Saturday, January 24, 2015


Women's Advocacy Day in Raleigh is Tuesday, Feb. 24, from 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., Raleigh. Representatives from your chapter are going to knock on doors in the State Capital. You can, too. Here's how.

A. Register IN ADVANCE. Here is the registration form. 
 Please preview it, as you may wish to check in with the NOW Chapter before completing it. 

B. Let the Asheville NOW Chapter know you're coming. Email Tell us if you need a ride, want to room with Asheville women, or wish to meet with a particular legislator or represent a specific issue.

C. Identify your legislative representatives. (1) Go to NC Public Voter Search and look up your personal information. (2) Go to the NCGA Representation page, and enter the results from step (1).

D. Familiarize yourself with your issue and what you can expect during your visit to the State Capital. Asheville Chapter officers will likely choose to talk about the ERA, but you can choose a different focus area.

For more information on this year's Women's Advocacy Agenda priorities and training sessions you can attend prior to meeting with legislators, visit the NC Women United event page. It's chock full of great "INTEL."

E. Check in  on the FaceBook event page. (1) Click "Going." (2) See if you have friends headed to Raleigh that day. (3) Network and think about forming coalitions for future action. Bring that thinking back to the chapter. (4) Share the heck out of the invitation and encourage other women to attend.


The Asheville NOW chapter officers will room at the Red Roof Plus, 1813 S. Saunders St., Raleigh.  If you make your own reservations, we got a great rate through

As each person is responsible for the cost of her/his accommodations, currently estimated to be in the $50 range for the two night stay, we recommend the "stack and pack" approach. If funds or availability of specific types of food are needed, please pack snacks. Breakfast is included with the room reservation.


Individuals who are driving will be able to provide transportation for some women who'd rather not. Only the driver will be able to charge her phone in the car, so please remember your wall chargers. We're going to need fully charged cell batteries.


Essential attire may be limited to 2 casual wear outfits, 1 "corporate" professional outfit/suit, your PJs, and an outer layer. Please limit yourself to one small case or duffel including your electronic devices, and your handbag.

You may need comfortable shoes that fit in your bag if you plan to wear heels Tuesday. We don't know how much walking or standing is involved. Those who do not wish to carry a handbag may want to bring a travel belt to wear under their clothes, as lunch will be on our own.


The Asheville NOW Chapter may choose to meet up for dinner on Monday, Feb. 24, to discuss our plan of action for the next day. Here's what we know.

Sound like fun? Then let's get going!

Women's Power Hour Feb. 19: Examining A Woman's Worth

The first monthly Asheville Women's Power Hour will be February 19, third Thursday, at 6 p.m. To receive notification when the location has been confirmed, please click on the NOW logo in the right sidebar to sign up to receive our news and information.

The Women's Power Hour will be a monthly event issues uniquely of value to women. During these events, women from all walks of life will build relationships and create transformation in our public, professional, and private lives. 

All Women's Power Hour events are sponsored by Asheville NOW. 

February's topic will be:

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

In honor of February as Women's History Month, and in advance of International Women's Day on March 8, we'll take a closer look at the  Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, New York's deadliest workplace accident, on the threshold of its 104th anniversary of 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.

For more information on this and other events, email

Asheville NOW Chapter Changes Meeting Day to 2nd Sunday

The Asheville NOW Chapter has changed its regular meeting day to Second Sundays.

The Chapter Officers and Directors will convene at 2 p.m. Voting members, those with their dues payments in good standing, are invited to attend.

The inclusive At-Large Meeting including members, supporters, guests and friends will convene at 2:30 p.m. Non-members have voice, but not a vote, at these important strategy meetings. The meeting will give way to networking from 3:30-4 p.m.

Due to our shared interest in Women's Empowerment, Second Sunday meetings are monthly and permanently held at the YWCA on S. French Broad Street, Asheville.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Today in Herstory: Unknown Asheville Woman in Photo #18 Circa 1904

Today, the Carolina Public Press published a story about a unique find of a 1904 photo album of Asheville. Here is the link to that interesting piece. Don't miss reading it and seeing the entire collection for yourself. It's quite a journey.

After marveling at the architecture, some of it lost to time and circumstance, I began to notice a pattern: all the photos are of men and male children, both Caucasian and African American with only one exception. 

Photo #18. 
Previously unknown photo from 1904, now in the North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Library.

One day in 1904, a woman in Asheville, who might have been anyone, chose to take a walk in Riverside Park on the footpath next to the lake. There an unknown photographer was to capture her image: white starched shirt with its neck high collar, respectable ankle length skirt, requisite day hat perched horizontally atop her pouf, carrying a practical umbrella.

This single woman is placed in a diminutive position in the left margin of the photo of the lake. In terms of placement, the left margin is a weak position on the page. Notice that her figure is both at the margin of the lake, often in Western Literary tradition symbolizing emotional weakness and disappointment, and also at the margin of the frame, her features undiscernable. 

She is quite literally marginized, and somehow associated with nature, something else to be plundered and pillaged as a resource for a world of men, by men, and for men.

When we next consider the large numbers of men gathered around a fountain on Pack Square, or the inclusion of the African-American YMCA, the all-men's Asheville Social Club, and the Men's Temperance Union-founded Normal College, also known as Weaver College," we become aware of a gender-centric depiction of locations and organizations systematically excluding women.

One hundred and eleven years later, the view of women and their issues and viewpoints continue to be marginalized in a male-dominated world view. As women are no more full citizens than they were in 1904, let's put this photo somewhat into context.

When photo #18 was taken in 1904, women had no rights at all, having been specifically excluded from the language in the 13th and 14th amendments. Historically, women have been considered social, legal, and economic extensions of the male members of their households: husbands, fathers, sons, something that remains the case in the underlying assumptions of much legislation being crafted today. Something seen by 21st male politicians as desirable to maintaining the status quo, while women's citizenship, equality and autonomy are depicted as undesirable, and the legality of gender discrimination is dismissed in an offhand manner by Supreme Court Justices.

Unlike freed slaves, women remained the property of their husbands, who also retained ownership of the children, all marital  property, and were subject to decisions made by men. The 19th amendment and the exclusive right to vote would not come until 1920, and in many states, the right to own property in one's own name would come later. The treatment of women as property and without the rights to make their own decisions about their health care, choice to not have children, say no to sex, continues. To date, the right to vote is the only guaranteed right women are granted under the constitution. To get anything else, we are expected to ask, beg, bed, plead, cajole, and play nice. If we don't, we are "unwomanly." Generations of our gender have heard these arguments before us.

In 1904, Helen Keller graduated from Radcliffe. The first wave of suffragettes was on the wane; it was two years after the death of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and two years prior to the loss of Susan B. Anthony.  The second wave was stepping into those spaces and working to fill the void. 1904 was the year Anna Howard Shaw became president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in order to to free up Carrie Chapman Catt to join British women's rights activist Millicent Fawcett in the formation of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. Our unknown woman on her solo walk had likely heard of such matters, but had likely been told not to worry her head about those pernicious ideas which would be the ruin of Society as she knew it.

Lastly, in this cursory treatment of these topics, we must not ignore the matter of race as opposed to gender as it may be viewed in this collection. Media critics trained academically would likely tell you that noticing the difference in scale in the depictions between white and black subjects in the photos is important. And it is. The differences in ethnicity are measurable, literally that the African Americans in the photos mostly appear smaller in scale, and that the Caucasian men are more prominent and appear larger, more numerous, and more affluent in comparison. But one amazing thing to me is that African American buildings and architecture is represented so significantly in a collection of photos taken professionally during this period. Photo #18 leads me to believe these men of color already rank higher in the social strata than women of any origin. After all, slavery was abolished by the 13th amendment in 1865, and citizenship followed soon thereafter in the 14th amendment in 1868. African American men were granted the right to vote in the 15th amendment in 1870, 34 years before these photos were taken. They were included, separate, but with rights as full citizens. Women, on the whole, were not included. They did not, and do not, have rights as full citizens.

Isn't it time women belong only to themselves?

This essay represents views of Asheville National Organization for Women chapter president Sherri L. McLendon, and does not necessarily reflect the views of individual chapter members.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

NCGA Session Begins Jan. 14: What's a Woman to Do?

40 Years Ago Today: A Jan. 13, 1975 news
advertisement from  Bartlesville, OK
Did you know that it took fair state of North Carolina until 1971 to ratify the 1920 Constitutional Amendment giving women the right to vote? The pre-1953 style anti-woman politics we've seen from the legislature these last two years is appalling, and may we suggest, insulting, to 21st century women who believe in their right to self-determination and bodily autonomy. But when the North Carolina General Assembly session begins Jan. 14, we don't have to sit idly waiting for unfavorable decisions, like the 'Motorcycle Vagina Bill' to be handed down without question.We can choose to take action instead.

Here are 3 things every woman can do to get good bills out of committee and into the hands of good lawmakers:

1. Write letters about key women's issues to your legislators.

Legislators are insulated from their constituents due to geography, safety concerns, and the business of legislation. It follows that important women's issues don't make it onto their radar when we're silent, and silence is often mistaken for compliance, agreement, or unconcern. What better way to change the status quo than to write a letter about important women's issues, your position, and your reasons? When enough letters show up, the topic gets a second look. Then a third.

2. Show up at a women's civil rights event.

With Women's History Month on the near horizon, we should begin to see a number of events featuring the contributions of female leaders. Some of those will even offer opportunities for direct involvement in the legislative process, while others focus on protest actions. Where to start? Why not "Google" the N.C. Women United's Feb. 24 event in honor of Women's Advocacy Day? Or plan to attend our upcoming local meeting on 2nd Sunday in February at 2:30  p.m. at the YWCA on S. French Broad, and discuss your civil rights with other concerned women, and help us make a big deal of of issues that are a big deal.

3. Join your local chapter of the National Organization for Women.

Local chapters like the one in Asheville are passionate about women's issues. If you have had quite enough from our duly elected state legislators and want to increase public awareness about women's issues, NOW offers you hands on opportunities to do exactly that - plus, you get to choose your area and level of involvement. Or, if you're already an at-large member of NOW, but are not involved at the local level, we invite you to bring it home by designating your local affiliation.

Email Asheville NOW: A Leading Voice for Women, at, and ask for information about how to become a member. To get women's news you can use, sign up for our e-news and correspondence on the top right of this page.