Washtenaw NOW News #15

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Edition 15, 11/6/15

Dear Feminist Friends and Allies,

November’s Feminist Happy Hour will be held this Thursday the 12th from 7-9 PM in Bona Sera’s lower level.  This quieter environment worked very well last month for our animated discussions on topics that ranged from women in the Ohio legislature who are fighting back with proposed laws to control men’s bodies, to the challenges of raising a teenage daughter, to my exciting trip to see former NOW President Ellie Smeal inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.  Kathy Fojtik-Stroud won the drawing for the commemorative champagne glass from the Induction luncheon.

Bona Sera, for those who have not previously come to this monthly event, is located on the corner of North Washington and West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti.  It is a block from the bus stop, and there is plenty of parking nearby.  If stairs are a problem for you, an elevator is available.  However, using it requires the assistance of a staff member with a key.  So if you plan to attend and wish to use the elevator, please let me know in advance so that those arrangements can be made for you.  I hope you can join us for this friendly, informal opportunity to chat with like-minded progressive feminist women and men!

Our U of M Intern Asia Paige has drafted a “culturally competent calendar” for us!  The idea is to identify those 3 or 4 really important holiday dates that are celebrated by each of the major religions, during which NOW meetings should not be scheduled.  She has also listed secular holidays to avoid.  Please check this draft (see attachment) and let me know if we have overlooked anything.

We can now welcome a second Intern, Samantha Campbell from EMU!  Asia and Samantha (see attached photo) drafted the letter we just sent to at-large members of NOW who reside in the Washtenaw County zip codes, inviting them to choose our Chapter.  Their next project is to identify the Title IX Coordinator for each of the public school systems in Washtenaw County, as a first step toward assessing the schools level of compliance with this important legislation.

Elections are coming!  At present, all of our Washtenaw NOW Board members are volunteers.  However, under our by-laws we will form a Nominating Committee this month, submit names to the membership next month, and hold a real election for Board members for the first time ever in January!  Pratiksha Menon is our volunteer Recorder, and the Recorder chairs the Nominating Committee.  The other two members of the committee are appointed by the President, and I am in the process of doing this.  You must be a paid member of the Chapter in order to stand for election to office.  Please contact Pratiksha if you are eligible and interested!  pratikshamenon@gmail.com

We can be proud that we have now mailed over 850 signed postcards in our Eden Foods initiative!  The issue is under active discussion by the new Food Ethics Committee of the Ypsilanti Food Co-op.  I am a member of the committee, and we are currently researching how other co-ops across the country handle social justice issues like this.  Stay tuned…

I attended my first State Coordinating Committee (SCC) meeting last month.  This committee consists of the State Board members and the Presidents of each of the Michigan Chapters.  We discussed pending legislation to further control women’s bodies, which we oppose.  Ideas were proposed for the annual meeting and spring workshops.  Nina Muckenthaler, State Administrative Vice President, would love to hear from you if you have ideas for a workshop or would like to help plan the meeting.  Contact  ninamuckenthaler@yahoo.com  Also, if you have you read a good feminist book or seen a good feminist movie lately, please write a review for the next State NOW newsletter and submit it to her!   SCC members also talked about State NOW co-promoting Chapter activities planned around the celebration of Roe v Wade on January 22nd.  Our Chapter should probably begin thinking about what we would like to do on that date, which falls on a Friday next year.

Lastly, do you know a woman who would make a great elected official?  Would YOU?  We need more progressive feminists to run for office at all levels, from school board to city council to state and national office!  Check out this interesting program that helps you know how to run successfully!


Cheryl Farmer MD, President

Washtenaw NOW