other states too,please choose one of the sign-up options at the left. Both of those will get you the same updates, so just choose one. Emails/updates will come regularly.

I don’t want to bother all our contacts, every week, for the next few months. I know not all of you are interested in ratifying the ERA.

Lots of other issues also need work, and VA NOW wants to respect your interests and your time.

Just note that for the next few weeks, I will send these emails to most of our lists. They will all have the subject line “ERA Campaign.” I’m only doing that to give as many as possible the chance to catch one of these emails and sign-up for the dedicated list or blog updates.

I wish you and yours health, happiness, and equality in the new year!

Constant Contact
Sign-up Here
Click the ERA Only button to join the list dedicated
to ratification.
(You know, if you want more CC emails.)

Follow this blog, or
sign-up for its email updates.
(Because, you get enough CC emails.)
For Women!
Simone Roberts, Historian/ERA Coordinator

#YesAllWomen: Responses to violent masculinity and rape culture

My last two posts for VaNOW have been of a series on #BringBackOurGirls. It’s not a coincidence that at about the same time the webisphere started the conversation #YesAllWomen. The problem of “religious” extremists going to the lengths of enslavement and murder to prevent Girls from becoming educated women, and the problem of the constant and ubiquitous threats of intimate and sexual violence against women in the West are just two peas in a pod.

Related hashtags: #YesAllWhiteWomen, #NotAllMen, #NotOneMore, #YesAllWomen #NotAllMen (a double #) :– these are complicated conversations.*

Both of these daily kinds of violence create a world where masculinity is defined in part (even largely) by access to women bodies and control over women’s lives and permission to do great violence to achieve either one. That’s called Patriarchy. And terrible as it is, the webisphere and these heinous situations, most recently noticed in California, the history and theory that feminists have collected, studied, made for the last several decades is now becoming regular public conversation:– in this we have every reason for great hope and continued persistent work.

My social media has been on fire with posts on these instances of the problem. Some of them are so good, and so useful, that I want to be sure you have them all in one place. They are like a lesson plan for people who still don’t get it, and a reminder for us that good feminist work is being done everywhere.

From The Good Men Project, a father’s reflection on who Girls are taught from childhood to accept male violence (click).

Over on Tumblr, VampMissEdith, offered a memory about a boy who wanted to date her little sister, both in 8th grade, who brought a handgun to school to shoot her for not saying yes (click).

Just pause and remember that in the 1990s, in Jonesboro AR, a boy in 4th grade took a rifle to school and committed a mass shooting. It was underreported at the time, but his reason for doing it was that the Girl he had crush on would not be his girlfriend.

UpWorthy has reblogged this vlog on sex and relationship education (and excellent source if you live in an abstinence state) SEX +. Here Laci Green reminds us that 70 of the last 71 mass shootings have been committed by white males who felt owed (sex, a promotion, good marks on their dissertation, whatever) and turned their dissatisfaction outward (click).

At The Nation, the marvelous Jessica Valenti has written a long piece on global male violence and its toll on women everywhere. It is one of the most concise and rock solid articles I’ve seen in the popular press on this issue in a long time. “A Rape A Minute, a Thousand Corpses a Year” (click). — I thank The Nation for their recent focus on rape culture. They are taking this problem very seriously indeed.

In the 1980s, a physics student rejected by his preferred graduate program, rounded up the women in the program, complained that it was their fault that he did not get into grad school just because he was a man, and killed all 12 women.

Men have been killing women for being women forever. We are, at last, in a position to push the hard cultural and psychological work of changing the dynamics that make this fact terrible, but not at all surprising.

Men, you need to remember a bit of wisdom we were given by Maya Angelou, may she rest in the bosom of her God.

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anyone.” #MayaAngelou.

Patriarchy convinces you that you are not enough. You are never king-enough, alpha-enough, strong-enough, sexed-enough. This is how it controls you. And some of you get tired and angry, and some of you are pathological narcissists like the shooter at UCSB in Isla Vista, and you shoot lots of people — often women — to get even.

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anyone.”

Women, Girls, Men, Boys:– let us make this a mantra of the new world.

#YesAllWomen are suspicious of every man they meet, because a few of you are very, very dangerous indeed. As @ashedryden put it: “Imagine a bowl of M&Ms. Imagine 10% of are poision.” How would you deal with M&Ms???

You can get used to it, or you can help us change it.

*These links were shared by: Margaret Howard  her organization and Carrie Tilton-Jones. Thanks for your good eyes!
*Sorry the hashtags are not linked. I am hvaing a bad technology day where some Andriod apps make it really damn hard to create/share links. These tags are all active on Twitter right now. Easy to find.

Carry on,
Simone Roberts
Web Editor/Historian

VA NOW PAC Backs The Best Candidate for Women – Creigh Deeds

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds has won the endorsement of the Virginia NOW PAC – the political arm of the Virginia chapter of the National Organization for Women – because his experience and views are superior to those of his opponent on key issues of concern to mainstream, socially aware women.


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