NYFLC 2013: General Assembly I – From Campuses to the Capitols

By Emily Butler

To discuss how young feminists can bring their activism from their own college campuses all the way to their state capitols, this general assembly featured some inspiring feminist speakers. The GA began with a stellar introduction from the Campus Team (duVergne Gaines, Francesca Witcher, Miranda Petersen, Adriana Cortes-Luna, Brooke Hofhenke, Kari Ross).

Kathy Spillar, executive Vice President of FMF discussed how the war on women isn’t over, but  emphasized “How we must and how we are fighting back.” Included in the NYFLC folders is an activist pledge we ask all our attendees to sign for the fight for women’s rights!

Next we welcomed Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation!

 “The youth vote was bigger than the over 65 vote. 19% of the overall vote was 18-29. Only 16% of the over 65.” We proved that young feminists ARE voters! “2/3 of people over 65 voted against the gay rights position… but of the young, 2/3 voted in favor of the gay rights position.”

“What drove the gender gap was the feminist vote. 69% of the feminist vote went for Obama.”

“We’re fighting like mad to pass an immigration bill… we have to recognize that these folks are here and that they deserve treatment that is equal.”

“It’s not over the fight. One time doesn’t mean anything. You’ve got to keep the fight up day in and day out.”

“The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, eternal organizing.”

“Make a pledge that you will be a change agent for progress.”

A viewer tweeted: “Excuse me while I silently cry at the beauty and feminism of this room of powerful women. #nyflc2013”

More than five hundred young feminist activists got to hear from the following leaders in the movement for women’s rights:

  • Dolores Huerta, President, Dolores Huerta Foundation/Co-Founder United Farm Workers/Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom spoke to attendees about the immigration issue as an integral aspect of an intersectional feminist movement.
    “Go off campus and into your community.”
    Then Dolores lead us all in a feminist chant: Who’s got the power? “We’ve got the power!” “What kind of power” “FEMINIST POWER!”
  • Charniele Herring, Member of the Virginia House of Delegates & House Democratic Whip
    “What you need to do is make your voice heard. Let people know what you believe .. you are our future… Once you have found your voice, don’t stop.”
    “Seriously think about running for office… If you’ve got the power in your mind and your heart… you can make a difference. You will make a difference.”
  • Terry O’Neill, President, National Organization for Women discussed the war on women, specifically the economic war on women, including the Ryan Budget.
    “You will not end sexism unless you also end racism… unless you also end homophobia… getting women into the constitution of the United States finally.”
    “Two thirds of minimum wage workers are women.”
  • Barbara Arnwine, President & Executive Director, Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights discussed voter restriction bills.
    “What they thought was that we didn’t know how to reach the average person, but they didn’t realize who we are!”
    Constant vigilance… that’s the way we win.”
  • Monica Simpson, Executive Director, Sister Song spoke for women of color about  reproductive rights.
    “The fight is very, very crucial right now for women of color in the US.”
  • Elis Herman, Organizer, Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance Salem College discussed the intersection of feminism and queer activism, and asked us all to think about what it means to be an ally.
    “Queer rights are women’s rights.”
    “Gender liberation is women’s liberation.”
    “The best allies do what they can in their own circles to end oppression.”
  • Brina Milikowsky, Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel to NYC Office of the Mayor, Mayors Against Illegal Guns
    57% of mass shootings were domestic violence issues.
    “There are… amazing things about closing the private sale loophole… we know, we have proof that this is smart policy that will… save women’s lives.”
  • Clare Coleman, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association finished off our general assembly!
    “We shut down the Koman and federal defunding of Planned Parenthood.”
    Discussing funding cuts in Ohio: “We have cut hours, we have cut staff, and we have closed centers.”

If you missed General Assembly I, you can watch the video on our Ustream channel: http://bit.ly/nyflcTV

Coming up on Ustream at 3:45PM to 4:45PM today, March 23rd: Town Hall with Tina Tchen

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