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Wednesday, December 18, 2013
NOW's long list of accomplishments in 2013
News & Action Summary: Special End of Year Edition
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Message from Bonnie Grabenhofer
What a year it has been! 2013 has given us much to celebrate - especially the work of NOW activists around the country standing up for women's freedom and empowerment.
After a long, drawn-out fight, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was reauthorized and expanded to protect previously under-served populations: women in the LGBT community, Native American women, women on college campuses and immigrant women.
Some of our biggest wins this year came in the battle for marriage equality, bringing the total to 16 states and the District of Columbia which have legalized marriage for same-sex couples. The United States Supreme Court overturned California's ban on same-sex marriage (Proposition 8) and struck down key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), ensuring same-sex married couples equitable access to the federal safety net.
With Janet Yellen's nomination to chair the Federal Reserve, another crack has been made in the glass ceiling. Dr. Yellen's nomination is good news for women, working families and everyone who cares about job creation in this country. We are going to do all we can to ensure that she will be confirmed.
Bonnie Grabenhofer, Action Vice President
Message from Chitra Panjabi
NOW's grassroots activists worked tirelessly this year to beat back some of the worst attacks on reproductive rights.
State restrictions on abortion access continue to erupt all over the country, but we were able to successfully counter the first municipal ballot measure to ban abortion at 20 weeks in Albuquerque, NM. Over the summer, NOW launched the "We're Not Fooled" campaign; it has been a highly successful tool that highlights and holds accountable the right wing extremists who want to turn back the clock on our hard-won gains.
Last May, the Federal Drug Administration approved sales of emergency contraception over the counter without age restrictions. NOW and its allies have long called upon the agency to take politics out of this decision and ensure that this safe and effective product is available to all who need it -- and we finally succeeded!
Legislation for fair, comprehensive immigration reform has yet to materialize, but working in coalition with our partners, we have reshaped the debate to include the struggle of immigrant women. Women's groups -- recognizing the shared issues between the movements -- have joined immigrant rights groups in demanding reform. NOW's very own president, Terry O'Neill, was arrested in an act of civil disobedience in September on this very issue.
One last note: this year's Love Your Body Day was a huge success and I am thrilled to have moderated our Google hangout on body image. We are grateful to our participants, Tamura Lomax and Heidi Lewis, for their time.
Chitra Panjabi, Membership Vice President
Message from Terry O'Neill
I cannot tell you how grateful I am to all of you, NOW's amazing, intrepid activists and supporters.
Thanks to your dedication - contacting legislators, writing letters to the editor, making phone calls, rallying, protesting and more - the women's movement has been a force to contend with in 2013. I hope your heart swelled with pride (I know mine did) as you read Chitra's and Bonnie's descriptions of the wins we achieved together this year. Thank you so much.
I'm excited about our plans for the coming year. We're going to work harder than ever to close the gender wage gap, raise the minimum wage, ensure universal access to safe, medically appropriate abortion care and contraception, and win marriage equality for same-sex couples. That means ensuring that women from all walks of life get engaged, stay engaged and mobilize to make change in their communities, their states, and the nation. So stay tuned. We have a lot of work to do together!
Thank you all again, for sharing with me the sheer joy of moving forward and fighting back.
NOW chapters -- along with our allies -- planned actions at 1,448 Walmart stores in 46 states. The #Walmartstrikers hashtag trended on Twitter (no small accomplishment) with more than 83,000 tweets; a great many of those tweets came from NOW chapters. This was by far the most successful Black Friday yet!