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

Monday, May 4, 2015

National Organization for Women, Asheville, to Join Protest of N.C.G.A. House Bill 465 at Pack Square Today

Government scrutiny of women’s private medical decisions lies in the balance if this anti-abortion measure is enacted, along with tripling the forced waiting periods to obtain a legal, safe abortion in the state

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The National Organization for Women, Asheville Chapter, stands in solidarity with other women’s groups protesting North Carolina General Assembly House Bill 465. A protest is slated for 5:30 p.m., today, Monday, May 4, at Pack Square Park Amphitheater, 60 Court Plaza.  

H.B. 465 as it currently stands triples the forced waiting period to obtain a legal abortion to three full days – up from the 24 hour waiting period enacted in 2011. Additionally, the measure would require doctors to submit a woman’s confidential medical records to the state Department of Health and Human Services for review.

“Women have the right to safe and legal abortion care without discriminatory waiting periods. This level of government interference and scrutiny of a woman’s private medical decisions is untenable,” says Sherri McLendon, president of Asheville NOW.

“House Bill 465 takes what is ultimately a private matter between a woman and her doctor, and turns it into a matter of public record,” she says.

North Carolina NOW outlines significant, additional restrictions to safe women’s reproductive health care which would go into effect should the proposed legislation become law:

  • Restricts what counts as a true medical emergency in order to narrow the exception to the state’s 20-week abortion ban
  •   Requires the physician “causing miscarriage or abortion after the 18th week” to provide a woman’s private medical information to DHHS, including the gestational age of the fetus and an ultrasound with its measurements;
  • After the 20th week, requires the physician to submit to DHHS the findings and analysis of a woman’s private medical records determining when a pregnancy threatens the life or gravely impairs the health of the woman.
  •  Adds costly, time-consuming reporting requirements to physicians and their staff.
  •  Interferes with women who miscarry by submitting them to the same treatment as a woman who chooses to have an abortion. 
Issued by the  Asheville Chapter of the National Organization for Women,

Version 2 of HB465, is at  The latest version is at, simply type HB465 as the bill for 2015/2016 in the upper right corner. 

Read more about the bill and about what happened in the House meeting at .

Friday, April 3, 2015

Women's Power Hour: Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Event with Author Cynthia Drew NOW April 8, 6 p.m., Avenue M on Merrimon Avenue

Did 123 Women Die in Vain? Join us for the riveting issue of the historic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire with Asheville Author Cynthia Drew.

Examining A Woman's Worth: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, Workplace Conditions, and NC's Unresolved Issues

On April 8, we'll gather to take a closer look at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, New York's deadliest workplace accident, which marked its 104th anniversary on March 25.

Nearly 150 individuals perished in the avoidable tragedy - rendered all the more poignant in light of North Carolina's own industrial past. The exploited workers killed that day were mostly young women, recent immigrants of Jewish and Italian descent.

President Obama referred to the fire as " The Triangle factory fire was a galvanizing moment, calling American leaders to reexamine their approach to workplace conditions and the purpose of unions." The current Fair Wages debates regarding women and workplace conditions make this a particularly relevant look at this unresolved issue in our nation's and state's present labor challenges.


At the event, women will meet and greet Asheville author Cynthia Drew,, who will talk about her novel, "City of Slaughter," which is set against the dramatic backdrop of this historic event.

Drew teaches Creative Writing at UNC-Asheville's Reuter Center and her award-winning short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals
and anthologies.

The author worked for several years in New York City's garment
district. She will answer questions following the screening of a respected History Channel documentary on this critical event.

Avenue M PARKING: For convenience, our members have been invited to park at one of the banks across the street from the venue free of charge.

Avenue M SPECIALS: Wednesdays feature one-half price wine specials at Avenue M. Members and friends are encouraged to order food and drinks before, during or after the event.

Avenue M INFO & MAP:

Meeting Reminders! Watch your email in-box for our announcements.

Come to our 2nd Sunday monthly MEETING 2:30 p.m. YWCA, S. French Broad Street, and bring a friend. Newcomers may attend two meetings prior to joining, and we encourage all voices to be heard whether a member or not. (Note: Executive Committee meets at 2 p.m. prior to the membership meeting.) All current members are invited to attend.

Mark your calendar monthly for the Asheville Women's Power Hour for a one-of-a-kind meeting to network, build relationships, and create transformation in our public, professional, and private lives. Sponsored by Asheville NOW.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

North Carolina's 'Commitment' to Women's Civil Rights Marked by ERA Introduction 2015

By Marena Groll
Guest Commentator

The introduction of the ERA will mark North Carolina’s commitment to civil rights, which was supposed to create equal economic opportunity.  Women are 51.3% of the North Carolina population, according to the latest U.S. Census figures. 
Groll, June 2014 Bennett College, Greensboro

As recent history has shown, pay equity for women remains a significant problem. Although there are laws on the books against discrimination in pay, the U.S. Constitution does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, effectively relegating women to an unequal or lower class of citizen.  This inequality compromises women by affording them lesser redress and a lower standard of judicial scrutiny under the Constitution to challenge sex discrimination.

Women continue to be targets of sex discrimination due to systemic failings threatening our very survival. We are physically injured, abused and raped in epidemic numbers and yet this violence is not taken as a serious, egregious violation of our constitutional rights, resulting in further threats to survival and that of our spouses and children.

These are not the only forms of injustice we endure. Moreover, existing laws designed to protect us from the injustice of sex discrimination are not comprehensive or fully inclusive and can be rolled back by a simple congressional vote. Therefore, women cannot continue to be asked to wait for their civil right to equal constitutional protection to become a priority. It must be a priority now.