Thursday, August 13, 2015

So You're a New Asheville NOW Member: What now?

If you're not willing turn your back to women's issues, you may ask about the best ways to make a statement and get heard. Here's a basic map you can follow if you choose. But if you want to fast track your involvement, you can do that, too. 
Facing the SCOTUS Rulings: 2014 AVL "Bitter Pill" Rally

Here's how to move "Forward, Not Back" as a NOW Member:

Today: Take a few moments to sign up at right for our meeting notices as well as news and actions regarding women's issues. When you opt in, you automatically receive current information from us. If you want to get news from the blog without revisiting the web site, you'll want to look for that little orange box allowing you to get the feed delivered in your email box, too.

This Month: Visit a NOW meeting or attend a NOW event. As a rule of thumb, meetings are second Sundays monthly, and there's no charge to check us out. Though we have formal agendas and use an established rules of order, we also make time and space to discuss issues, share insights and brainstorm solutions. If you want to get involved, you've only to raise your hand to claim your space at the table. And we do other things too: rallies, outreach projects, and public or state events.

Next Month: We hope  you'll attend your next meeting or event as a new member. When you join the chapter, you also become a member of North Carolina NOW and National NOW. Your new member card and packet will arrive in the mail, and you'll be a card-carrying member of NOW. 

60-90 days: Throwing your hat in the ring to work on - or even chair - a project or committee is a great way to move into choosing a role. Our committees function by concensus, so you're on equal footing with the entire team.

3-6 months: About once per quarter, the NOW chapter road trips to other locations in the state or nation in order to take part in issue-centered, coalition building activities. Road trips are super awesome bonding experiences. What happens on the road, stays on the road. We've been known to change history from our hotel rooms while on a road trip.

6 months: By now, you've enjoyed some successes, worked with a wide range of personalities, and learned enough to see where the problems lie. Instead of disappearing, why not consider stepping into a bigger role. If you were leading, what would you change? What is the first step to that change? Offer to do that, and lay the groundwork for the change you wish to see.

1 year: You're a renewing member, and that's to be celebrated! We're lifting a glass to our successes. Tell me: what have we achieved? What lies ahead? Your heart's desire as a NOW member is important. Share your vision - and get into action. As an active member, you're in the driver's seat and the owner's manual is yours to write.

Sherri L. McLendon is 2015 president of Asheville NOW. Email her and the chapter at

Saturday, June 13, 2015

National Defense Authorization Act: 2015 Military and Women's Issue

Please take action and forward this to your members, allies, coalition partners.

The Senate is continuing consideration of the FY 16 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2015 and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D- New York) will be offering her bill – the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2015 – as amendment 1578. A vote on that amendment will be TUESDAY, June 16, if the Senate’s plans run smoothly. We are asking everyone to call their senators Washington, D.C. offices ASAP!

MJIA will require an experienced special prosecutor to handle military sexual assault cases, ultimately taking the process out of the chain of command.
The message is simplePlease vote for Sen. Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act of 2015. It is essentially the same as legislation from the 113th Congress, but Sen. Gillibrand has added improvements to address retaliation and obstruction of justice.  She will be offering this bill as an amendment to the defense authorization bill on Tuesday, June 16.

If you need a review of the issue, talking points or the latest reports, please go to        

NOW has been working on improving the military’s response to sexual assault for many years now. While Congress has passed – and the military has initiated – many improvements, women and men in the military are still experiencing sexual assault and finding little recourse or confidence in the military justice system. Cover-ups and retaliation are still high, and victims still do not report this crime fearing that little will be done to the perpetrator and that their careers will be over.

The main objective of the bill is to improve the assault survivor’s access to justice by removing the decision to prosecute these crimes from the military “chain of command.” Also, there is a new provision in the bill that protects victims against retaliation. We need this policy changed immediately. According to the Pentagon, 62% of female sexual assault victims who reported their assaults experienced retaliation – a rate unchanged over the last two years.

We must have an independent, non-biased and experienced military prosecutor system to more effectively handle sexual assault complaints.

Please contact your senators and ask them to vote for Amendment 1578 on Tuesday, June 16. Please contact your senators’ offices NOW!

Our top focus should be on these senators:
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Ia.); Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mt.); Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) Sen. Jon Tester (D- Mt.); Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.); and, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.)

Here are the chiefs of staff for key senators who need to be called and urged to vote for the Military Justice Improvement Act, Amendment 1578, on Tuesday:

Bonnie Grabenhofer
Vice President ActionNational Organization for Women1100 H Street, NW, Suite 300Washington, DC 20005202-628-8669 ext. 110