Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I will present at National NOW conference this weekend

I am so excited to leave NY today for FL, for the National Organization for Women (NOW) National Conference this weekend.

Although the conference begins Friday, I will arrive earlier for the
National NOW Board of Directors meeting Thursday.  I am excited to see the board members, most of whom I have not seen since the last in-person meeting in October, 2010.  I am constantly impressed and inspired by the talented members, with diverse backgrounds and skills.

Micah Bochart, my husband and fellow NOW
NY State Young Feminist Task Force member, will join me not only for the feminist fun, but also on two of the workshops I will present on.  I am excited and nervous about presenting on FOUR separate workshops.  There were many workshop proposals submitted; I am honored the conference organizers accepted four of mine.  They are below. 

I will be live tweeting from the conference, using my Twitter handle @JerinNOW, as well as updating on Facebook.  I will post all the photos when I return. 

I wish all of you could be there with me, to connect to and be inspired by the hundreds of activists from across the nation.  Speaking of inspiration, I cannot wait to meet Sonia Pressman Fuentes in person on Saturday, when she receives an award for being one of the NOW founders.  Sonia has been kindly mentoring me the last few months; I am going to give her the biggest hug ever.

Workshops I will present on:

Breakout Session I: Friday, 11:00am - 12:30pm
[ORGANIZING TRACK] Engaging and Mentoring a New Generation of Feminists
Citrus Room
The most important challenge facing feminists is to assure that our movement continues in future generations. Young feminists across the nation are doing great work in attracting fresh faces and new energy. This workshop will share tips, tactics and insights in educating and mobilizing new activists, specifically from the experiences of the National and New York State Young Feminist Task Forces. Suggestions on types of campaigns, actions and issues that appeal to the next generations will be covered. In addition, panelists will talk about the NOW feminist mentorship pilot program intended to bridge generational gaps, share knowledge and provide mutual support. Accomplishments of YFTF leaders, such as passing ground-breaking legislation about phony crisis pregnancy centers and promotion of better campus sexual assault policies, will be highlighted.
Erin Matson and N. Jerin Arifa (Co-Moderators), Elisabeth Crum, Micah Bochart, Dominique Gelen

Breakout Session II: Friday, 3:45pm - 5:15pm
Anti-Immigrant Sentiment, Domestic Violence, and Families: A Narrative of Liberation
Salon B
This multi-faceted workshop will address a series of urgent problems confronting women immigrants and their feminist allies. Panelists will review the extent of anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S. and related laws, such as the harsh new Arizona law, SB 1070. They will also comment on the DREAM Act, Violence Against Women Act and the U Visa for battered immigrant women. Panelists will then discuss barriers that battered immigrant women face with abusers' threats, language differences and fears of deportation. Additional topics will cover stressors affecting Latinas and counseling strategies for empowerment. Finally, speakers will describe Project Speak Out being used by Asian-American agencies in New York to prevent domestic violence.
Maria del C. Rodriquez (Moderator), Jeanette Ocasio, Jessica Moreno, N. Jerin Arifa

Breakout Session III: Saturday, 9:00am - 10:30am
Raising the Bar for Feminist Men: How to Promote Equality in Relationships
Salon C
Being a productive member of the feminist movement often requires more conscious effort from men than it does from women. Our male allies get enormous credit for simply showing up, and while that's nice, they sometimes create problems while trying to be helpful. The urge to rescue a "damsel in distress" is still deeply ingrained in our male-dominated culture. The idea of male feminism still remains, at best, a novelty. This multi-media workshop will cover several distinctions: the best ways to live with, support and nurture a powerful woman; identifying the "box" men are in and enabling them to finally think outside of it; and using "partnership" instead of "domination" techniques in a relationship. Come join this interactive and stimulating workshop.
N. Jerin Arifa (Moderator) Ken Gruberman, Ben Atherton-Zeman, Micah Bochart

Breakout Session IV: Saturday, 10:45am - 12:15pm
Behind the Veil: Islam and Women's Rights
Salon B
With the recent burqa ban in France, there has been much talk about the role of women in Islam. Is Islam inherently sexist? Can a woman actually choose to cover herself? As feminists, should we have a goal of helping to liberate Muslim women? What is the role of women in the recent Arab Spring? Workshop panelists include a human rights activist who has traveled extensively in conflict regions; an American of Palestinian and Egyptian descent outspoken on feminism and the Middle East and North African uprisings; and a civil rights legal fellow at the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Tampa. Come to an honest and eye-opening dialogue about the role of women in Islam, and learn how both Muslim and non-Muslim feminists can work together to further feminism.
N. Jerin Arifa (Moderator), Amala M. Abdur-Rahman, Neveen Nawawy, Laila Abdelaziz


N. Jerin Arifa
National NOW Board of Directors
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
National Organization for Women (NOW)
Twitter: JerinNOW

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