This summer has seen the rebirth of the National Organization of Women in Juneau. The National Organization of Women, founded in 1966, has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Local officers were elected and committees formed at a meeting attended by 25 women on July 13 at the downtown library. Ann Ropp and Joan Cahill are co-chairwomen, Kate Burkhart is secretary, and Barbara May is treasurer. Membership and media committees were filled quickly by several volunteers.
Ropp, a women's studies professor at the University of Alaska Southeast, provided a list of action priorities chosen at the first official meeting on June 16. The top two issues were educating young women and girls, with an emphasis on leadership, and the impact of poverty on women and children. Two breakout groups brainstormed about specific and achievable projects related to both topics. A requirement for chapters is to advance the N.O.W. agenda by taking a minimum of three actions per year that impact the community, one of which must address racism, abortion/reproductive rights or lesbian rights.
Ropp echoed the sentiments of many at the meeting when she said, "It's exciting to see so many women interested in working on women's issues in Juneau."
N.O.W.'s first incarnation in Juneau was in the 1980s. Caren Robinson and Carla Timpone, both longtime feminist activists, were among the founders. Carla Timpone, a victim of ovarian cancer, passed away in 2004. The two of them safeguarded the chapter's good standing with the national organization for many years.
At a luncheon meeting with over a dozen women in early June, Robinson turned over historical documents to Andrea Doll and shared a brief history of the Juneau chapter. Doll, who organized the meeting to gauge interest in reviving the local chapter, provided N.O.W. materials she obtained during an activism training session in March in Washington, D.C.
Current N.O.W. members can re-register with the Juneau chapter online at http://www.NOW.org. This will ensure that a portion of their dues will come back to Juneau. New members can join online or by calling (202) 628-8669. Membership forms will also be available at the next meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 10, at 5:15 p.m. at the downtown library. For more information, call 364-2106, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.