Washtenaw NOW News #7

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Edition 7, 7/31/15

Dear Feminist Friends and Allies,

First a great big THANK YOU to the volunteers who made our daily presence in the non-profit section of the Art Fairs possible!!!  Kathy Fojtik-Stroud loaned us her tent last year and this, and has now donated it to our new chapter!  She also worked some shifts!  Our Vice President Georgina Hickey helped with the big jobs of set up on the first day and take down on the last, and also volunteered for shifts in-between!  The following additional volunteers did a great job staffing shifts at our Art Fair booth:  Bev Fish, Lisa Murray, Ann and Pat Rodgers, Jill Dieterle, Rebecca Kanner, Kaitlyn Witjes and Vicky Kinzler!  Our Treasurer Ann Vockel set us up with a “Square” so that we could take credit cards, and also staffed several shifts!   Our Communications Coordinator Lauren Bacans, who works at Planned Parenthood,  jumped over from staffing their booth to ours when they had more volunteers than they needed and we were short-handed!

This great team effort allowed us to meet and chat with like minded feminists and add them to our emailing list for upcoming programs.  We sold inspirational buttons, bumper stickers and T-shirts, which also allowed us to put a bit of money into our bank account for future initiatives.  Even Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell stopped by our booth!  Of course it helped that we were conveniently located across the street from the Washtenaw Democratic Party’s booth!   See our Facebook page for pictures of our booth and volunteers:  https://www.facebook.com/NOWwashco?ref=hl

A LOT of people stopped by to sign our bright orange postcards to  Mr. Potter, President and CEO of Eden Foods, asking him to continue providing birth control as part of his employees health care package.  (See text, attached)  Even though Eden Foods  ”won” their Hobby Lobby style lawsuit and is now legally able to stop providing birth control, it would say a lot about how he values his female employees if he would continue to cover birth control after their current health plan expires.

Our Communications Coordinator Lauren Bacans set us up with a Twitter account, and we sent out some “tweets” from the Art Fair this year!  If you would like to “follow” Washtenaw NOW on Twitter, the handle is:  @nowwashco

For those of you who had to miss our July Feminist Thursday event, Hummingbird Cake is a Southern delicacy that contains coconut, pineapple, walnuts, raisins and bananas with a butter cream frosting.  We celebrated becoming an official chapter with cake, and it was delicious!  Our next Feminist Thursday, a “happy hour” for feminist women and men, will be held from 7 – 9 PM on Thursday August 13th.  We will be meeting at Bona Sera restaurant on West Michigan Avenue at North Washington Street in Downtown Ypsilanti again this month.  However, as Bona Sera becomes more popular and our group gets larger, noise is becoming an issue.  So we will be looking for a new home for this event beginning in September, and welcome your suggestions as to where!

You have probably already heard that  Planned Parenthood is under attack  by those who would deny women their right to determine when and if they will have a family.  This time the attack has taken the form of a video deliberately edited to mislead and inflame.  Many women depend upon this fine organization for their health care needs.  So I asked what our Washtenaw NOW members and allies could do to help, and it turns out there are many ways!  Check this list, and try to help Planned Parenthood in the way that works best for your schedule and technology level!

  • Join us for phone banks to encourage our supporters to call Senators Stabenow and Peters. Please RSVP to Lauren Bacans at lauren.bacans@ppmchoice if you will be able to attend one of these two events.
    •  Ann Arbor, 8/4/15, 5:30pm-7:30pm
    • Lansing, 8/5/15, 5:30pm-7:30pm
  • Visit our website at www.miplannedparenthood.org and sign up for our email alerts.
  • Volunteer by emailing us at volunteer@ppmchoice.org and get connected with your regional organizer.
  • Show your support of Planned Parenthood online with a photo petition.  Take a picture of yourself in PP gear or with a handmade sign and share it on social media with the hashtags #standpwithpp and @mippadvocates.
  • Visit www.istandwithplannedparenthood.org to find more ways to get involved, including how to contact your elected officials.
  • Call Senators Peters and Stabenow to thank them for their ongoing support and asking them to Stand With Planned Parenthood and vote against S.B. 1881.
    • Sen. Gary Peters
      • Detroit Office: 313-226-6020
      • Lansing Office: 517-377-1508
    • Sen. Debbie Stabenow
      • Mid-Michigan Office: 517-203-1760
      • SE Michigan Office: 313-961-4330
      • West Michigan Office: 616-975-0052

Planned Parenthood will be greatly appreciative of any help you can offer!

Last but not least, in the fall we will begin to talk about election of officers.  All of our current officers are volunteers who agreed to assume these positions provisionally while we resurrected our local NOW chapter.  We thank them profusely for their time and effort, and I am hoping that they will be willing to stand for election!  However, now that we are an official Chapter, our by-laws  require that we put together a nominating committee in November and actually hold elections in December.  So I invite any of you who may be interested in having a more formal role in our new Chapter to contact me as to the position for which you would be interested.  The position of Recorder has never been filled, and so is open. Other positions could have more than one name on the ballot.   While anyone is invited to be an ally and a volunteer in our Chapter, in order to hold a leadership position you must be an official member.  That means you must be up to date on your dues with the National NOW office.  If you are not yet an official NOW member and wish to join, please use this link: https://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5996/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=9945&track=TXXXNWJDXB to sign up.  Then choose Ann Arbor-Wash Co NOW #MI-0030 as your Michigan Chapter!

This newsletter has gone on long enough!  There will be more info on the Eden Foods initiative and upcoming Washtenaw NOW events in the next one!  Meanwhile, please check out our Website at  www.nowwashco.org if you have not already done so!

Cheryl Farmer MD, President

Washtenaw NOW