Minnesota Feminists Speak Out!

The unofficial blog of Minnesota NOW

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A Letter from the President-What Will the New Year Bring?

Today marks the first day of the 2015 Minnesota Legislative session, and Minnesota NOW would like to accomplish so many things, including:

  • Pass the CHEER (Contraceptive Health Equity and Employee Rights) Act. The CHEER Act will prevent companies in Minnesota from discriminating against their female employees by denying them preventive health care;
  • Pass science-based and sex-positive sex education legislation;
  • Defund Crisis Pregnancy Clinics, who provide misleading, incomplete, and inaccurate information to pregnant women in need;
  • Pass Sick and Safe Leave legislation;
  • Pass Equal Rights Amendment legislation in Minnesota and put the vote before the people;
  • Revise the language in the MN Human Rights statute to be more inclusive and provide greater protections, in particular for LGBTQIA and people of color;
  • Support passage of a $15 Minimum Wage;
  • Ensure adequate funding for prevention of sexual assault and human trafficking.

I wish that I could be optimistic about achieving these goals, but given the make-up of this new legislature, it is more realistic that we will provide the best possible defense to those who would roll back our hard-fought rights in our six core issues: Constitutional Equality, Racial Justice, Reproductive Rights, LGBTQIA Rights, Economic Justice, and Freedom from Violence.

Do not think that this means we have become timid. We will continue to push the envelope and fight not just for what is easy, but for what is right. We will continue to build our coalitions and recruit more activists to join our feminist horde.

In solidarity,

Beth Johnson, President of Minnesota NOW                                                                   Organize-best defense is a good offense

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By Beth Anderson, Minnesota NOW Fundraising Chair


You have no doubt heard about our Technology Fundraising Drive, or as I like to call it the “Two-Dixie-Cups-and-a-String Initiative.”

What?  You heard “Two Risky Pups In A Sling?”  My point exactly.

Our technology at the Minnesota NOW office is so old Aunt Bea could operate it.  Our kindly donated ancient computers have crashed, and our state-of-the-century printer has lost all of her movable typeset Rs, and our publishing software relies on a T-square and pencil.  So this year’s annual appeal has been focused like a laser beam on TECHNOLOGY.

Where is this browser’s “back” button, Sally?

Blue tooth? iPads? Droids? Sounds like my medicine cabinet!  And don’t get me started on these little devices we carry to keep in constant contact with our 20,000 closest friends.  I’ve actually been known to talk to the person across the table from me at dinner, but I’m old fashioned.

None-the-less, even I am willing to make some changes if it makes us more effective and efficient in bringing equality to Minnesota.  I want to be able to organize with a click of a button and this means new computers with adequate memory.

I want to receive up-to-the-second feminist analysis on the events of the day.  This means new software to communicate with our members.

I want to reach out to young activists, this means meeting them on their turf: on Facebook and in the Blogosphere.

(I picked those words up from my niece, a young activist who knows.)

I want to improve the position of Minnesota NOW so we aren’t relying on staff and volunteers to provide their own computer equipment.   I want our volunteers to spend more time fighting for equality and less time fighting the software.

This didn’t happen to Susan B. Anthony…

So I have put my money where my mouth is.  I clicked a button for Minnesota NOW.

Will you join me?  Point your browser to www.mnnow.org and click on the purple button labeled 2012 Appeal / Resources For Equality.  Punch in your numbers and please give generously.

Because when it comes to activism, Two Pups In A Sling is so 48K.

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Announcing the 2012 Minnesota & Prairie States Regional NOW Conference!

equality symbol

Equality For All

March On! Poster

Zoe Nicholson
Zoe Nicholson
Equality Activist
Equality Activist, author, speaker. Zoe shares her story and insights about the life of an activist. From civil rights, the ERA and LGBT, Zoe has fasted, marched, organized and rallied for social justice. She is a member of the ERA Roundtable, a life-long member of NOW and proud member of the Veteran Feminists of America.In 1982, she joined six women in Springfield, Illinois in a public and political fast for 37 days in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. Her memoir is The Hungry Heart ~ A Women’s Fast for Justice, Lune Soleil Press.
More About Zoe..
Equality Activist, Author, Speaker
Online With Zoe
Zoe On Facebook
Registration Information 
Full buffet lunch & morning food & beverages included in all registrations.
Register Online

Mail-in Registration

$50 Regular Registration
$65 Join NOW Special
(Includes $15 reduced dues for new & lapsed members.)
$25 Special Student Rate* *(Please email us your request for a Scholarship.)
$25+ Current NOW Member
Limited Income Option*
*Per NOW Bylaws, currentNOW members may “pay what they can afford.”  Though the registration fee is waived, we must require all attendees to pay at least $25 to cover the inclusive full buffet lunch and snacks.
$10 Feminist Fun Night Ticket*
Friday Event Open To Public

 While we appreciate if you can do so to help out MN NOW, pre-registered Sat. conference attendees who pay the full $50 registration arenot required to purchase a separate ticket for Friday night.  You do need to indicate on your conference registration if you do or do not plan to attend Friday night so we can  plan accordingly.  Thank you!

Minnesota NOW Annual Conference
Prairie States Regional Conference
Saturday, April 14, 2012

Oak Ridge Conference Center & Hotel
1 Oak Ridge Drive, Chaska, MN 55318


Friday Feminist Fun Night
March On! Movie
Special Guest
Zoe Nicholson, Equality Activist


Click Here Adobe icon
For Spring 2012 MN NOW Times
Easily Print or Forward
More Event & Conference Information
Includes “Call to Conference”
Mail-in Registration Form

Award Nominations
Submission Deadline: April 1st


     With the relentless push of a conservative agenda Nationally and across the country, including right here in Minnesota, INequalityit is jumping out all around us,  It’s time to Unite, Take Action, Speak Out and Stop the “crazy train” before it derails with all of us still sitting in our seats. 
Let’s bring Equality for All back into the political equation.


Get in Bed with Equality ~
Friday Schedule:

7:00 pm Screening of March On! Movie
Pajamas are optional attire but certainly welcomed.:}
9:00 pm Commentary/Q&A with Zoe Nicholson

Wake Up to Equality 
Saturday Schedule:
8:15-8:45 am Registration/Silent Auction Opens
8:45-9:10 Welcome and Opening Plenary
9:10-9:50 Workshop:
Using Social Media to Advance your Cause – The Basics and Beyond
9:50-10:00 Break/Silent Auction Bidding
10:00-10:50 Moving Marriage Equality Forward — Richard Carlbom, Campaign Director
Minnesotans United for All Families
10:50-11:25 Scott Dibble and Karen Clark – Serving in the Legislature as openly gay public servants
11:30-12:30 Full Lunch Buffet, Season’s Restaurant
– Oak Ridge Conference Center
Awards Ceremony: Feminist of the Year Award, Charlotte Striebel Long Distance Runner Award
12:45-2:15 Keynote Speaker: Zoe Nicholson
-The Life of An Activist

2:15-2:30 Break/At-large Member Breakout to Elect State Board & National delegates (if applicable)
2:30-3:30 Workshop:
Women Claiming, Owning, Exercising and Sharing Power 
3:30-4:10 State Business (Plenary)
4:10-4:30 Announcement of Silent Auction Winners
4:30-5:30 Regional Business
5:30-5:45 Closing Comments

Get Down with Equality ~
Saturday Night
No scheduled activities, but if you stick around there’s sure to be brilliant conversation, merry-making and an energizing feel good vibe as we celebrate another successful year of activism. 

Minnesota NOW logo

Richard Carlbom
Richard Carlbom
Campaign Manager
Minnesotans United For All Families
“I am honored to lead this incredibly broad and diverse coalition of organizations and individuals. We will defeat this amendment by remaining united and focused on victory in 2012,” said Richard Carlbom.

Richard Carlbom is the Campaign Manager forMinnesotans United for All Families, the official campaign that will defeat the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Before joining the campaign in September, Richard was Communications Director for Chris Coleman, the mayor of St. Paul. He also managed the successful 2010 re-election campaign of U.S. Representative, Tim Walz.

A 2004 graduate of Saint John’s, Carlbom served as the mayor of St. Joseph, MN from 2005-2007.  He was elected when he was 23.

Link to Minnesotans United for All Familites website 
Hotel Accommodations
MN NOW Group Rates
(Sales Tax Not Included)
$89 Regular Room Rate
(Applies to guest rooms with 1 queen bed or 2 double beds.
$189 Junior Suite
$209 Executive Suite
$10 per additional guest applies
You may register directly with Oak Ridge online or by calling the hotel toll free at 1-877-874-6772.  Please use the Group CodeMNNOW.  Note:  Use this “RESERVATIONS” link which is also found in the upper right corner of Oak Ridge HotelHome Page.
Minnesota NOW group rate applies to Friday, 4/13 and Saturday, 4/14. The Group Rate is guaranteed through March 23rd. After March 23rd you should make your reservation by phone to request the “MNNOW” Group Rate. Depending on availability, you may still be given the Group Rate.

About Oak Ridge

Everyone enjoyed Oak Ridge so much last year, we decided it was the perfect venue to host a dual State and Regional Conference.  Please check out their web site to see all that Oak Ridge offers. 

MN National Organization for Women, Inc. – 550 Rice St. #102 – St. Paul, MN 55103-2116

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Why Minnesota NOW is co-sponsoring SlutWalk Minneapolis

As some of you may know, the Minnesota NOW State Board recently voted to co-sponsor an event called SlutWalk Minneapolis, to be held on October 1, 2011.  For a quick primer on the global SlutWalk movement, allow me to quote from a column I wrote on the subject that appears in this month’s issue of the Minnesota Women’s Press:

“…in January of 2011, a Toronto police officer named Michael Sanguinetti told a group of college students that ‘women should avoid looking like sluts in order not to be victimized.’  What began as a grassroots plan to protest the police attracted widespread attention (due in no small part to the action’s purposely confrontational name), and an estimated 1500 people gathered on April 3, 2011 to raise awareness of sexual stereotypes and the persistence of victim-blaming in Canadian society.  Since then, SlutWalks have been replicated in London, Stockholm, and Sao Paulo, with walks in the works in Mexico City, Johannesburg, and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.”

Since one of Minnesota NOW’s core values is freedom from violence, our participation in an event whose goal is to end the silence about rape culture seemed natural.  After all, Minnesota NOW has participated in Take Back the Night marches and sexual violence speak-outs of many different kinds in the past.

Yet there remains a great deal of controversy over the prominent use of the word “slut” in conjunction with a feminist event.  Perhaps the most widely read essay on the subject, a piece by Rebecca Traister with the blunt title “Ladies, We Have a Problem,” appeared in the New York Times Magazine on July 20, 2011.  Many in our own local feminist community have raised vocal objections to the event, with criticisms ranging from offense to the name, to concern that walkers will be subject to harassment.

I assure you, our members and supporters, that the decision to participate in this event was not made lightly.  We take your membership dues and additional financial support very seriously.  We met directly with the director of SlutWalk Minneapolis, Kimberia Sherva, and considered the issue before a full meeting of the State Board.  We concluded that the SlutWalk movement was an important part of reframing the societal discussion around sexual violence.  For too long, the message has remained “here’s what to do to not get raped.”  It’s time that changed to “DON’T RAPE.”

I thank you for your continued support of Minnesota NOW, and I hope to see you on the Minneapolis riverfront on October 1.

For equality,

Shannon Drury

Minnesota NOW President

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar reads our ERA Press Release!

As MN NOW Vice President Barbra Peterson and six-year-old feminist Miriam look on, Sen. Klobuchar reads our Women’s Equality Day press release that calls upon her and Sen. Al Franken to co-sponsor the Senate companion to House Joint Resolution 47, the bill would remove the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.  We look forward to Sen. Klobuchar’s support for constitutional equality when Congress resumes its work in September!


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On Women’s Equality Day 2011, Minnesota NOW calls on Sens. Klobuchar and Franken to sponsor new ERA legislation


August 25, 2011



August 26 is Women’s Equality Day, the annual observance of the day in 1920 that women were granted the right to vote.  On Friday, August 26, 2011, the Minnesota chapter of the National Organization for Women (MN NOW) is calling on Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken to be Senate co-sponsors of House Joint Resolution 47, the bill that seeks to remove the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.


The Equal Rights Amendment, approved by Congress in 1972, was defeated in 1982 when three states failed to ratify it before a deadline included in an accompanying proposing clause.  Not all proposed constitutional amendments include a time limit for ratification; indeed, the 27th Amendment, regarding Congressional salaries, was proposed in 1789 and ratified in 1993.  “I am certain the senators agree that the constitutional rights of half our nation’s population ought not be subjected to an arbitrary deadline either,” said Minnesota NOW President Shannon Drury.

The text of the Equal Rights Amendment, as drafted by Alice Paul in 1920, reads: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.  Though our society is certainly far more egalitarian than in Paul’s day, Justice Antonin Scalia told a reporter in January that the Constitution does not, in fact, protect women from legal discrimination.  Finally ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment would change that.  It would also send a powerful message to our daughters that they are worthy of legal recognition in the organizing document of our nation and society.

“Foremothers like Paul fought for my right to vote, the milestone that we celebrate on Women’s Equality Day,” says Drury.  “An Equal Rights Amendment would ensure my six-year-old daughter Miriam’s right to equality under federal law.” Adds MN NOW Vice President Barbra Peterson, “Our state’s current Senators should follow in the footsteps of Minnesota’s previous ERA champions in the Senate, Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, by co-sponsoring this legislation.”




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Enter the Minnesota NOW T-shirt design contest!

Calling all designers!  Minnesota NOW is searching for a fun, clever, FEMINIST T-shirt that we can wear to our full slate of upcoming events.  When I warned VP Barbra that it might be too much to ask for designs by MONDAY, JUNE 13, she scoffed and said that feminists can do anything.   If you know Barbra, you know she means business.  So get designing, friends!

To give you an idea of what we’re looking for in a shirt, check out this information, from our website: www.mnnow.org:

The Minnesota chapter of the National Organization for Women was formed in 1971.   Forty years later, our mission remains the same: to take action to bring women into the mainstream of American society NOW, to exercise all privileges and responsibilities thereof, in truly equal partnership with men.

MN NOW has actively worked to change the political, social, economic and cultural landscape for women in Minnesota. Our primary emphases are:

  • Constitutional Equality
  • Reproductive rights (including repeal of all laws restricting safe, legal abortion)
  • Lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender rights
  • Eliminating racism
  • Freedom from violence
  • Economic justice (including opposition to punitive welfare reform)

We want a shirt that will wear well at the State Capitol, PRIDE, SlutWalk Minneapolis, Pro-Choice Lobby Day, and the countless other events across Minnesota that feature our members.  And it can be any color, not just green!

THE WINNER of the contest will receive a free t-shirt, a big boost to your design resume, our undying gratitude, and publicity via our website, this blog, our beloved Facebook page, and the social media accounts of everyone we know.

Send those entries to us at: mnnowcontest at gmail dot com  by MONDAY JUNE 13!  Tell ’em Barbra sent you!


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