My name is Mariquita Anderson and I became the Minnesota NOW President on July 18, 2020. So much has happened in the last few months including the resignation of our friend and immediate past President, Joan Boone, in June. I would be remiss in not acknowledging her efforts, the first of the State Presidents, to hold National NOW’s President, Toni Van Pelt, accountable for her racism. Among Joan’s many efforts was that she signed the State Presidents’ letter which demanded Van Pelt’s resignation.
In the last month, Minnesota NOW participated in the State Presidents’ 24×24 campaign. It was a campaign of the 24 – and now 26 – State Presidents who signed the letter which demanded Van Pelt’s resignation. There are now only 33 State Chapters remaining after DC NOW dissolved in June protesting their treatment from Van Pelt. That’s over 75% of State Presidents who called for Van Pelt’s removal. Minnesota also suffered a big loss when a group of brilliant young feminists resigned from the MSP NOW board. Finally, last night, State Presidents received an email that Van Pelt had resigned.
To help address the issue of racism, Minnesota was the first stop for the new project, White Women Can We Talk: The Listening Tour. WWCWT is the brainchild of Triana Arnold James, the State President of Georgia NOW. The focus for our night was Allyship. To watch the video archive of the July 29 event, visit https://www.facebook.com/nselaawardfanpage/videos/299408531403313/ and zoom past the first 15 mins or so.
Minnesota NOW is working with the People of Color and Indigenous (POCI) Caucus. The POCI Caucus is sponsoring House Resolution 1 which declares that racism is a public health crisis and the action which must be accomplished to dismantle it. It passed in the State House and needs to be brought to the floor of the State Senate. Please call or email or tweet your State Senators to pass this much needed resolution.
We’ve also been working to support our PAC-endorsed candidates. All who had primaries won last Tuesday and will be heading to the general election in November. Bonnie Westlin is running against Warren Limmer in Senate District 34. Limmer is the Senate President who’s been refusing to bring certain legislation to the floor including not only HR 1 above but also those which improve access to abortion and add the ERA to the Minnesota State Constitution.
Finally, we’re holding an outdoor PAC fundraising event on Women’s Equality Day on August 26, 5-7:30pm. This event will be held with social distancing in the football-sized backyard of Kathleen Murphy, our VP and new PAC Chair. August 26, 2020 is the 100th Anniversary of the final ratification of the 19th Amendment which allowed women across the Nation to finally be able to vote.
If you’re in Greater Minnesota or unable to attend in person, we hope you’ll be able to join us on Zoom. We will be encouraging attendees to contribute directly to the candidates as well as to our PAC, from where we will distribute all funds raised that evening evenly to all of our candidates. All are welcome! And if you’d like to stick around for the National ERA Zoom event at 7pm, we will be airing that in the backyard, too!
We hope to see you soon whether it’s in person or in virtual space. We have a lot of work to do before November. We hope you join us.