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“The Hill We Climb”

January 21, 2021

At 22, Amanda Gorman is a Harvard graduate, our U.S. Youth Poet Laureate, 2021 Inaugural Poet Laureate, and published author. It’s difficult to imagine not realizing that many young women in their 20s and 30s are similarly gifted and qualified to contribute to the world. One online biography describes her work as focusing on issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization, as well as the African diaspora. She is a Los Angeles native. She has published a book of poetry “The One for Whom Food Is Not Enough.” She read her poem, “The Hill We Climb:” at the 2021 Inauguration of Joe Biden. 

We are not alone in our excitement over Amanda. President Biden’s new Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted, “As a human and  American I have a massive girl crush on Amanda Gorman.” 

 

The Hill We Climb

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promise to glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it

No Crystal Ball But Let’s Stay On This

January 20, 2021

You’d never know from watching the events of Wednesday’s Inauguration that two weeks ago, a mob attempting to locate and physically harm Vice President Mike Pence — at the direction of then-President Donald Trump — attacked our U.S. Capitol building. Or that within six hours hundreds of Republicans would still refuse to vote to accept the results of the 2020 Election.

Everyone said all the right things and few commentators even mentioned the fact that 25,000 National Guard troops and miles of razor wire were protecting this “peaceful” transfer of power.

The bottom line – short and sweet – is that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” That means no one gets very much time off from the tension and trauma of the past 4 months or 4 years. We have a Supreme Court that is actually in step with the 1920s, paper-thin margins for our issues in the House and Senate, and a mountain of work to do. And the 2022 election cycle is taking shape – both across the country and here in Maryland.

Maryland NOW plans to be a part of it all and we hope you’ll be an active part of Maryland NOW, If you’re not a member please sign up to subscribe to our mailing list (click on “subscribe” on our homepage), and if you are a member please make sure we have your email address. Get in touch with a chapter near where you live (there’s a link to a list of our chapters on the homepage). If you’d like to work with the state on a committee or project, please let us know.

Maryland NOW Executive Committee Statement

January 13, 2021

2021 – The Year So Far……

12 January 2021

The last four years have been a very overwhelming time for all of us. The anxiety, fear, and dread at turning on the news, and now sheer terror with hundreds – now thousands – of people in this country dying every day in a pandemic, it has all seemed never-ending. In his presidency, Trump created an overt atmosphere of white privilege and white power that was somehow under some kind of threat from the climate of change that was quietly enveloping our country. These divisions were visible from the halls of Congress to Main Street, USA.

Almost immediately in his presidency, Trump instituted a ban on immigration, first from predominately Muslim countries, and then for people from countries in this hemisphere fleeing violence from their own governments to come here, where they were confronted with incredibly inhumane treatment. His actions were condemned internationally, from the United Nations on down. He supported white power groups – in Charlottesville and through countless instances of abuses of police power across the country – and, in the end, unleashed a mob of white supremacists to invade and take over the U.S. Capitol building this past week in an attempt to prevent a Constitutionally-mandated procedure from taking place that would have affirmed the 2020 national election naming someone else as President. The terrifying part of this is the extent to which white nationalists and supremacists appear to have infiltrated all levels of law enforcement which compromises everyone’s safety.

The climate of change quietly enveloping our country? It didn’t start with the 2020 elections.  Maryland NOW and other groups here supported a black minister and a young Jewish man to become U.S. Senators. And from a state – Georgia – that hadn’t elected anyone from either group in centuries, if ever.  But in 2018, leaders of progressive change in Washington became a “squad” of young women of color – first-generation Americans – who had a very different vision for the future of this country. Ignored by mainstream Democrats, they became a voice moving the political discourse to the left in breathtaking fashion.

The U.S. Capitol building stands for many as a shrine to our representative democracy. Many of us felt fear and rage at the scenes of the violent attacks there on Wednesday, January 6. President-elect Joe Biden will not be sworn in as the 46th President of the U.S. until January 20th and our news feeds are already full of rumblings from these right-wing white supremacist groups that they are “not done” attacking our institutions of government both figuratively and literally. Still, film from various sources of the insurgent attack suggests that it was far more serious and violent than was initially apparent.

Meanwhile, we are heading into at least two months of skyrocketing deaths from COVID and here in Maryland we only this past week got our governor to allocate funds for struggling families.  Maryland NOW can make only tentative plans for the year with this huge unknown of the disease’s progression looming.

Harder to address and change will be the systemic racism in our country and the roots of the various cults and white power groups who have made it known that – Trump’s election loss (or not) aside – they are not going either quietly or anywhere in the coming years.  They have already announced that there is more to come from what we watched in horror on January 6th.

Interest in working for women’s rights, coming to us through email and our website, is growing. We are now able to reorganize several chapters we haven’t had as active for several years. New members are bringing us skills and ideas for growth for which we are very grateful. But there is lots to do. We welcome everyone and want to let you all know your participation means everything to our success.

 

The Maryland NOW Executive Committee

Sandy Bell, President
Barbara Hays, Executive Vice-President
Jerry Blum, Treasurer

 

Maryland NOW Donates to Fair Fight’s Work in Georgia’s 2020 Special Senate Election

December 30, 2020

Fair Fight works to promote fair elections. It’s that simple. Their work involves engaging voters and building GOTV efforts, educating them about their voting rights, and working with voters to support election reform.

Georgia’s voter maps have been showing quiet signs for several election cycles of new emerging Democratic majorities in the major cities in the state. At the same time, the state’s Republican establishment continued with “business as usual” running elections that were textbook examples of corruption, mismanagement, and above all, instance after instance of voter suppression. It became clear, especially to Stacey Abrams, that the only way to win elections in the state was to educate and mobilize voters. And that, in a nutshell, is what Fair Fight is all about.

From a legal perspective, Fair Fight is a “PAC with a Non-Contribution Account” which is also known as a Hybrid PAC. Fair Fight can accept contributions from individuals, corporations, labor organizations, and other political committees which are deposited into a segregated bank account for the purpose of funding – among other things – independent expenditure campaigns and generic voter drives pertaining to federal election candidates. One reason why Maryland NOW chose to contribute to Fair Fight was their focus, not on a particular candidate, but on working to counter voter suppression efforts so rampant in the state.

The stakes in the Special Run-Off Senate Election on January 5 couldn’t be higher. We say that a lot, but in this case it’s really literally true. The balance of power in the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance. If we lose even one of these seats, it’s at least two more years of Mitch McConnell with stalled efforts to overturn the chaos of the Trump Administration. For starters, they’ve already begun work to oppose Biden’s nominations for his administration’s cabinet positions. Or, with a 50-50 tie, the Democrats control the Senate with Vice President Harris on hand to break any tie necessary.

Experts have commented on the fact that it is notoriously difficult to get Georgia voters to return to the polls two months following a general election. Biden did not carry the state by a very substantial majority in November, and many voters who voted for him clearly did not vote Democratic in down-ballot races. This, specifically, is why Maryland NOW’s contribution to Fair Fight is so important. Getting out the vote is the whole story here and this is what Fair Fight is uniquely positioned to do.

Early voting is very high and of particular importance late in the campaign is the Republican Senate’s refusal to consider the Democratic bill from the U.S. House to create a $2,000 payment to people struggling with the economic effects of the pandemic. This will undoubtedly be an important late issue in this campaign.

Please consider your own contribution to Fair Fight – click here to go to Fair Fight’s “Donate Page.” 

Who Is This Woman Who is Rewriting the Republican South?

December 12, 2020

A feminist agenda for the new Senate means equality for all

November 1, 2020

If women voters propel a blue wave that puts Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) in the White House, and flips party control of the Senate, the nation’s issue agenda will shift dramatically. The Senate that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) turned into a legislative graveyard could be reborn as a proactive chamber that stands for equality and justice for all.

Our country’s ingrained culture of structural racism and misogynoir has set women of color and low-income communities up for hardships concerning access to health care, economic opportunities and violence at an early age. Women and specifically women of color are tired of waiting for equal pay and economic justice.

One of the factors driving women — particularly women of color — to the polls is the glaring inequity that perpetuates discrimination, violence against women and threats to women’s choice and autonomy. We are voting not only for new leaders but also for a new way of leading. This direction is feminist, intersectional, and long overdue.

A feminist agenda is based on feminist principles — including standing against racial injustice, toxic masculinity, misogynoir (anti-Black sexism faced by Black women), anti-womanhood and policies, laws and campaigns that weaken or erase women’s rights. It’s a way of seeing the world and feeling compelled to act.

Violence against women should be treated as a public safety and public health crisis that impacts schools, the workplace, and our families. And every woman and girl should have the same access to protect and make decisions about their bodies.

Women have too much on the line this election and we will be the deciding vote. We are demanding a feminist agenda would prioritize policies that protect women and marginalized groups under the law. We know that many voters are energized by our core principles of autonomy, justice and equality.

One of a woman’s most basic rights is the right to make autonomous decisions about her own body and her health care. A newly supercharged conservative majority on the Supreme Court in place to overturn Roe v. Wade threatens that right. Protecting abortion rights and access to a wide range of affordable reproductive health care services must be a top priority for the new Senate.

The Senate’s failure to improve and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is one of McConnell’s darkest legacies. He continues to propel a culture of toxic masculinity by supporting legislation favored by the NRA that protects the “boyfriend loophole,” allowing access to guns by physically abusive ex-boyfriends and stalkers with previous convictions.

The EMPOWER Act to stop workplace harassment and discrimination and the SAFE Act to help survivors of domestic and sexual violence continue to sit in the Senate graveyard once again, proving that this Senate wants to maintain the status quo — a culture that disregards women and treats them as second-class citizens. New legislators must promote policies and services that stop this culture of violence, hold perpetrators accountable and bring justice to survivors.

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) corrects an error in the Constitution that fails to guarantee the same rights for citizens irrespective of sex. The next Senate will have to deal with the issue of validating the process that currently came to a successful conclusion when Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the amendment.

This historic amendment not only provides equality for all women under law but also helps proactively fight the injustices often felt by women of color. The Senate’s disregard for equality does not stop there. The Equality Act, which would strengthen anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQIA+ persons in all areas of life, sits on the Senate floor even though the Supreme Court affirmed employment protections for LGBTQIA+ people under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

If elections are said to have consequences, this one has more than most and women have the most at stake. If we want women’s rights protected, candidates must listen to what voters want. We have less than two weeks to mobilize our efforts to protect women’s rights and change the makeup of the U.S. Senate. We won’t stop until our representatives truly reflect our values and prioritize a feminist agenda. After all, women’s lives depend on it.

Christian F. Nunes is president of the National Organization for Women (NOW).

This article appeared in The Hill, October 30, 2020.

 

Why the Republicans Packed the Court

October 29, 2020

Heather Cox Richardson’s column from October 26 from her blog, “Letters From An American,” about the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett as an Associate Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court addresses several aspects we must think about as the horrific election cycle draws to a close. Maryland NOW urges our members to vote, but to realize that November 3 is just the beginning of much work we have to do to rebuild our democracy. The Supreme Court, along with our entire Federal judiciary, will take center stage, but is just one piece of what’s before us.

Letters from an American

October 26, 2020

Tonight, the Senate confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States to take the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The vote was 52 to 48, with no Democrats voting to confirm Barrett. One Republican, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, voted against the confirmation, saying it is too close to an election to fill the seat. Collins is in a tight reelection race against Democrat Sara Gideon, and since Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not need Collins’s vote, she could vote no on procedural grounds and hope to push fewer voters to Gideon.

Barrett is an originalist, and will cement a 6-3 majority of justices eager to unwind the judicial decisions of the past seventy years that protect civil rights, business regulation, and a social safety net. Today is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s birthday, and as soon as the vote went through, the Twitter account for the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee tweeted: “Amy Coney Barrett, confirmed. Happy Birthday, [Hillary Clinton]!”

McConnell promptly adjourned the Senate until November 9 without taking up a coronavirus relief bill.

An hour later, Trump held a public ceremony for Barrett at the White House, in an echo of the coronavirus super spreader event on September 26 at which he announced her nomination. The ceremony seemed designed to demonstrate that he rejects scientific recommendations about the virus. Barrett took the constitutional oath, administered by Justice Clarence Thomas, on the South Lawn of the White House. (Chief Justice John Roberts will administer the second oath she must take, the judicial oath, on Tuesday in a private ceremony at the court.) Trump congratulated her in a short speech.

Shortly after the ceremony, Trump released a video of the event with Barrett walking alongside him through the doors of the White House onto a balcony where the two stood for the crowd. It was a triumphant demonstration of Trump’s power, and undermined the illusion that Barrett will be a nonpartisan judge. Traditionally in America, Supreme Court justices keep a distance from political leaders, yet she has just appeared in a campaign commercial for the president.

The significance of Barrett’s elevation to the court showed just minutes before the Senate confirmed her, when the Supreme Court ruled 5-3 for Wisconsin Republicans who want to block the counting of votes postmarked before Election Day but received up to six days after it. Democrats and civil rights groups wanted the extension because of the pandemic. For this year’s primary in Wisconsin, 80,000 ballots postmarked in time arrived after the election were counted; for the election, such late ballots will be rejected. The court’s decision follows originalist ideology: it says states get to run elections however its legislators wish. That principle trumps the right to vote.

That seemingly principled stand in favor of local democracy hides the reality of one-party rule. Wisconsin has been so thoroughly gerrymandered that although Democrats actually won a majority in state elections in 2018, Republicans hold 63 of the 99 seats in the legislature. It is virtually impossible for Democrats to win control of the state and thus the Republican legislature will get to decide who votes. We have seen such political dominance before… just ask any Black or Brown American.

In a footnote, Justice Kavanaugh went further to argue that states need to avoid “the chaos and suspicions of impropriety that can ensue if thousands of absentee ballots flow in after election day and potentially flip the results of the election. And those States also want to be able to definitely announce the results of the election on election night, or as soon as possible thereafter.” This is the argument Trump has been making to delegitimize mail-in ballots, and it is political, not judicial. Absentee ballots do not “flip” an election; they are a legitimate part of an election that cannot be decided until they are counted. And the idea of calling an election on the night it is held is a tic of the media. In fact, no state certifies its election results the day of the election. Some take weeks.

So what we have tonight is the Republican Party under Trump ramming through a third Supreme Court justice who is far out of sync with the vast majority of the American people, an authoritarian ceremony for an election ad, and a sign that partisans are working to steal the upcoming election.

This is not a sign of strength—it is a sign of weakness. Trump’s Republicans have gotten a reliable majority on the Supreme Court—for now—but they have delegitimized the Senate and the Supreme Court. It is the desperate act of a party that is so far out of favor with the American people it has given up winning elections fairly and is resorting to the tactics of strongmen. That McConnell pushed this confirmation through right before the election, rather than holding the seat open to fire up evangelicals as he did in 2016, suggests he thinks that even evangelicals cannot save the White House this time around.

The administration is sinking in bad news. It has given up on combatting the coronavirus, which infected 74,323 more Americans today and killed at least 534. Reflecting that the rising infection numbers mean a slower economic recovery, the stock market today had its biggest drop in a month. Financiers are so tired of Trump’s volatility, including his tweets, that they are pouring five times more money behind Biden. Meanwhile, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who admitted the coronavirus policy on Sunday, is so hated that 18 administration officials talked to Josh Dawsey of the Washington Post about him; one White House advisor said “It’s hard to count the ways Meadows has failed as a chief of staff…. It’s been an unmitigated disaster.”

A Trump appointee who chaired the Federal Salary Council overseeing federal pay resigned today in protest over Trump’s recent Executive Order enabling him to fire key federal workers. “[T]he Executive Order is nothing more than a smokescreen for what is clearly an attempt to require the political loyalty of those who advise the President, or failing that, to enable their removal with little if any due process,” Ron Sanders wrote, “As a matter of conscience, I can no longer serve him or his administration.”

And staffers at the Department of Health and Human Services are openly looking for other jobs. Three of them told Politico’s Dan Diamond that they are voting for Joe Biden. “I’ve never voted for a Democrat for president, but Biden hit the sweet spot. I know he’s not too far left and he understands how to make government work,” one said. “And I know he’ll never make fun of [Anthony] Fauci in public.”

Biden’s campaign, run quietly and steadily, has picked up steam until he is ahead in the polls by about 9 or 10 points nationally, and there is no sign that Trump is closing that gap. Clearly, the president had hoped the malarkey about the Hunter Biden laptop story—which we learned today White House lawyers tried to pitch to the Wall Street Journal before Rudy Giuliani took it to the New York Post— would create the same stampede from Biden that the email laptop story caused from Clinton in 2016, but that stampede has not materialized.

On Sunday, nine days before the election, about 58.6 million Americans had already voted early, more than the total number who voted early or by mail in 2016. Registered Democrats have made up 51% of those votes, while registered Republicans have made up 31%, leading Trump officials to attack the legitimacy of mail-in ballots and to insist that “the huge majority of President Trump’s supporters” were planning to vote on Election Day. But Black Americans, the heart of the Democratic Party, are turning out in huge numbers. “This election is for saving the U.S.” business consultant Dave Richards told CNN’s Faith Karimi.

People like Biden. They think he’s a decent man, who cares about someone other than himself. He has plenty of that old word, fallen into disuse in the last four years: character. He has principles, honor, a work ethic, and he treats people with respect—attributes we should demand in our officials. He has provided detailed plans about how he would address the country’s problems: systemic racism, economic inequality, and coronavirus, among others. At the same time, he offers a positive vision of America, a welcome contrast to Trump’s dark vision of American carnage. Biden constantly repeats that there is nothing Americans can’t do if we do it together.

And that, right there, is why the Republicans needed to pack the Supreme Court.

Heather Cox Richardson

 

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1933 – 2020

September 19, 2020

Maryland NOW members experienced a range of emotions Friday evening upon hearing the news that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died at age 87 from complications with pancreatic cancer — grief, sadness, immense pride, and outrage. . Her impact on women’s rights and social justice issues through her majority opinions and dissents will be felt for generations.

It would be difficult to be online today, or at any time in the future, and not find articles everywhere describing her life and accomplishments. Perhaps most importantly, she worked to establish a different interpretation of gender equality for all women rather than simply establishing case law involving individual instances of discrimination.

In 1971 Ginsburg wrote the brief for the landmark case, Reed v. Reed. This case was the very first time that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was used to prohibit differential treatment based on sex. She cited as co-authors Pauli Murray and Dorothy Kenyon, giving them credit even though they did not actually help, but because she wanted to acknowledge the debt she owed them for their feminist arguments that had created a basis for her brief. (1)

She argued her first case before the Supreme Court in 1973, and thirty years later was confirmed as the second woman in our history to be named as a Justice to the Court.

Ginsburg’s decisions on women’s rights have been instrumental in the evolution of the laws involving sex discrimination, but her advocacy for a range of issues affecting many civil rights decisions shows the enormous impact she had on issues of our day. Even in her dissents, she made a difference.

To name a few:

United States v. Virginia (VMI – open admissions to include women; majority opinion) 1996
Shelby County v. Holder (voting rights in jurisdictions with a history of discrimination; dissent)  2013
Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co (gender discrimination involving lower pay for women; dissent) 2007
Hobby Lobby v. Burwell (allowing discrimination based on the employer’s religious beliefs; dissent) 2014
National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius (Obamacare’s contraception mandate; dissent) 2012 (2)
Bush v. Gore (reversal of a state’s decision on its own vote count; dissent) 2000

Ginsburg’s death makes an already horrible year and a very pivotal general election cycle even worse and all the more consequential. While it could be claimed that this helps Biden’s supporters, it also motivates Trump’s right-wing base.

RGB asked as her final wish, dictated to her granddaughter, that “. . . I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” From where we sit today that seems like an awfully tall order. But we cannot do less or work less diligently than she did all her life to try to win that outcome.

 

 

(1) Kerber, Linda K. (2013). No constitutional right to be ladies : women and the obligations of citizenship. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 199

(2) A case involving expansions for employers who have moral or religious objections to the ACA’s contraceptive mandate It will be heard after the general election on Nov. 10. We don’t know at this point if McConnell will push ahead to confirm a nomination prior to Nov.3 or simply move ahead with filling the seat with a Republican-controlled Senate with an 8 member court. While more than a few Republican senators’ re-election chances are in grave danger, Majority Leader  McConnell announced his decision to move ahead with the process less than an hour after Ginsburg’s death was announced. Mark your calendars!

 

 

 

NOW President Christian Nunes’ Letter to Activists

August 29, 2020

Dear Maryland NOW,

I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself – my name is Christian Nunes, and some of you may recognize me as NOW’s former vice president. This week I have stepped into the role of National NOW President. I want you to know how honored and excited I am to lead our organization at this critical time.

As the leading grassroots feminist force in the country, our members have been on the front lines of activism and advocacy for more than fifty years. NOW has a special part to play in these upcoming conversations and campaigns.

We are looking forward to electing Kamala Harris as the first woman vice-president – and as a Black and Asian American woman, she will also be the first woman of color to serve in this role. These are exciting history-making times, but we know there is a lot of work that lies ahead.

I know that having a Black president of NOW gives us more opportunity to genuinely amplify the experiences and voices of women of color. We are at a moment in our nation’s history when it’s clear that we need to do better. We must do more to adopt an intersectional lens when it comes to all aspects of our lives, and more to ensure that we are providing an inclusive safe space for one another.

It is also very clear that if we want to truly embrace an inclusive intersectional movement, it takes critical work, building and sustaining trust, safety, and true allyship. It takes a willingness to understand that despite our differences, our value is the same and all of our voices deserve to be heard. We must remember why we became activists in the first place, and od more to ensure we keep moving forward.

That is my personal mission – and my organizing principle for NOW.

I’ll have more to share with you in the weeks and months ahead and at our upcoming annual conference. I look forward to working with you towards a more inclusive feminist future.

Toni Van Pelt

In  Solidarity,

(signature)

Christian F. Nunes

 

Maryland NOW Welcomes Christian Nunes as NOW’s New President!

August 22, 2020

Maryland NOW is proud to welcome Christian F. Nunes as our new National NOW President!

Christian is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Consultant, and a Woman-Minority Business Owner since 2006.  Ms. Nunes received her BSW degree from Northern Arizona University, Master of Science from Columbia University, and Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

She is an active community organizer and has spoken at events such as the March for Black Women in 2018. She has chaired NOW’s Racial Justice Task Force and most recently served as NOW’s Executive Vice President. Along with her activism for mental health, Nunes also has over 20 years of experience advocating for children’s and women’s issues.

In 2006, Nunes founded a behavioral health and consulting practice where she assists social service and behavioral health companies, as well as provide direct mental health services to individuals and families. As an advocate for social justice and mental health policy, she took up the role as Chair of the Mayor’s Commission on Disability Issues and co-authored a community survey on police response to crisis. Additionally, she has worked tirelessly to elect progressive candidates to school boards and local office positions. She is often featured in media outlets including Ebony, Black Enterprise magazine, AZ News Channel 3, Yahoo News, and many more.

Maryland NOW is looking forward to having her speak to us about what’s ahead for NOW and getting to know her better. We also want her to know that we are looking forward to supporting her in every way we can during this next year.

NOW has a National Conference, to be held virtually, coming up in September although plans are not complete at this time. Please watch our website for information about how you can attend and, among other agenda items, participate in elections for our Eastern District’s new National Board Members. NOW’s National Conference next year in Chicago will be an Elections Conference for national officers. Every national conference is the annual opportunity for the grassroots to voice and support our direction and policies for the coming year. Be a voice!!!!

 

(Thanks to Victoria Steele for this great photo of Christian!)