Elevating Women in Politics, from Galax to Gainesville

 SEPTEMBER 2021 NEWSLETTER

TO READ IN YOUR BROWSER

A LETTER FROM OUR PRESIDENT

Greetings, 

Patti Russo, Executive Director of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale, recently posted the following on LinkedIn, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Skip Elections.” It resonated with me because despite our interest in politics, we all know someone who either only votes in major elections or possibly doesn’t vote at all. 

Many of us were raised to believe that voting is a right and a responsibility, and we teach our children the same lesson. Yet nearly half of the nation’s eligible voters, approximately 92 million, hardly ever vote. Vote Like A Woman notes that 1 out of 3 eligible women are not registered, and 53% of chronic nonvoters are women. 

Why do some people not vote? In 2016, 25 percent of voters said they did not vote because they didn’t like the candidates or the issues. Other reasons included feeling like their vote won’t matter and not knowing the issues well enough.

The solution to increasing voter turnout may be complicated. A February 2020 Politico article highlighted the results of the Knight Foundation’s study of chronic nonvoters, which “indicates that voting is a social behavior and that any effort to mobilize a significant number of chronic nonvoters will require complex, long-term interventions and a more nuanced understanding of this poorly understood portion of our electorate.”

Political campaigns tend to focus their resources on frequent voters due to limited time and money, therefore exacerbating the feeling of “being left out” and discouraging many from voting. Vote Like a Woman’s strategy is to engage women both one on one and in groups, striving for creativity in reaching nonvoters and being honest about our current political systems.

Voting is a function of several factors, and maybe we will never reach 100 percent However, we can become a stronger community by listening and attempting to address the concerns of nonvoters. They may have a valuable perspective just by virtue of them opting out-- which could make our community even more inclusive, as well as help us reform our own local political systems.

As members of the NWPC-VA, we are not only leaders in the community, we also have a responsibility to influence our close friends and family to vote. This relational organizing allows you to have conversations with people who trust you, focus on issues, and dispel myths about the candidates.

Early voting started on September 17 in Virginia. I encourage you to take a short break from the canvassing, phone banks, and meetings this week, with people you may not know well, and convince at least one family member or friend to vote. This one act will likely make a lasting impact on their lives and the civic well-being of our communities for generations to come.

Onward,

Krysta Jones

2021-2022 President  National Women’s Political Caucus of Virginia

INTRODUCING THE NWPC-VA BOARD OF DIRECTORS FOR 2022!

Thank you to the members who returned their ballots for our board elections. Those who indicated that you'd like to volunteer on one of the committees will be contacted by the respective new VPs after the first of the year.

The board is anxious to continue the work of making the lives of Virginian women and their families the best that they can be.  In 2022, we will continue to strive to meet our overall goals: 

  • Increase women's participation in the political process

  • Increase the number of women in elected and appointed positions

  • Support candidates who support women

  • Draft legislation that centers on equality and the needs of women 

Between now and the November 2 election, we are asking each member to do a few key things: 

  • Vote and encourage your family to vote!

  • Complete the NWPC-VA postcards sent to you in the mail

  • Donate to a NWPC-VA endorsed candidate in your area

  • Volunteer for a NWPC-VA endorsed candidate in your area


IT’S STILL ELECTION SEASON!


Our Endorsements Committee has cited 35 candidates for your consideration in the 2021 general election: https://nwpc-va.org/Volunteer. These candidates promote the key issues for which the NWPC-VA advocates, including but not limited to the Equal Rights Amendment, reproductive rights, childcare and healthcare equity, environmental justice, criminal justice reform, and education equity. Hala Ayala would be the first woman and the first woman of color elected to the office of Lieutenant Governor of Virginia! Of the 35 endorsed candidates for delegate, 21 are incumbents and 14 are challengers. Their success in November will bring us much closer to our goal of having women in half of the seats at the table! 

We ask all members to work together to get these women across the finish line. Check our Facebook page, National Women’s Political Caucus - Virginia, each Sunday for requests for volunteers and other election-related opportunities.

COMMITTEE UPDATES

Communications Committee

Hi, I am Jennifer Gaylor, VP of the Communications Committee. We continue to share all the great work we have been doing. Our goal is to have as many people in Virginia as possible who are committed to electing more women, knowing what we are doing and how getting involved. Please share our posts on social media, and talk to your friends about joining. It takes ALL of us to make change--LET’S GO! Questions? Email me at va.nwpc@gmail.com.

Endorsements Committee

Hi, I'm Candy Graham, VP of the Endorsements Committee. The recent endorsement process was so rewarding.  The candidates we’ve chosen need your help to get to the House in November! Please visit our website to sign up to volunteer or donate: www.nwpc-va.org If you are in the Richmond area on October 2nd, please come to the march! We have invited all of our Central Region candidates. Details can be found in the Events section of the newsletter.

Development Committee

Hi! I am Jess Kujala from Events and Development. We have had a busy September! We hosted our first two V-LAW sessions on combatting virtual sexual harassment, gaining important insight into how it feels to be the victim of such harassment, and what it will take to get legislation passed during GA 2022 to hold perpetrators accountable. Please join us for our third session on September 30th at 6 p.m. as we brainstorm ways to amplify this issue in candidate forums and letters to the editor. Go to www.nwpc-va.org/V-LAW to sign up.

Finance Committee

Hello there. My name is Robbin Warner and I’m the VP of Finance. The Finance Committee keeps track of our money: where it comes from, how it’s managed, and where it goes. You may be thinking that this isn’t an interesting, sexy, or outright fun committee. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When it comes to “Show Me the Money,” this committee has it all. How so? Join this committee and find out. Contact Robbin at va.nwpc@gmail.com.

Membership Committee 

Hi, I’m Robin Whitley, the VP of Membership. We are always looking for new members to help us achieve our goals--the main one being ELECT MORE WOMEN! You’ll get your GOTV postcards in the next few weeks.  When you send them to your friends, make sure to ask them to join NWPC-VA! Contact me at va.nwpc@gmail.com.

Policy Committee  

Hi, I am Tonja Roberts, VP of the Policy Committee. We have been focused on combatting virtual sexual harassment in our V-LAW sessions this month. We are committed to working with our membership, grassroots organizations, and legislators to craft a bill that will get passed during GA 2022 to hold perpetrators accountable. If you have a strong interest in identifying issues, drafting solutions, and advocating for positive change, then join the Policy Committee! Contact me at va.nwpc@gmail.com.

Records Committee

Hello, I'm Laurie Buchwald, the VP of Records. I collect and archive NWPC-VA's important documents, photos, and media. If you'd like to know more or if you'd like to submit materials for our records, please contact me at va.nwpc@gmail.com.

REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVES 


The NWPC-VA divides Virginia into four regions with one Regional Representative per area. Each will serve a one-year term. Our current representatives are:

Central: Kati Hornung
Northern: Karen Campblin
Tidewater: Leelynn Brady
West/Southwest: Deb Snarr

Now that the commonwealth is opening up post-COVID, our regional representatives are very excited to plan some in-person get-togethers in their respective areas! They are looking forward to meeting current members and increasing membership in the organization. Watch this space for updates. Questions or suggestions? Email us at va.nwpc@gmail.com, with your region in the subject line.

UPCOMING EVENTS & DATES TO WATCH


SEPTEMBER

September 30, 6 p.m.: V-LAW Session Three--Bring Us Your Voice

NWPC-VA invites you to bring a friend as we continue our Virginia Legislative Agenda for Women (V-LAW) series. In our third session, members and invited guests will be placed in breakout rooms to brainstorm ways to amplify and put the cyberflashing issue in front of every legislator. Moderators will provide tools and sample questions to be used during candidate forums and in letters to the editor. Teams will share their thoughts at the end of the session.  Go to www.nwpc-va.org/V-LAW to register, and see more information about the other sessions in the series.  It takes all of us to change the law.

OCTOBER

October 2: Rally for Reproductive Rights


Washington, DC--Women's March at Freedom Plaza, 11 a.m.

Ahead of the Supreme Court reconvening on October 4, Women's March and more than 90 other organizations, including National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, Planned Parenthood, SHERO Mississippi, Mississippi in Action, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, The Frontline, Working Families Party, and SisterSong are organizing a national call to mobilize and defend our reproductive rights. Updates at https://womensmarch.com/mobilize

 

Richmond, VA--Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia at Diversity Richmond, 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia March will begin at Diversity Richmond, 1407 Sherwood Ave. The theme is “Bans Off Our Bodies RVA.” Tabling begins at 10:30 a.m., food trucks at 11, speeches at 11:30 and the march begins at noon. There will be a heavy emphasis on voter registration and GOTV. Candidates from the Richmond area endorsed by NWPC-VA have been invited to attend. Speakers include Liza Mickens (Great-great granddaughter of Maggie Walker). More information, including the route of the march, can be found at https://www.weareplannedparenthoodaction.org/a/bans-our-bodies-rva-march 


Norton, VA--SWVA March for Reproductive Rights at Norton City Park, 10:00 a.m.

The SWVA March will gather at the park gazebo at 1033 Pine St NW at 10:00 a.m. for speakers, music and sign-making before we take to the street and march! Masks will be required to march. Join us! Click this link to sign up: https://act.womensmarch.com/event/join-oct-2-march/2222


Woodstock, VA--Shenandoah County Historic Courthouse, 12:00
p.m.

The Northern Shenandoah Valley Women’s March is marching in solidarity with the National Women’s March. Meet in the Las Trancas parking lot at noon to march down Main Street, then gather at the Old Courthouse where we will have a few speakers. Peaceful displays are encouraged. CDC guideline compliance is expected. Find details at https://www.facebook.com/events/s/woodstock-womens-march/259397449395670.

October 4-7: Redistricting Hearings

This year is the first time a new 16-member bipartisan commission, composed of eight citizens and eight state legislators, will redraw the boundaries of districts that elect congressional and legislative representatives in the commonwealth. The commission is considering a range of factors as the maps are developed including population equality, voting rights, and communities of interest. Public hearings will be taking place from Oct. 4-7 before the deadline to submit maps on Oct. 10. To sign up for a hearing or leave comments on the work so far, go to the commission’s site. For a deep dive into our districts, visit Redistricting in Virginia - Ballotpedia.

October 7, 6 p.m.: V-LAW Continues

NWPC-VA’s Virginia Legislative Agenda for Women (V-LAW) series concludes in this session.  Join Virginia Lawmakers, grassroots organizations and NWPC-VA members and guests at the table to review the legislation our teams have been working on.  We’ll name the Legislative V-LAW CHAMPION, whose work will be at the forefront of NWPC-VA’s policy goals for 2022. Go to www.nwpc-va.org/V-LAW to register.

October 12: Deadline to Register to Vote

October 12 is the deadline to register to vote, or update an existing registration.

October 18 / November 1: Deadline for Virginia Senate and House Page Programs

Do you know a student who will be between the ages of 13 and 14 in January who has an interest in state government? They should apply to serve as a Senate or House Page! Applications for the 2022 Senate and House Page Programs are now available. The deadline to apply is Friday, October 18 at 5:00 pm for the Senate and Monday, November 1 at 5:00 pm for the House. Click here for application instructions.

October 22, 5 p.m.: Deadline for Vote By Mail Ballot

October 22 is the deadline to apply to receive an absentee ballot for the November 2 general election by mail, fax and online: 5:00 p.m.

October 24, 4 p.m.: Netizens Screening

NWPC-VA is honored to screen Netizens, a documentary about virtual harassment from director Cynthia Lowen, to complement our V-LAW series.  The film depicts the many forms digital abuse can take and challenges the notion cyber harassment is only online, showing the repercussions on targets' lives. Join us for this virtual screening. Sign up information here.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.netizensfilm.com.

October 30, 5 p.m.: Last Day of In-Person Early Voting

October 30 is the last day to vote in-person at your local voter registration office.


November 2: Election Day

General election. Vote for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, delegate, and local elections.  Want a preview of your ballot?  Go to https://ballotpedia.org/Sample_Ballot_Lookup.

Need to check your polling place?  https://www.elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/polling-place-lookup.

CALLS TO ACTION 

 

Title IX / #EdActNow

Student survivors can’t wait another year with DeVos’ harmful Title IX rule in place. The Biden administration announced plans to undo the Trump Administration’s attack on student survivors and create a Title IX rule that supports the rights of all students--but not until May 2022.  Students are about to enter a double redzone where more than 50% of all sexual assaults will occur between the day first year students arrive on campus until the day students depart for Thanksgiving Break. This fall, with schools shifting from remote learning back to in-person classes, experts predict that sophomores--who have not yet stepped on campus--will experience college as freshmen do, which means that the population of those at risk will double. Sign this petition to demand that the US DoE issue the proposed changes to Title IX by Oct. 1.  And spread the word.  https://www.edactnow.org 



#GOTV

Lend your hand to Get Out The Vote. Check your mail for a package from NWPC-VA. Inside you will find 30 ELECT MORE WOMEN postcards. We are asking each of you to:

  • hand write a personal positive message about the importance of this election on November 2nd

OR

  • use one of the suggested messages in the package

Mail your GOTV postcards by OCTOBER 15th. 

Together we WILL amplify our message to ELEVATE WOMEN IN POLITICS.

 

Request for Volunteers

Calling all members! The Events Committee is looking for five members to join the Young Women’s Leadership Conference Planning Committee (YWLC). This group will meet monthly to design a curriculum which will engage high school and college age women in the political process.  It is critical that we invest time in the next generation so that they can continue the critical work that we are all doing right now. Email Jessica Kujala at  va.nwpc@gmail.com if you are interested.


Fight Voter Suppression

Concerned about voter suppression? The Biden-Harris administration has stated its intention to continue pushing for voting reforms.  What can YOU do?  Here’s how to advocate for voting rights.

Support democracy reform with the federal John Lewis Voting Rights Act

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act passed the House, with the 219-212 vote going along party lines, on August 24. The bill is likely to come to the Senate floor later this year. However, its future is uncertain without filibuster reform.

If you have a Democrat representative, thank him or her for passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Call Senators Warner and Kaine and voice your support for ENDING THE FILIBUSTER. Updates and a call script can be found here: https://5calls.org/issue/for-the-people-act-hr1-s1.  

Donate to Abortion Funds 

In May, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. This case deals with the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi law that banned abortion after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy. With the privacy stipulated in Roe v Wade now under threat, abortion rights in this country will face the gravest challenge in years over the next few months (See the Center for Reproductive Rights for the latest news: https://reproductiverights.org). NOW is the time to donate to these much-needed funds so that no matter where a woman lives, she can access safe reproductive care. https://abortionfunds.org/need-abortion/#funds-list

KNOW MORE, DO MORE:

Reproductive Rights in Virginia

SCOTUS reconvenes soon and will be hearing oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Dec 1, 2021.The Center for Reproductive Rights will defend abortion rights as Mississippi asks the Court to consider a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade

News of the court date arrived amid controversy over a Texas law, known as SB8, which effectively bans abortion at six weeks and empowers citizens to sue providers and anyone who helps a woman access their services.

With a 6-3 conservative majority in place and a dozen Republican-led states already pushing anti-abortion legislation, this is major: they could finally overturn Roe v. Wade.

On September 24, House Democrats approved a bill to protect abortion rights, a symbolic response to the Supreme Court’s refusal to block Texas’ SB8.  However, the bill, the Women’s Health Protection Act, will face significant opposition from Senate Republicans and is not expected to advance through the chamber.

Considering the turn of events in other states, let’s check on the status of reproductive rights in Virginia.

In 2011, soon after the Affordable Care Act became law, the then-anti-choice majority in the General Assembly passed the first of the recent restrictions on abortion in Virginia, including regulations which treated abortions clinics like hospitals, despite the lack of regulation on similar outpatient procedures. Lawmakers also banned private plans on the state’s health insurance exchange from covering abortions in all but a few circumstances. 

In recent years, the balance of power has shifted in the GA, and the Democratic-controlled legislature has passed the following bills, which have become laws under the Northam administration.

  • 2019: The expansion of Medicaid provided healthcare for 550,000 previously ineligible Virginians, which includes access to birth control, comprehensive health care benefits during pregnancy and for two months after the baby’s birth.

  • 2020: The Reproductive Health Protection Act repealed the state’s mandatory ultrasound and 24-hour waiting period. It also eliminated the targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP) laws, which were designed to close abortion clinics by regulating the number of water fountains and the number of parking spaces they are required to have.

  • 2021: The GA voted to repeal a ban on abortion coverage for plans offered through private insurers participating in the state exchange.

At present, only first-trimester procedures are permitted in Virginia clinics.  Second-trimester procedures must be conducted by a physician in a licensed hospital.

Insurance carriers on Virginia’s state exchange are not required to offer abortion coverage. Virginia Medicaid recipients are subject to the Hyde Amendment; abortion is not covered except in cases of rape, incest, or when continuing the pregnancy will endanger the patient’s life. Nationally, Medicaid is the source of coverage for prenatal care, delivery care, and other essential pregnancy care for 42% of people giving birth. Due to systemic barriers, an average of 31% of Black women and 27% of Hispanic women ages 15 to 44 are enrolled in Medicaid, compared to 16% of white women.

Currently 79% of Virginians support legal access to abortion--across party lines, including 79% of Independents and55% of Republicans, according to a January 2020 survey commissioned by the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin says he wants to restrict abortion in Virginia, but he's eluded questions on how far those restrictions would go.  Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe is unequivocally pro-choice. All NWPC-VA endorsed candidates support reproductive rights for women.  Volunteer, donate, and help get these candidates across the finish line. Reproductive rights are on the 2021 ballot! 

In Memoriam: Frances “Sissy” Farenthold (1926-2021)


NWPC celebrates the life and mourns the death of Frances “Sissy” Farenthold, esteemed lawyer, politician, educator, and the first chair of the National Women’s Political Caucus. She passed away in September after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. A champion of civil rights and a trailblazing leader, she served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1969 to 1973, the only woman serving in the Texas House at the time. She became known for advocating for open government and ethics reform. In 1972 and 1974, she unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor of Texas. In 1973, she was elected as the first chair of the NWPC. During the 1980s, she was active in the international women’s peace movement. In later years, she served on the advisory board of the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice of UT Law. She also continued to lend her voice and support to human rights efforts around the world and in Texas. Listen to Sissy’s thoughts on Roe v Wade in 1977 on the podcast “She Speaks For Herself.”  Discover more about her life and legacy here.

The National Women’s Political Caucus - Virginia (NWPC-VA) mission is to:

* Increase women's participation in the political process

* Increase the number of women in elected and appointed positions

* Support candidates who will prioritize women's issues and who will employ women in decision-making roles in their campaign and office staffs

* Work for the repeal of discriminatory laws, especially laws that discriminate on the basis of gender

* Draft and support legislation that complies with the principles of human equality and that concerns the needs of women

In pursuit of these goals, NWPC-VA is dedicated to eradicating bias, both explicit and implicit, in all its forms, including but not limited to sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, ageism, violence, socioeconomic status, ableism, sexual orientation, gender identification, political ideology, national origin, ethnicity, and discrimination on the basis of religion. Furthermore, NWPC-VA is dedicated to ensuring reproductive freedom. 

NATIONAL WOMEN’S POLITICAL CAUCUS-VIRGINIA



To submit information and event listings for future newsletters and social media mentions, please email us at va.nwpc@gmail.com.



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