November 2011 e-Newsletter
In this Issue:
Charlene “Chuckie ” Marsh was a California girl from the get go. She was born in the San Fernando Valley of Russian Jewish heritage and raised in a family of social activists.
NWPC was incredibly lucky to have had her as part of our family since she began her involvement in 1981, 30 years ago. She began as the head of the Orange County Caucus Newsletter and from there has held just about every local Board position as well as serving as representatives to both the CA State and National Caucus Board of Directors. She will be gravely missed by all who knew her heart, her passion and her devotion.
Soojin Ock is a recent graduate of the College of William and Mary with a double major in Public Health and Sociology. In addition to her declared majors, Soojin has a diverse list of interests, ranging from gender equality and law enforcement to immigration.
Born and raised in Northern Virginia, Soojin has always lived by the nation’s capital and strives to become a powerful voice in the city’s public sphere. In addition to her involvement with the NWPC, Soojin has worked as peer health educator and has interned abroad in Honduras as a community developer. In her spare time, Soojin enjoys listening to patriotic pop music and arts and crafts.
Q: You were recently elected as VP of Political Planning for the NWPC and will be serving on the Executive Committee – Congratulations! What led you to this path and what do you look forward to as you take on this new position
I have been involved in politics for 25 years and involved with NWPC for more than 15 of them. I really am a more of "behind the scenes person." I have worked hard on important ballot issues and getting good people elected to office. After serving on the political planning committee for a dozen years I wanted to do what I could to continue the progress and bring our efforts in supporting progressive women to new heights.
Q: We are now 1 year out from the 2012 elections. What are your plans and goals as we prepare for this very important election season?
I want to be sure that we can offer the assistance of the Caucus to any progressive, female candidate that we can get our hands on. We want to be there to help get progressive women elected in as many races across the country as possible.
Q: What strategies do you plan to implement in your goal to support, recruit and train women candidates for National office?
Identifying women and giving them the encouragement, assistance, and skills necessary to take the leap and jump into the water by making the decision to run.
Q: You are registered under the Independence Party of New York. What brought you to that party? Why is it so important to you that the Caucus continue its multi-partisan legacy?
I feel that I have a lot to offer, even if it started out as willingness to hard work for candidates I believed in. I am fortunate to live in a state where third parties have a ballot line. Traditionally within the structure of the major parties there are many expectations with regard to support of candidates. I never wanted anyone or any party to dictate to me which candidates I could work for. The Independence Party cross endorses candidates of both the Democrat and Republican Party.
Q: As you embark upon the next two years of work with the Caucus, what is your source of inspiration? What would you like to tell women and girls who may be considering leadership positions?
I think that regardless of what or where your passion is, you have to commit to it. I made a decision a long time ago, as a member of NOW, that when they started a local National Women’s Political Caucus I would put my time and efforts there. My mission is on the political side, I support the issues, but my passion is with politics.
The Board voted to approve an Open Membership period of 90 days, so that anyone interested in becoming a member of NWPC can join for free for 90 days, to participate and enjoy NWPC programming. In order to become a voting member, the new recruits will need to pay their dues, but will be welcomed for all other membership benefits through the 90 days. The concept is to use aggressive outreach to bring in new members, and to grow our numbers. The launch of this new effort will be announced after the special volunteer committee, which is chaired by VP for Diversity & Outreach Donna Deberry, has compiled their list of items for The Value of National, and will be announced through NWPC networks.
Dear Caucus Members and Friends,
As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, I wanted to let each of you know that I am thankful for you, for your commitment to supporting progressive women for elected office, for your work on behalf of NWPC through the years, and for your strength in believing in equality for all. I hope that you will enjoy a wonderful holiday this week, and that you have time to spend with those who matter most to you.
Fall has been busy, and offered opportunities for outreach and idea exchange with many of our members, and also with candidates, elected officials, and leadership of numerous sister organizations. The upcoming 2012 election will be vital as we fight to hold on to women’s rights and work toward our goal of 50/50 by 2020. I look forward to continuing our work together, and to our making a difference for women in leadership roles.
2011 EMMAs a Huge Success!
From Left to Right: Linda Young, Jessica Stites of Ms. Magazine, Abigail Pesta formerly with Marie Claire and currently at Newsweek/Daily Beast, Sharon Pregerson representing Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bloomberg News L.A. Deputy Director Anthony Palazzo, Carole Zimmer of Bloomberg News and Judy Chavis, NWPC-VP, Development.
The NWPC is pleased to announce the success of the 2011 Exceptional Merit in the Media Awards! The event, which took place at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, brought together and honored outstanding journalists, authors, filmmakers and media outlets that highlight issues critical to women. Emceed by the talented and passionate Elizabeth Espinosa, the EMMAs was a great hit and we extend our appreciation to all those who made the event such a success. EMMAs 2011 Chair, Judy Chavis, also serves as the Vice President of Development, NWPC.
Of the outstanding work nominated for an EMMA award, this year’s awards went to eight winners whose work exceptionally encompassed all types of issues that impact women globally, from microcredit and sanitation inequalities to religious tolerance and human sex trafficking. Bloomberg News, Marie Claire, and Ms. Magazine all received awards for exceptional news stories and magazine articles, while Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s was presented with an award for her bestselling book, Nomad. Together, the works produced by this year’s contributors represent not only a collection of truly inspiring and influential material, but also the purpose of the NWPC’s annual event.
The Liz Carpenter Political Humor Award, installed as a special award for the annual EMMAs event beginning in 2010 when the first Liz award went to Samantha Bee, of The Daily Show. The 2011 winner of the Liz Carpenter Political Humor award was funny woman Wanda Sykes, who is often called “one of the funniest stand-up comics.”
Highlights also included a special message from 2009 EMMA’s winner, actress and director Kamala Lopez, about her new video project on the Equal Rights Amendment Education Project, an effort for which NWPC Leadership Development Education and Research Fund partners with Heroica Films, to develop education shorts on the ERA.
We would like to thank all of those who participated in this year’s EMMAs, from submitters to sponsors. We look forward to another year of event preparations, inspiring nominations, judge deliberations, and award presentations. Most importantly, we look forward to another year of honoring those who work to make public the issues that affect women each and every day.
NWPC Endorses Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Susan Bysiewicz (Sen-CT)
The NWPC announces its support of Susan Bysiewicz for Senate in Connecticut and former Representative Carol Shea-Porter for her bid in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District. Bysiewicz and Shea-Porter both have strong records of standing up for the well-being of women and families and promise to work to create jobs and strengthen our education systems.
Election 2012: Current Trends
Year of the Women: Part Deux
With seventeen women in the Senate, next year’s election will serve to be more crucial than ever. As of October, ten women (6 who are incumbents) are assumed to receive the Democratic Senate nominee while two women are assumed to receive Republican Senate nominations. In addition to those presumed nominations, numerous other women are preparing to win party support. Next year’s election will also feature the largest number of female incumbents running for reelection for a Senate seat. Despite our increasing presence in the Senate, the 2012 election may still pose a threat for women in office. With liberals challenged and conservatives having difficulty finding women to run, women may lose seats in the Congress for the second time in decades.
Experts are using 2011 election results as small clues as to what they will see in the future. While local elections across the nation have rejected many conservative measures, conservatives in certain states such as Virginia have regained seats. The wide range of election outcomes really comes to display that 2012 could be a toss-up, leading everyone to the edge of their seats.
Initiative 26 Defeated in Mississippi
The controversial ballot measure known as “Initiative 26” was defeated by voters in Mississippi during this year’s state elections. With concerns over the propositions growing momentum, pro-choice activist all over the country have voiced criticism against the measure and provided support for local women’s rights groups. This disastrous piece of legislation, if passed, would have declared fertilized eggs as a legal persons guaranteed the same rights as a living person. In order to protect the “personhood” of a fertilized egg, Initiative 26 included the legal ground work to ban and criminalize abortion and contraceptive measures. Voted down on Election Day, state voters made it clear that defining personhood from the moment of conception is an overreach of the anti-choice agenda. However, it is important to recognize that despite this major victory, the fight for women’s reproductive rights is far from over.
Read NWPC Programs Director, Bettina Hager’s, HERvotes blog on the controversy surrounding MS Initiative 26: Initiative 26 and Personhood: A Lesson in Deductive Reasoning.
Controversy over Voter ID Laws
With the 2012 election drawing near, every party has become protective over elections. Several states including Mississippi, South Carolina, Kansas and Wisconsin have or are in the process of passing legislation that requires voters to display government issued photo identification when voting. Though many believe these measures to exist to prevent voting fraud, civil liberty and minority groups claim that these requirements will create obstacles for voters. Experts say that the voting requirements could negatively and disproportionately impact certain groups such as the elderly, the disabled and minorities who already have difficulties obtaining government identification. In addition to these marginalized groups, women would be adversely affected as many could be questioned if they changed their names after marriage.
Out & About: Local News
NWPC of New Jersey to hold its Passion, Power, Progress Awards event on December 1st.
The National Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey is to hold its annual Passion, Power, Progress event on December 1st from 6-9 pm at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Brunswick. This year they will be honoring Sonia Delgado, Hon. Sophie Heymann, Mary Hildebrand, Esq, Hon. Jon Bramnick, Hon. Rayment Lesniak and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
NWPC of Washington to honor the “Heroines of the 2011 Campaigns” on December 11th.
The National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington will host their 2011 endorsed candidates at a reception in honor of the women who made a difference in their campaigns this year! The event will be held on Sunday, December from 3-5 pm at Gilda’s club in Seattle.
NWPC of Massachusetts’s 24th Abigail Adams Award a Resounding Success!
Recently named one of Boston's Top 100 Events by BizBash Media, this year's Tribute to Abigail Adams, sponsored by Tufts Health Plan, brought together an outstanding group of elected officials, academics, and professionals of all ages to celebrate the groundbreaking work of our six distinguished honorees. Susan Wornick of WCVB-TV 5 presided over a political star-studded evening with attendance by Senate President Therese Murray and surprise appearances by Democratic Senate Candidates Elizabeth Warren and Alan Kazei. Warren's attendance at the night's event was event mentioned in the recent NYTimes article, Heaven is a Place Called Elizabeth Warren.
NWPC of Missouri to hold State Board meeting on December 3rd.
The Missouri Women's Political Caucus will be holding its State Board Meeting on Saturday December 3rd. It is to be held from 12-2:30 at the Boone Tavern in Columbia, Missouri. It is sure to be an exciting event as these strong political players set their plans for the upcoming year!