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Terry O’Neill Elected NOW President

Terry O'Neill

Terry O'Neill

From the National Organization for Women website:

This weekend members of the National Organization for Women (NOW) cast their votes for a new team of leaders to direct the largest grassroots feminist organization in the country over the next four years. NOW delegates elected Terry O’Neill, who served as the group’s membership vice president from 2001 to 2005, to succeed President Kim Gandy.

[…]

“NOW is the organization that fights for the rights of all women no matter the circumstances of their birth, their race or sexual orientation, no matter if they live in poverty or are trying to escape violence,” said NOW President-Elect Terry O’Neill. “My experience with domestic violence, as an abused wife left me humiliated and embarrassed. I only began to talk about this publically five years ago as I realized that to keep quiet was to continue the abuse. I want to empower women and telling my story does just that. Women are fed up with persistent inequality and are ready for change. I am honored and eager to lead NOW in making that change.”

O’Neill cut her political teeth working to defeat David Duke’s gubernatorial campaign in Louisiana. She went on to serve NOW at the local, state and national levels. As an attorney, she served a clerkship at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago before practicing law in New Orleans. She taught at the University of California Davis Law School and Tulane Law School. Currently, she is chief of staff to a Montgomery County (Md.) councilmember whose successes include a transgender equality law and Maryland’s first Family Justice Center for survivors of domestic violence. O’Neill’s national positions also include executive director of the National Council of Women’s Organizations.

The other members of O’Neill’s team are Bonnie Grabenhofer of IL, taking on the position of executive vice president; Erin Matson of MN, serving as action vice president; and Allendra Letsome of MD, incoming membership vice president.

Dr. Violet Socks reacts:

We won! We won! We won!

For an explanation of why Violet is elated:

NOW used to be an honorable and effective organization, and it can be again. I know some of you are too fed up to care anymore, but here’s the thing: NOW is still the biggest feminist group in the country. More to the point, it’s still the number one go-to joint when the media wants to know whether something or somebody (hint hint) is doing right by the women of America. So it would be really good to have someone other than Kim Gandy or her cohorts on the horn.

Which brings me to the subject of this post. Kim Gandy’s tenure as president of NOW is up, and the election for her replacement is in June. Kim’s hand-picked successor is Latifa Lyles, NOW’s current Vice President for Membership. I’ve got nothing against Latifa personally, though I do note that membership has dropped during her tenure as the membership director, which is possibly not an encouraging sign. But the main problem with Latifa is that she’s the choice of Kim Gandy and Ellie Smeal (they’re a team, you unnerstan). She’s their candidate. With Latifa we will get more of the same, only samer.

Score one for the good guys gals.

_____________________________________________________

UPDATE:

Violet reports that O’Neill’s winning margin was 8 votes.


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123 Responses

  1. So far there seems to be a news blackout on this story.

  2. Ooh, I’m dying to know what happened! I tried searching for liveblogs but only found the asshats of wankette live blogging hill’s convention speech.

  3. Gretawire has it, myiq.

      • I’m sorry, I don’t know how to copy on iPhone. Just click on puma-sf’s name in the last thread, it’s up on his or her site.

        • (In my defense, I just borrow other people’s iPhones and blackberries, if I had one of my own I’d figure out how to use it. LOL)

  4. Alegre has a post up.

  5. Off-topic, although it does pertain to one sort of domestic violence:

    A Family Court in California is preparing to return a 13 y/o boy to his father, who is suspected of having molested him, without a proper investigation first. 😡

    Here is a link to the story, which includes e-mails you can send to the authorities:

    http://www.stopfamilyviolence.org/get-involved/take-action-now/protect-damon-from-abuse

    • I wouldn’t jump to conclusions about that story. I read it and it sounds like Parental Alienation Syndrome.

      • There’s a big section on the website about PAS, the guy who invented it appears to be seriously disturbed, if his quotes are anything to go by.

        • Google Parental Alienation and see what you get.

          You’re only hearing one side of the story. The red flag here is the mother’s claim that there have been hundreds of reported instances of abuse but nobody has done anything.

          What’s more credible – the entire child protective network in SD county (cops, CPS, family court) ignored this case or they investigated and concluded the allegations were bogus?

          Then you have mom not being allowed to see the kids for two years – that indicates a finding that contact with the kids would be detrimental.

          • *shrugs* I can’t tell what’s more credible, it’s possible that they investigated and found nothing wrong, but that doesn’t mean they were right, kids get returned to abusive parents all the time. I can only go by experience, if a child doesn’t want contact with a parent there’s probably a good reason. And if those quotes are at all accurate, it is pretty disturbing that cases are being decided based on a theory that originated with a guy who appears to be seriously disturbed.

          • I would want to hear both sides of that story before reaching any conclusions.

            I spent a few years working in family court and I’ve seen parental alienation.

            Some people are just insane. We had a case where the kid was dying of cancer and the mom didn’t want the dad to visit the child at the hospital.

          • You’re finding the govt. credible now?

  6. From Gretawire:

    Just in…

    Big upset at the National Organization for Women! It looks like “out with the old, in with the new.” The change may mean that NOW regains some relevance! The organization has felt “dead in the water” for years — failing to bring into the tent women from all walks of life. That may now all be changing….

    It looks like NOW is about to start a brand new chapter! Terry O’Neil – in an upset victory – is the new president but what is so surprising is that her election is a signal to women that times have changed for NOW. It looks ike NOW may now reach out to all women, with no litmus tests! This could be a significant shift in the nation’s largest women’s organization. We need to wait and see…but this is a huge blow to the now former power structure of NOW.

    (h/t Puma-SF at PumaEyes)

  7. Look at the her slate blog at

    http://feministleadershipnow.wordpress.com

    You’ll like what you see. She is gonna sexism’s ass.

    • Wow, that was a strong statement. The third wavers aren’t going to be happy at all.

      • Why not? They talk about same sex benefits, Sotomayor, Alexia Kelley, Prop 8, Dr. Tiller, Letterman, etc.

        • Because she equated insulting remarks with sexual harassment. I may be being unfair, but I associate third wavers more with wanting to make sure everybody knows we’re fun and sexaay and going along/putting up with/not making waves than worrying about sexual harassment.

          • No Lyles wanted to work with the administration. O’Neill wants to be separate from the administration. Gandy endorsed Lyles who was on her team. It’s what we’ve been arguing all year. The netroots and Third Wave sold out to Obama, we were separate and grassroots.

          • This comment was supposed to be at the bottom of the thread.

          • That’s what I’m trying to say. The third wavers won’t like O’Neill taking strong stands, which is a good thing.

  8. Yes touchpads make me illiterate.

  9. When I read something that Latifa said about needing a new feminism and getting rid of the old (or something to that effect) the first thing it struck me was the similarity to our current Fearless Leader’s election and I thought “Oh no, not again please.” Maybe with Terry she’ll call bullshit when she sees it.

    • You got that right, Fredster. I felt the same way.

      • No offense to Latifa but those were just key buzzwords that lit up to me and NOW didn’t need a leader who just might be right up Barkie’s ass.

        • Exactly.

        • It doesn’t sound like a good vote getter. That’s like saying “we need new civil rights and to get rid of the old civil rights.” Huh? You won’t get votes from anyone who cares about civil rights that way.

  10. PUMA-SF here’s the quote I read: (it’s on MSNBC)

    Both contenders expect the election to be close, and both are promoting themselves as best able to bolster NOW’s membership.

    “We are not the strongest grass-roots movement we can be — we both agree on that,” Lyles said. “The question is how we deal with that.”

    Noting that she contrasts with NOW’s mostly white and over-40 membership, Lyles said she could help give NOW a new image of youth and diversity that would appeal to younger feminists and reinvigorate the broader movement.

    “The profile of NOW is just as important as the work we do,” she said. “There are a lot of antiquated notions about what feminism is.”

    O’Neill, in turn, says she has the edge over Lyles in regard to grass-roots organizing and membership recruitment.

    The bolding was my doing.

    It reminded me too much of Donna B and her “we don’t need the old coalitions” crap during the primaries.

    • My rule is, whenever anyone tries to use their youth as a qualification, run like hell. It usually means they think we’re too flaky to care about anything serious and too stupid to understand complete sentences. Embarassing gimmicks and much substance-free patronizing will follow.

      • Exactly, why should women’s rights or anyone’s rights be a “grass roots movement?

      • LOL-Seriously. I don’t know how this works, but if she loses her position at NOW, I’m sure she’ll be able to find a job at Barkie’s White House. He kinda had it with antiquated notions also, as we all know. 😉

    • That’s exactly right. The NOW election broke down exactly the same way the contest between style (Obama — pretty words, all hot air) and substance (Clinton) during the primaries. It was the same happy, shiny, thoughtless fans versus people who were actually paying attention to what was going on breakdown.

      It was also a repeat of the break between the “advocacy” groups who started caring more about getting invited to WH parties than their causes (NOW under Gandy) versus real advocates — those who put the cause above the glamour-names they could get on their dance cards.

    • reminds you of brazile? it should because she is saying the same thing. we don’t need old white women over the hill like 40 and above. we need the foolish young who think everyone loves them all the while they are dissing them.

  11. Link to msnbc article:

    http://tinyurl.com/l9kkdv

  12. Gee whiz, now all black people have to suffer because of Obama? Lyles can’t be qualified because Obama isn’t? What’s the difference between what Lyles said about antiquated notions and all this stuff I’m hearing about “maybe now we’ll get change?” Nobody should be elected on the basis of skin color, but nobody should be punished for it, either.

    • It ain’t about the color of her skin.

    • We want to change from crappy leadership to good leadership, not from antiquated notions that feminism is good to new notions that feminism doesn’t matter, though. Because of the current crop of useless feminists, that’s how a lot of people will interpret statements like that.

  13. And for the record, O’Neill preaches “grassroots” too

    “I keep hearing `Terry, I want to see more activism in my community,'” O’Neill said. “The press releases, the media exposure, invitations to the White House – these are excellent things, but they’re not enough. The grass roots are not personally engaged.”

    Like many feminists, O’Neill said she is still celebrating Barack Obama’s election as president – and his appointments of numerous veterans of the women’s movement to key posts in his administration.

    “But even with a friend in the White House and a lot of friends in the Congress, it’s going to take well-organized, grass-roots movement to advance our agenda,” O’Neill said.

    http://www.wral.com/news/national_world/national/story/5353106/

    • Everybody wants grassroots, that’s fine. Just Kim’s notion of grassroots ain’t mine. It sucks for Latifa because she’s getting caught in Kim’s crossfire here but this is the strongest way to send a message about Kim promulgating lies and doing some really wack things.

      • I agree. I think the election was more about Gandy and a repudiation of her.

  14. Cinie, my take on her comment about antiquated notions was as I stated. It reminded me too much of Donna B and “we don’t need the old coalitions”.

    all this stuff I’m hearing about “maybe now we’ll get change?”

    Maybe people have already become disillusioned at the “change” we got from the Prez election.

    For myself, I got the impression she was trying to link or tie herself to Obama’s meme. And it (Obama’s msg.) does seem to be already getting old and wasn’t anything he intended to honor.

    Nobody should be elected on the basis of skin color, but nobody should be punished for it, either.

    I don’t think anyone mentioned her color except for Latifa herself and only peripherally, commenting on how she was different from the mostly-white and 40 and older membership.

    You did a post some time ago and I commented that Obama could be a bigger setback for AA candidates in the future and you said you didn’t think so (not strict quote) or words to that effect. Lets hope not.

    • Both candidates seem to be saying the same things, Fredster, so what makes one so much better than the other?

      • I’ll repeat what i wrote earlier, and I’m speaking for myself only:

        Maybe people have already become disillusioned at the “change” we got from the Prez election.

        For myself, I got the impression she was trying to link or tie herself to Obama’s meme. And it (Obama’s msg.) does seem to be already getting old and wasn’t anything he intended to honor.

        Could it be considered as “out with the old and in with the new and I’m the new?

        Both of these are intelligent women and if Terry is smart she’ll find a way to utilize Latifa’s skills.

        • oops, screwed up my blockquotes and I’ve only had (and not finished) one drink. Quote should have ended with “and I’m the new?

          • I’m not fixated on race. Why are you trying to deny it’s a factor? This thread was taking on an “Obama/Lyles joined at the hip” tone. What was the basis for that? Why did Obama and Donna Brazile get in the conversation, if not for race? As far as I know, NOW endorsed Obama, not just Lyles.

        • Not to be indelicate, but perpetuating the impression that NOW is an organization for middle aged white women is “change?” Btw, Lyles was the only one of the two who donated money to Hillary, as far as I know. That’s what caught my attention.

          • Why are you fixated on race?

          • What I meant was, was Lyles saying out with the old and in with the new and I’m the new?

            To quote from the article:

            Lyles said she could help give NOW a new image of youth and diversity that would appeal to younger feminists and reinvigorate the broader movement.

            O’Neil only won by 8 votes according to all I’ve read here so there’s going to have to be some fence mending done. I think more than anything it was a repudiation of Gandy.

          • O’Neill campaigned for Clinton. Cinie, you should read Patricia Ireland’s take on the differences between Gandy/Lyle style (insider baseball only) versus O’Neill’s, here. As well as the links myiq provided in the post. Neither O’Neill nor any of those celebrating her victory have said anything about race — Lyle was the only one trying to bring race into the conversation (and as someone said above, not in big way, but she was the only one).

            Lyle’s campaign themes tracked Obama’s, and unfortunately, because of her ties to Gandy (and Gandy’s endorsement), she was in a similar position — low on experience, high on empty rhetoric. The change we’re all discussing has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with our hope (yes, hope) that NOW will finally quit the insider-beltway cr*p and start up with real and substantive advocacy for women, all women again.

          • so cinie, what is your “problem” with the election of this new now president. instead of asking questions why don’t you make a declarative comment about your beliefs. let’s discuss that!

      • Kim. If you get endorsed by the jerk who lied and shilled, then unfortunately you’re going to be saddled with that. This was a referendum on Kim Gandy’s tenure. It’s unfair to Lyles, but this was the best way to indicate displeasure with the direction NOW has been going in. Gandy is like Bush, sinking Lyles as a far better version of McCain.

      • As far as I can tell, the biggest difference is that Lyles was considered Gandy’s pick. I’m reserving judgement on whether or not O’Neill is better until I see action. I think deeds speak far louder than words. After NOW decided Obama is a feminist and stood silently while Palin was smeared I decided that their brand of feminism isn’t mine. Thus far I have seen little to disabuse me of that notion.

        • I agree. Angie said over at Violet’s she’s signing up again. I’d wait for concrete evidence that things will change.

  15. Terry *did* specifically mention grass-roots and was, I believe, saying get out of the HQ in DC. She said something about just because we have friends now in DC, we (NOW) still needed to concentrate at the grass-roots level.

    • What friends? The guy who did the smearing during the primaries, took the wheels off equal pay, appointed someone as a HHS liason opposed to choice, and has less females in his cabinet then his predecessor? I’m not sure what her criteria for “friends” are but they don’t seem to be mine.

      • Their words, not mine.

        • I know. I just get the impression that the old guard may have more in common with the new guard then folks may like. I’m a cynic these days.

  16. He has set back civil rights. IMO decades. He himself said “human rights is an ideal not a priority”.

  17. So it stands out more I’ll put this separately:

    Both of these are intelligent women and if Terry is smart she’ll find a way to utilize Latifa’s skills.

  18. Fredster my comment above was in response to myiq, but it nested wrong. I’m not saying either candidate is head and shoulders over the other, even though I do think the limited young and minority woman participation might be significant factors in NOW’s current lack of relevance. Diversity is a legitimate issue. Who’s better equipped to address it? I don’t know. But as I said, when I found a small donation to Hillary from Lyles and none from O’Neill, I figured, all things considered, especially their similar stands as posted on the NOW website, Lyles made sense. If someone has other info besides Gandy hates/loves her, I’d like to hear it. I’ve asked, and no one has offered much of anything.

    • Cinie looks like we posted at about the same time.

      Obviously it seems the voters at the convention were split almost down the middle.

      As I said, it was just some of those words that just made me think “Oh man, she’s gonna just stand by and let Obie do as he wishes and never call him out.”

      Like I said, if Terry is smart, she’ll find a place for Latifa to put to work those skills she has.

    • Lyles has been Gandy’s Vice President for Membership. During her tenure membership at NOW has gone down. If she has any ideas about how to increase participation in NOW from the grassroots level, she had an opportunity to do it and failed. I think O’Neill’s strength was that Gandy didn’t want her to win, which sent a message that O”Neill was the candidate that didn’t represent a continuation of Gandy. Sometimes being the anointed one hurts more than helps.

  19. Cinie, on June 21st, 2009 at 3:36 am Said:

    I’m not fixated on race. Why are you trying to deny it’s a factor? This thread was taking on an “Obama/Lyles joined at the hip” tone. What was the basis for that? Why did Obama and Donna Brazile get in the conversation, if not for race? As far as I know, NOW endorsed Obama, not just Lyles.

    It wasn’t race, it was the fact she was saying old, and new and other key buzzwords that I saw from the primaries. Remember that Clinton and her supporters were the “old coalition” to use Donna B’s words. I noted the similarities. They may not have been huge similarities but they stuck out to me. That and I was appalled at the way NOW has just sat by and not called out Obama on some of his decisions/appointments.

    • Apparently, he’s their “friend” in Washington. With friends like that who needs enemies?

    • You may not have ever heard of Jessica Valenti, but she’s a feminist blogger who wrote this really dumbed down book to attract young people to feminism. It’s kind of an issue in the feminist blogosphere, whether to trust young women to have brains or go the feminism for dummies route. So saying antiquated notions is going to be offputting to a lot of people who are wary of the new type of feminism, IMO.

      • As I posted somewhere else: What’s wrong with the old type of feminism, which I thought included: equal pay for equal work, calling out misogyny and sexism and all the other things I thought were a part of the feminist movement.?

        • Exactly! It is very similar to “old politics” when we fought for what we believed in, ewwww, and all that rhetoric. That might not be what’s meant, but it will be interpreted that way. I’d say we need to go back to old feminism when we had principles and stood by them. The “new feminist” sites are usually trashing Hillary and Palin or, like Obie, think the only feminist issue is the right to wear the hajib. Very frustrating!

          • If the “new” feminism is based solely on the tepid support of a women’s right to choose(and by tepid I mean a non existent record of deeds and just talk about how women should be allowed to discuss stuff with the pastor and menfolk rhetoric). I’ll stick with the old non dumbed down version thank you very much.

        • Because for a lot of people, the perception is that “old feminism” has no room for Asian, Hispanic, Native, or black women, college students, stay-at-home moms, high heels or lipstick. What about Republicans? Pro lifers? Fundamentalists? Where does “the movement” draw the line? Does “the movement” draw a line? Who can be a “feminist? Why should/would she want to? These seem like basic, asked and answered questions to feminists, but, for a large majority of women of all ages, feminism still has the “radical fringe element” stigma.

          • But being inclusive doesn’t mean not having any principles, and it’s better to reach out with a message than some meaningless dumbed down feel good blather about nothing. I’m not saying Lyles is doing that, but that’s how a lot of people feel about the current wave of feminism, and rhetoric like antiquated notions therefore gives people pause. And Gandy was part of the spread lies about and ridicule Palin vanguard and used NOW to do it, and that too is a big schism. A lot of people feel now is going in a seriously wrong direction and used this opportunity to go on record about that. It’s not personal, it’s about a lot of larger things that are occuring.

          • Wasn’t Shelley Mandell of LA NOW the only one to support Palin? How does O’Neill escape that?

          • Because O’Neill wasn’t endorsed by Gandy. It’s not personal, but if you get endorsed by the person who put out fliers about how to dress up as Palin for Halloween with rape kit lies attached, then you will be the victim of backlash against the regime. Like if you’re a good Congressperson but your party is in a flameout year. They’re not blaming Lyles or O’Neill, they’re blaming Gandy.

          • I was witcha Sis, ’til the last sentence, Seems to me they are blaming Lyles. And, everybody went along with the bash Palin/love Obama program at the time. Unless O’Neill spoke out, which she may well have as far as I know, I’m thinking the “s/he’s not Gandy/Bush” mentality is just as responsible for the appearance of change that brought us Obama as anything else.

          • And also, as donnadarko says, Lyles was endorsed by the worse Obot so-called feminists who attacked Hillary as much as Palin. I know she gave to Hillary, but if everyone shows up mad in Indy and the first thing they hear is Gandy and all the bloggers they’re maddest at are for Lyles, well, again, it may be unfair to her personally, but it looks like a way to repudiate all those others and say hell no. Most rank and file members probably know more about Valenti and Gandy than either candidate. That didn’t help her.

          • You’re right, Cinie. I’m not sure O’Neill represents change until I see it. But not everyone showing up at the convention is an insider who is so up on all the details. The easiest way to show you’re not happy is to find out who the current leadership wants and vote for the other candidate. It may not work out in the end, but it sends a message.

          • We should be so lucky for feminism to be “radical”. During the last cycle they seemed more interested in tea parties then in actually forcing any of the candidates to address issues or weighing all of the candidates decisions to determine which candidate would be a stronger advocate for women. That was the impression I got anyways.

            The only inclusion factor seemed to be whether or not the person would make a statement on abortion. If NOW had even bothered to have done their homework then stuff like Palin’s work in Feminists for Life would have been discussed or Obama’s failure to ever actually take a stand regarding choice. That never happened.

            If I were to judge NOW and feminism by this cycle, I’d prefer NOT to be associated with them. I consider feminism to be more than just about my uterus.

          • I’m not casting aspersions on NOW members or saying they’re uninformed or anything like that, I just mean that most people who aren’t in the inner circle of an organization they belong to probably don’t have all the time in the world to do extensive research on candidates, plus it’s often close to impossible to really figure out who would do a better job based on the information available, so other factors like being endorsed by much better known, controversial figures come into play.

          • I’m not so sure it’s unfair to Lyles that the vote was a referendum on Gandy, since she seems to aligned herself fairly strongly with the Gandy faction of NOW. At the very least she accepted Gandy’s endorsement, and her rhetoric, the part differentiating herself from O’Neill, was all about appearances.

            She could have distanced herself from Gandy, as Al Gore distanced himself from Bill (on Donna’s advice), but she didn’t. So it’s not at all unreasonable to conclude that she was in agreement with Gandy’s leadership style (what there was of it).

            I guess I don’t understand why Cinie is advocating so hard in Lyle’s corner, when the best that can be said about her is she gave a small donation to Clinton during the primaries. O’Neill was out there as a volunteer working for Clinton, so on that measure, Lyle still hasn’t made that great a showing.

      • I’m really wary of “change” these days.

        The fact that things are being dumbed down doesn’t surprise me. It doesn’t seem to get any more dumbed down then saying someone is your friend because of a letter following their name as I suspect is the case with the Obama administration being considered their “friend’.

        For the record, I feel the same way about the NRA and their treatment of all things GOP. They’re like a friggin’ fan club rather than a creditable special interest group determined to look out for the best interests of their followship.

        • let me add something also. just because the leadership in now is over 40 doesn’t mean they are supposed to move out of the way for others. that is silly in my view. i get the hint of that in some comments. race? i have never known the feminists leaders from the past to have issues with race. it would seem to be also that race is being misued here. race was an in issue in the campaign thanks to obama not hillary.

          sometimes the term race is used in politics to mean get out of our way.

      • Valenti and the Third Wave overwhelmingly supported Lyles because some of them know her and because she would have diversified the image of NOW with her youth and race but the netroots and Third Wave are what got us in this mess with Obama. Lyles voted for Hillary in the primary and O’Neill may not have donated to Hilary but Gandy, the ineffectual NOW, NARAL, the Third Wave and netroots sold themselves and everyone out and gave us Obama.

        • And see, it’s more guilt by association, yes, but the last thing NOW needs is more influence by Valenti and Marcotte and so on. They are the problem.

          • It was exactly like Obama vs. Clinton, Failbots vs. PUMAs and maybe Obama’s inaction on Iran and health care influenced the voters.

      • As far as intersectionality, it is something I advocated for since I became a feminist 17 years ago but the recent version as Violet describes in her post about the fourth wave took away the ability to fight sexism and gave us Obama who as of now isn’t good for women or minorities. For now, there had to be a remedial kind of feminism that actually combats sexism and misogyny. If it were in place 18 months ago, we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in now. The problems existed before the election and I wrote quite a bit about how intersectionality in theory and practice were different.

  20. Well, it’s been a few minutes and I don’t see anymore posts and…it’s late.

    I think I’ll call it a night.

  21. I’ll celebrate change when I see it.

    • I’m not joining tip there’s absolute proof of change but the first post of her blog says she’s been talking and listening to feminists around the country and she said they want a woman President in their lifetime, universal health care and to spend as much money against violence against women as we do on wars. Her blog covers same sex benefits, Prop 8, Sotomayor, sexist attacks on Sotomayor, Dr. Tiller, Alexia Kelley and Letterman. She sounds like a PUMA to me.

      • She sounds principled as opposed to needing to feel good.

        • donna, i’ll settle for clear, concise important questions and a demand for answers versus sell out so as to be included at the convention as it were.

          not to say that i won’t demand actions.

  22. Patricia Ireland:

    Only one of the leaders vying to become the new NOW president is running on the promise of restoring NOW’s prominence and rebuilding NOW’s activism by taking NOW back out into the streets and into the public eye. Terry O’Neill vows to use a broader array of tactics to improve women’s lives from lobbying to non-violent civil disobedience, blogging to picketing. O’Neill also has a broader list of targets in her sites: government to be sure, but also Wall Street and Wal-Mart, education and religion, the military and the media… every institution that shapes women’s lives, including our roles in our families.

    O’Neill’s opponent is part of NOW’s current administration and is running on her record — which has been to have NOW function like a traditional inside-the-Beltway organization. For those of us who are concerned that the retreat to backroom meetings and insider politics will backfire and hurt women’s rights, the choice is clear.

    […]

    Terry O’Neill and her team offer more than hope; they offer a concrete plan to fight at all levels of government but also in the streets to win for women’s rights. NOW needs to reinvest in and reinvigorate its grassroots. And Terry O’Neill is the candidate who is willing to dig in and make that happen.

  23. Speaking as part of the over-60 group that was part of NOW in its heyday, I can definitely say that the early days of NOW were the best. Unfortunately, that’s true of many organizations: once they become “institutionalized”, they begin to resemble the institutions they’re fighting against.

    Our heroes back then were Bella Abzug, Barbara Jordan and Shirley Chisholm–all determined fighters for women. In those days, NOW was the big supporter for Chisholm’s presidential candidacy; and it was Shirley Chisholm who publicly noted that she’d been held back more in life by being a woman than by being black. Unfortunately, in the early days, very few black women seemed to agree with Chisholm–they felt it was just the opposite way around for them–so it was difficult to recruit women of color, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

    We also never asked what someone’s politics were. The key was “sisterhood”. In those days I voted for any woman who was running for office, because the important thing was to help each other get ahead. We worked hard to gain respect for our sisters who chose to be stay-at-home moms, making sure that the public understood the economic value of their contribution to family life.

    First and foremost, our goal was equal rights: equal pay for equal work, not being refused promotion at work because we wanted to both work and have children, not belittling women who chose not to have children, and complete autonomy over our bodies and our medical decisions. Yes, those were the “good old days”, and we weren’t in the pockets of any politicians. To the contrary, we were gadfles, independent of the system. Personally, I’d like to see that again.

  24. I think my comment may have been eaten by spammy. Help?

  25. To me, none of them are worth a whit until I see how this rolls out. If they wanted dues from methey would have put Marcia Pappas in that slot since she’s the only one with the guts to tell it like it is, regardless of who tries to control her. As a consolation I am truly pleased to see that waste of fresh, Gandy go. But don’t you worry, she will get herself a nice Obama appointment.

  26. They say PUMAs swung the election except they call us “Palin supporters” like PUMAs are “Republicans” and “racist.” Get it? See the blog, vivalafeminista, for details.

    Lyles wasn’t brought down by her association with Gandy. It looks like she was almost an equal partner with Gandy during plummeting finances and membership:

    http://alegrescorner.soapblox.net/showDiary.do?diaryId=3168

    The National Organization for Women, Inc – Status – 501c(4)
    Kim Gandy, President
    Oldga Vives, Exec. VP
    Latifa Lyles, Membership VP
    Melody Drnach, Action VP

    The National Organization for Women Foundation – Status, – 501c(3)
    Kim Gandy, President
    Oldga Vives, Exec. VP
    Latifa Lyles, Secretary / Treas.
    Melody Drnach, Education VP

    The National Organization for Women PAC
    Kim Gandy, Chair
    Latifa Lyles, Treasurer

    The National Organization for Women Equality PAC
    Kim Gandy, Chair
    Latifa Lyles, Treasurer

    Lyles was exclusively in charge of membership and treasury so draw your own conclusions.

    • http://www.now.org/officers/ll.html

      She was in charge of membership since 2005 and fundraising (same thing? when you renew membership that is your annual donation) so she was the one overseeing ALL THOSE ANGRY PUMA letters and membership terminations in the last 18 months. I bet she told Third Wavers our letters were “racist.”

      I simply stopped paying a few years ago because NOW wasn’t cutting edge enough for me plus I am chronically outta cash.

  27. Wow- what a roller coaster. I’m a former (very former) NOW activist who knows several of the people involved well. Let’s be clear that several of those who have given scathing commentary about KG’s leadership and LL as well had significant power and opportunity while in leadership positions of their own to make NOW a strong and effective organization. Aren’t some of their records mixed as well? No reason not to hold people accountable but the politicking is pretty ridiculous sometimes.

    NOW remains less relevant than it could be, and will continue to be so, because NOW, on the ground, is often not accountable to creating multi-issue progressive change for women. I’ve seen people rise through the ranks that barely held Chapter meetings and actions and initiatives to work on platform issues that went less than nowhere.

    Most women I know who are doing the work, fighting poverty, defending clinics, fighting racism, fighting for GLBT wins — most of them are not involved with NOW at all. Don’t get me wrong, NOW will always have successful chapters and leaders throughout the country, but is NOW successfully getting better at making change for women? I’m not sure. I want NOW to be successful for women, but I’m not sure it’s been happening– and not just under KG and LL.

    As for all the folks saying NOW is too “inside the beltway,” I would check facts on that. Again, of course there can be a NOW effect, but many bills and progressive coalition wins happen without substantive leadership from NOW, (and that’s been the case for administrations other than Kim’s as well).

    Last, though I do not think NOW is the best way to invest my activist energy and resources, many people on this forum and in other blogs, etc. from around the web have no idea what they are talking about when blaming the membership ups and downs on these two folks. These are the same two folks, if I recall correctly, that were part of the team building membership up in the first place.

    Here’s to the new team that is coming in. NOW could be much more and could be a real example of how feminist progressive folk could achieve together. YES in Washington, and YES in Peoria, Sacramento, Flint, etc.

  28. Patricia Ireland in Salon:

    How strange to read criticism of National NOW’s website and its status quo in general, but then a recommendation that the incumbent, Latifa Lyles is the solution! Latifa is one of the current officers and represents the status quo in NOW. She is running on her record – which has been to have NOW function like a traditional inside-the-Beltway organization. For those of us who are concerned that the retreat to backroom meetings and insider politics will backfire and hurt women’s rights, the choice is clear. Terry O’Neill will have a wider array of targets in her sites: yes, government, of course, but also Wall Street and Wal-Mart, the media and the military,religion and familiies…all the institution that shape women’s lives. And she vows a wider array of tactics to hold our friend and our foes accountable to improve the lives of all women — women in poverty, lesbians, women with disabilities, women of all ages, races and ethnicities.

  29. The Obama state-run media is not going to report this story. It goes against their agenda.

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