Washtenaw NOW News #1

Washtenaw NOW News

Edition One, 2/11/2015

Dear NOW members and Feminist Friends,

I have been working  with a dedicated leadership team since last fall to resurrect the once large, relevant and active Ann Arbor NOW  chapter  as Washtenaw NOW.  Goodness knows, the need for activism on feminist issues has not diminished!   Everywhere around us there is evidence of serious backsliding from our previous gains, such as the recent erosion of reproductive choice options by our State Legislature.

Your leadership team  has met three times.  We see NOW as a well established, recognized  brand.  It is an umbrella group, embracing / unifying all of the  issues that touch women’s lives.  We want to connect  local pioneers in the women’s movement with the next generation, and provide them  with support while also providing for succession within the movement.  In this way the re-energized chapter will be both relevant and sustainable .

Our plan is for Washtenaw NOW to be ACTION oriented, taking the leadership role on some issues and    following  the lead of other  groups when they have a good action plan on issues of importance to us.  For example, we will support Planned Parenthood as they spearhead  actions on reproductive health, and support AAUW actions on pay equity.

We believe an effective local NOW chapter can improve women’s lives and help to effect important legislative changes.  Our focus for the chapter will be legislative.  State Representative Gretchen Driskell has agreed to be our liaison, so that we are aware of pending legislation in time to provide pertinent  input from our feminist perspective before it becomes law.

Becoming an official Chapter of NOW is a process.  To date we have submitted the Convenors form, contacted the State NOW President with our intentions, and  been assigned  Chapter # 0030 (the old Ann Arbor NOW Chapter number.)   By-laws and Operating Procedures have been written and passed (see attachments),  a Federal Income Tax number (EIN) obtained, a P.O Box and official checking account opened.  So as you can see,  we are very close to completing this process of becoming  “official”  again!  Once we complete this process, you will be notified of the procedure for choosing Washtenaw NOW as your local chapter.

In the meantime, your nascent chapter has participated in the Ann Arbor Art Fair and EMU Feminist Fest, circulated a petition asking Congress for a legislative remedy to the Hobby Lobby decision,  sponsored a Love your Body Day event,  begun monthly Feminist Thursdays (happy hour chats for Feminist women and men), and started a Facebook page (“like” us!).  We recently sent letters to both the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Food Co-ops asking that they stop carrying Eden Foods products in solidarity with Eden’s female employees, who lost their reproductive health benefits after the Hobby Lobby decision.   Our  March event will dissect the topic of “Why Poverty has Female Face.”  Stay tuned for details on time and place.

We want your ideas for future events!  Here are some suggestions we have received.

  • politics and  reproductive justice – why your vote matters
  • real life challenges that women have faced and overcome
  • implications of the Hobby Lobby decision.
  • rape as a women’s issue AND  a men’s issue:   Role playing responses to potential rape situations
  • the need for respectful language and behavior for gender allies
  • the sex trade in the U.S. and around the world

Send us your thoughts on future programs!

More good news, one of the Women’s Studies Program classes at the U of M Dearborn is working with us to establish “best practices” for a NOW Chapter.   This study has the potential to benefit not only our Chapter, but the entire statewide NOW organization!

Our next Feminist Thursday event  will be held tomorrow evening from 7-9 PM at Bona Sera Restaurant in Downtown Ypsilanti.  Located on the NW corner of West Michigan Ave and North Washington Street,  there is ample parking on the street and in the lot in the first block of North Huron.  The AATA bus stop is a block away at North Washington Street and Pearl.  I practically live Downtown, so I will be walking over!   Hope to see you there!

Your Leadership Team,

Cheryl Farmer MD, Convenor/acting President

Anna Vockel, acting Treasurer

Dr. Georgina Hickey, acting Communications Coordinator

Dr. Jacqueline Goodman

State Representative Gretchen Driskell

Mandy Grewal, Pittsfield Township Supervisor

Beverly Fish, former President of Ann Arbor NOW