NOW Conference #NOW14 – Day 1

Friday, June 27th
Albuquerque, NM
The annual conference of the National Association for Women is taking place at the Hyatt in downtown Albuquerque.  I’m writing this from a hotel lobby bar a block away.  And that is okay.  I needed to get away from everything NOW to reflect on what was most important for me today.  I am no newcomer to activism.  I am a newcomer to official feminism, to Roberts Rules of Order Feminism. This would probably surprise many people who know me, but I’ve never been a card carrying feminist.  I am now one.    My previous life with CODEPINK Women for Peace was Guerrilla Peace Feminism, this is more orderly.  There is a need for both approaches.
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I am concerned about the erosion of women’s rights.  This is not the future I dreamed of as a young girl.  Birth control and safe legal abortion has been available all of my life.  But I am not so historically ill-informed that I do not understand that women have only had the vote for less than a century and everything we have worked for since Seneca Falls could disappear with the success of the corporate funded fundamentalist insurgency that is waging war on women.
This conference has given me so much food for thought.  So much well researched and referenced information I can refer to as I write and read.  The contacts have been amazing.  Republican feminists… I had almost forgotten there was once a huge contingent of pro-choice Republican women.  Some of them still exist.
Here in Albuquerque the theme is diversity, and there are discussions about real global sisterhood, about indigenous feminist communities, about the need for all women to work together.  I only bristled a little at one talk, that is a pretty good record for me, and that one dealt with white privilege.  As a woman who grew up as a dirt poor farmer’s daughter, with Amish DNA, the person in my direct lineage to attend college, who needed the scholarships, grants, loans, and work study to get through college, and who worked in the pink collar ghetto of libraries and museums in spite of my graduate degree, I do not feel that I have all that much in common with white, East Coast women, who went to Ivy League or Seven Sisters institutions.
I know I have a less hard life than if I was black.  I am not judged to be poor, illiterate, or criminal when I walk in a room.  I “clean up well” and can go almost anywhere if dressed appropriately.  I get that.  But do not put me in the same group with the East Coast elite.  I share few if any cultural experiences with them.
That is it for the generalities about the conference.  Now for specifics, and I will write in more detail about many of these bits of info in other posts.
Today I was bowled over by several speakers, some conversations, and a couple random occurrences.  Congresswoman Donna Edwards was inspiring.  LaDonna Harris spoke with an authority for a far too often forgotten community of women, as well as for every woman.  Talked to Desiree Jordan, an ERA grassroots activist at lunch about the need for all of us to work together and the blinders that some women have to their privilege.
I heard a young Dreamer speak with a passion and elegance that make me think that she will be a well known women that lots of people will have to contend with in the future.
At the Global Feminism talk, I heard Zenaida Mendez and Jan Strout discuss  Feminism in the Americas and I thought of many, many ways Tucson feminists can become a more successful part of the network of women that work to create a better life for women and all of us here on planet Earth which is mainly what women who think about globalization try to do unlike men who are usually concerned with resources and economic profit when they discuss or think about globalization.
I have to admit that the talk about the ERA was extremely informative.  The only right that women are guaranteed explicitly in the USA is the right to vote.  And this chilling quote from Scalia illustrates the need for the ERA more than any other three sentences I have ever read:

Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex.  The only issue  is whether it pr0hibits it. It does not.

 

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2 Comments

  1. In my 20’s I belonged to NOW but then I got busy with my family and also felt like activism wasn’t needed anymore.
    These last two decisions by the SCOTUS have shown me that’s not true. I will be rejoining NOW to fight for equality if not for me (since I don’t personally need birth control anymore) but for my daughters-in-law, granddaughters, nieces and all women.

    1. Kay Lynn, I am a recent member myself. I decided I just HAD to do something about the stripping of rights from individuals and the ever-increasing expansion of corporate rights. I’m still emotionally exhausted from my 10 years on the front lines with CODEPINK, so I decided this group with a PAC might be the best way to channel my efforts… along with writing of course. Like you, I do this for my descendants and future generations.

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