Why NOW needs new leadership, and why you should care

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 · 18 Comments »

UPDATE: On June 22, 2009, Jezebel ran an article entitled “Was NOW Presidency Hijacked By Anti-Choice Palin Supporters?” The article was based entirely on a wildly misinformed blog post by Veronica Arreola, who heard and repeated a bizarre rumor that “Sarah Palin supporters” swung the NOW election. This is absurd. There were no Sarah Palin supporters involved in the election (and I doubt seriously if there are any Sarah Palin supporters within the NOW membership.) Latifa Lyles and her slate were defeated by Terry O’Neill and her slate (Erin Matson, Allendra Letsome, and Bonnie Grabenhofer), none of whom are Palin supporters. Terry was backed by Patricia Ireland, Olga Vives, Carol Moseley Braun, Susan Faludi, and many NOW chapter presidents and state presidents, none of whom are Palin supporters. They supported Terry and opposed Latifa because Latifa was Kim Gandy’s candidate, and Kim Gandy had run the organization into the ground financially. When Terry’s supporters passed out information at the convention showing the financial picture, Kim Gandy started a desperate rumor that the numbers weren’t accurate and that anti-choice “Palin supporters” were behind it.

It is an incredible disservice to Terry O’Neill, Erin Matson, Allendra Letsome, Bonnie Grabenhofer, Carol Moseley Bruan, Susan Faludi, Olga Vives, and countless NOW officers and members to continue to perpetuate this absurd lie.

One other thing: Megan Carpentier, the author of the Jezebel article, refused to publish my comment. In the article she accused me of suggesting that “voting for a man is an anti-feminist act.” This is ridiculous. I have never suggested any such thing. Furthermore, I have certainly never suggested that feminism demands that we vote for Sarah Palin. By attributing such nonsense to me, Carpentier is simply making things up.


If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you already know that many of the leaders of the feminist establishment in this country behaved shamefully last year. (And if you don’t know it, read this and this and this and this). If life were an Akira Kurosawa movie, Ellie Smeal and Kim Gandy would commit ritual seppuku in public to atone for the grave dishonor they did to the feminist movement. But lo, dig it! Life is not an Akira Kurosawa movie! And so instead of graciously offing themselves or at least promising to stop being dishonest Obama-enabling hacks, Ellie and Kim and cohorts keep doing shit. Like this! And this! And this!

Which is why they must be replaced.

Terry O'Neill for NOW President

Terry O'Neill for NOW President

NOW used to be an honorable and effective organization, and it can be again. I know some of you are too fed up to care anymore, but here’s the thing: NOW is still the biggest feminist group in the country. More to the point, it’s still the number one go-to joint when the media wants to know whether something or somebody (hint hint) is doing right by the women of America. So it would be really good to have someone other than Kim Gandy or her cohorts on the horn.

Which brings me to the subject of this post. Kim Gandy’s tenure as president of NOW is up, and the election for her replacement is in June. Kim’s hand-picked successor is Latifa Lyles, NOW’s current Vice President for Membership. I’ve got nothing against Latifa personally, though I do note that membership has dropped during her tenure as the membership director, which is possibly not an encouraging sign. But the main problem with Latifa is that she’s the choice of Kim Gandy and Ellie Smeal (they’re a team, you unnerstan). She’s their candidate. With Latifa we will get more of the same, only samer.

Instead, we need to support Terry O’Neill. Terry and her slate are running against the Kimandellie team, and they will bring the change that’s needed. As Terry says:

“Women around the country are fed up with persistent inequality and ready to put justice for women at center stage. I’m ready to lead NOW in making that happen. Upon election, I’ll launch a series of action campaigns to demand the things women need to achieve real equality. I’ll also restore NOW’s financial health by bringing together our vendors, donors and leaders to work with me in implementing a plan to reverse our membership losses and renew our message and mission.”

What we need to do is:

1. Help spread the word about Terry’s slate: Feminist Leadership NOW.

2. Go to the national NOW conference in June in Indianapolis and vote. If you are a NOW member and you can attend the national conference, get in touch with me. Write to me at violetsocks@reclusiveleftist.com and I will hook you up with the right folks.

Filed under: Various and Sundry · Tags:

18 Responses to “Why NOW needs new leadership, and why you should care”

  1. tpfka nycblue says:

    Do you have to attend the NOW conference to vote? Or can you vote absentee? If I join up NOW, will I be able to vote?

    I’ll get behind anyone you recommend, Dr. Violet Socks!

  2. Violet says:

    Yes, you do have to attend the conference to vote:

    What You Need to Know About Voting at the National Conference

  3. Nora says:

    I am completely digusted with NOW and its leadership. I would like to support anyone Violet supports, but realistically what is cited here is pretty thin. Is Feminism of the future just going to be about gay rights? It seems like almost every Feminist site I go to ends up spending more time on gay rights.

    I need more information than this to care who runs this, currently useless, organization.

  4. Northwest rain says:

    Oh damn — I just don’t care what happens to NOW. I was a member years ago and then they went weird/bananas/nut-so and they got worse.

    This organization should be allowed to DIE and be buried.

    Something better and stronger will grow in its place.

    NOW has a terminal case of misogyny — they went over to the enemy. Period.

  5. samanthasmom says:

    It’s time for NOW to change its name to THEN.

  6. Anna Belle says:

    I like this idea. Why recreate the wheel when we can just take this wheel back from the folks who mired it in the mud? This is called activism. It’s a lot more helpful than whining or holding a grudge.

    I live in Indiana, so I can make some of the days for this. I’m busy that Friday, but Saturday and Sunday are open for me. Do I need to join NOW to vote? On what day is the voting taking place?

  7. Anna Belle says:

    Modded. Dang.

  8. Destinee Lopez says:

    I want to see NOW grow and prosper but I want feminism and women helping women to grow more, I am fine if you don’t like Kim or Ellie but you spend more time on a personal attack than any substance on Terry. What has she done for NOW? I’m a long time NOW member and last time I looked Terry stepped down and supported Latifa. Terry is just a puppet for Olga from what I hear. Latifa is a woman of color and so is Sonia on her slate. The whole slate is strong. I like Terry but her slate is weak. Two of them don’t even have full time jobs.

  9. Violet says:

    I am fine if you don’t like Kim or Ellie but you spend more time on a personal attack than any substance on Terry.

    Reviewing Kim and Ellie’s violation of feminist principles isn’t a “personal attack”; it’s the reason they need to go.

    I linked to Terry’s page, which gives her bio and her platform.

    The rest of your remarks are so confused that I don’t know what you’re talking about. What has Terry done for NOW (aside from a lifetime)? Terry has stepped down and supported Latifa? What?

    And by the way, Terry’s slate also includes a woman of color and a Hispanic.

  10. Anna Belle says:

    Not to mention, not having a full-time job is a PLUS when it comes to activism. There’s more time to be, you know, active and shit.

  11. Sis says:

    Not to mention–your mother?

  12. Reclusive Leftist » Blog Archive » NOW rises from the dead, speaks says:

    [...] Why NOW needs new leadership, and why you should care [...]

  13. Spare us the excuses « The Widdershins says:

    [...] Any NOW members who would like to see a change in Leadership, read Violet Socks post here. You will know what to do! For some reason I can’t get onto Violets website. If you can, [...]

  14. Edgeoforever says:

    My commentary re: NOW’s dereliction of duty

  15. NOW they notice?( Palin isn’t a Dude) « Not Your Sweetie says:

    [...] Or better yet, as the Reclusive Leftist recommends, change their leadership [...]

  16. Terry O’Neill Elected NOW President « The Confluence says:

    [...] For an explanation of why Violet is elated go here [...]

  17. CarolynK says:

    Good news on the election. I left NOW in 1986 when Ellie Smeal decided to challenge Judy Goldsmith’s reelection bid and defeated Goldsmith. I attended what I call NOW’s 1986 Battle of New Orleans. It was not a feminist experience.

  18. Reclusive Leftist » Blog Archive » We won! We won! We won! says:

    [...] Why NOW needs new leadership, and why you should care [...]