Renew your DWC membership: Membership is $20 per year and runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. You can join online at https://democraticwomenscaucus.nationbuilder.com/membership, give your dues to any Steering Committee Member or pay at the breakfast. And note that if you want to vote on DWC Primary endorsements at the March Meeting, your membership needs to be paid no later than midnight on Feb. 15.
The 2018 Women's March!
What a day it was! In hundreds of cities and towns around the world, large and small, from Indianapolis to New York, Washington, and Los Angeles and even to Ottawa and Rome thousands of progressive women and men marched to defend the dignity, freedom, and equality of all those threatened by the malignant policies of the Trump administration and its enablers in the Republican-controlled Congress. Here in Bloomington the DWC's Rachel Guglielmo and others organized a march that drew several hundred protesters to the courthouse square. The message of this year's "March to the Polls" was one of defiance and resolve: we are not going away, we will not be silent, and we will run for office and fight with our ballots for justice and equality for ALL Americans.
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email@example.com://www.democraticwomenscaucus.org/Sorry to have cancelled January Breakfast. The Listening Session with Senator Joe Donnelly was something we all were really looking forward to. We were reluctant to publicize that the Senator was actually coming to breakfast because of many logistical concerns, but he was ready and willing to listen to what Democratic women wanted him to hear. And we were ready to tell him! Alas, Mother Nature intervened. We will try to reschedule. (And now this writer has 60 copies of the NYT Crossword from 1/11/18 created by Senator Donnelly and Micky Maurer.)
It’s a new year… and that means it’s time to renew your DWC membership if you haven’t done so already….
Much of the work that is done on behalf of this group is done by volunteers, but like all other organizations, the DWC has some expenses to pay: an annual filing fee to the state, payments to maintain our website, printing costs for Point of Sale flyers, to name a few. Still, by far and away, the money raised by the group is used for the benefit of the strong, progressive, pro-choice women candidates we endorse. So please renew your membership today… Membership is $20 per year and runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. You can join online at https://democraticwomenscaucus.nationbuilder.com/membership, give your dues to any Steering Committee Member or pay at the breakfast. And note that if you want to vote on DWC Primary endorsements at the March Meeting, your membership needs to be paid no later than Feb. 2.
Candidate filings for the 2018 elections began on January 10 and will close on February 9. In addition to all the state and local government offices that are up for election in 2018, we also elect Precinct Committee Persons and Delegates to the State Convention in the May Primary. These are important positions open to all county residents.
Monroe County is apportioned 67 Convention Delegates, 63 of which are elected by county residents, equally distributed among the four County Council Districts. State Delegates are the only voting members at the State Convention and in 2018 they will be voting on representatives for State Convention Committees, Credentials Resolutions and Rules and the State Party Platform and nominations for the state wide candidates of Secretary of State, Auditor and Treasurer. The 2018 Democratic Convention will be held on June 16 in Indianapolis.
Precinct Committee Persons are the intermediaries between the County Democratic Party and the voters… they vote on official county business, ballot vacancies, and caucuses to fill positions open due to the resignation of an office holder. They are also supposed to work their districts, register voters, go to community events and represent the district, go door to door, help get poll workers for election day. A good resource on the role of a Precinct Committee Person can be found at: http://action.indems.org/page/-/Indems%20Precinct%20Committeeperson%20Handbook.pdf. You must reside in the precinct in which you are running and must have voted Democrat in the last primary in order to qualify (unless you are a newly registered voter in Indiana or are certified by the Party Chair).
At the Monroe County Bicentennial Kick Off Event at the Monroe County Courthouse yesterday, Charlotte Zietlow spoke about the system of government that we have in Indiana…. She said that while it may seem somewhat layered and messy, it is designed to maximize checks and balances on government entities and to force our elected officials to talk to each other and to work with each other for the benefit of their constituents. She argued persuasively that we should support that structure, including township government offices, as a way of giving voice to all citizens. As she put it: Democracy isn't necessarily easy, nor should it be.
In his benediction at the end of the event, Forest Gillmore prayed for politicians who would take risks for the greater good… here’s to getting them elected in 2018.
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Breakfast on January 12th -- DWC conducts a “Listening Session” for Congress
We have made many, many calls, written letters and sent electronic messages to our Representatives and Senators this year.
And we’ve all personally experienced federal policies or programs that have impacted our lives – for good or bad. And we know that conveying these experiences as personal stories make a difference in how these messages are received by our congressmen.
How do you see federal policies affecting Hoosier women?
If you had ONE message to give to these folks, what would that message be?
If you could be assured that your message would be actually be received and read by that senator or representative, what would you say?
Please write out your message and bring it with you on Friday. We’ll share these messages with each other, and then compile the messages into a “Listening Session” packet from DWC members. They will be personally conveyed to our delegation. You can use your own stationary, print something out in letter form, or simply use notebook paper. Please include your contact information within the letter. You can use an envelope, but no postage is necessary.
Please note that we have two opportunities for Friday breakfast attendees to help the less fortunate in our community:
- First, Steering Committee Member Jennifer Crossley's young daughter, Sydney, is taking the initiative and coordinating a winter outerwear and blanket drive to help the homeless and others in our community who are suffering in this frigid weather. If you have gently used men's, women's or childrens' winter coats, hats, mittens, scarves, or boots you no longer use, or warm blankets you don't need, please bring them to the breakfast on Friday and Jennifer and Sydney will take them off your hands and give them to individuals who really need them.
- Second, the Village Deli is having a food drive for the Hoosier Hills Food Bank. The Deli management wanted to be sure that we knew this so individual DWC members can participate if they so choose by bringing a non-perishable to contribute.
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BREAKFAST MEETING RECAP
Prompted by recent events on the national stage, at our breakfast meeting last Friday, December 1, the DWC presented a panel of 3 speakers on the topic of "Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment: What it is and what you can do about it." The speakers were Darcie Fawcett, former Monroe County sex crimes prosecutor, Kitty Liell, defense attorney, and Deborah Widiss, a Maurer School of Law Professor who teaches about sexual harassment and employment law. What a fabulous panel! Each woman spoke for approximately 5 minutes followed by questions and answers. We wish there had been more time for questions as this is a meaty and timely topic of immense importance to all of us. Here are some highlights of what we learned:
- There are 3 ways under the Indiana Criminal Code of defining non-consensual sex
- Sex was engaged in by force or threat of force
- The alleged victim is unaware it is happening (further defined as unconscious or asleep NOT drunk or blacked out)
- The alleged victim is mentally deficient
- Indiana University's Sexual Misconduct Policy adds a category: the victim is incapacitated, which is broader than under the state criminal code.
- A difficulty of prosecuting sex crimes is getting an alleged victim to understand that not everything that happened to her, as awful as it may have been, is considered "rape" under the law, or is provable under a standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt."
- Trauma caused by crimes such as sexual assault can have a significant effect on the victim's memory, as well as the victim's behavior throughout the ordeal. For example, the brain can essentially shut down so that memories are irretrievable or muddy. Victims can also become physically "frozen" and unable to move.
- Victims who prosecute their alleged attackers are less mentally healthy as a result than victims who move on and process the event on their own.
- As sex crimes, a lot of reprehensible behavior in the workplace does not rise to the level of illegal harassment.
- Between 2005 and 2015, only 85,000 cases were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- Reported rates of harassment are highest in service industries and male-dominated industries.
- What the law prohibits is "discrimination" so you must show that the offensive behavior interferes with the terms and conditions of your employment, and is so severe or pervasive that it constitutes harassment or abuse.
- You must also prove that the employer is responsible because the employer knew or should have known what was happening.
- Some things that the courts look at to support a claim of employer responsibility are:
- whether the employer took reasonable steps to prevent or correct the behavior
- whether the victim made a complaint or there was a good reason why the victim did not
- Employers should have harassment training and policies that are not just window dressing, and senior management must signal that it takes these issues seriously.
- Retaliation is illegal, and retaliation claims are easier to win than the underlying harassment claims.
- Victims must avail themselves of their employers' internal process, and employers must investigate claims. Well run investigations keep the victim in the loop and maintain confidentiality as much as feasible, and should result in the employer taking action if a complaint is deemed valid.
Whew. It was a lot to absorb but so incredibly helpful. Thank you Darcie, Kitty and Deborah!!
Also at the breakfast, the DWC held elections for Secretary, Vice Chair and 5 at-large seats on the Steering Committee. The following women were elected:
Vice Chair: Carolyn VandeWiele
Secretary: Karen Wrenback
Jillian Kinzie was on the original ballot but pulled out before the election for personal reasons.
Congratulations and a warm welcome from the Steering Committee! We can't wait to work with you all.
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THIS FRIDAY!!! DECEMBER BREAKFAST AND STEERING COMMITTEE ELECTIONS
Is There a more timely topic??, For Friday’s breakfast we have put together a program about Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment: What it is and what you can do about it.
Speakers will be: Darcie Fawcett, former sex crimes prosecutor, Kitty Liell, attorney, and Deborah Widiss, a professor who teaches about sexual harassment at the law school. Each will speak for about 5 minutes followed by a question and answer period as we’re sure people will have a lot of questions.
STEERING COMMITTEE ELECTIONS for At Large, Vice Chair and Secretary
We are still looking for someone to serve as Secretary… if you are interested, Please email Amy Swain at firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP. Nominations can also be taken from the floor at the meeting.
Here is the proposed Slate: Bios and pictures below
women with a * are Steering Committee incumbents in this position
If you cannot be at the meeting on Dec. 1, you may fill out your ballot and return it to email@example.com by midnight tonight to be counted. All votes will be kept confidential.
Every other year, five at-large positions are up for election.
Mark an X for those you wish to serve for 2018 & 2019.
Vote for 5 only
___________ Jennifer Crossley
___________ Linda Grove-Paul *
___________ Rachel Guglielmo
___________ Jillian Kinzie*
___________ Kitty Liell*
___________ Charlotte Zietlow*
Every other year, the Vice Chair and Secretary are up for election.
Please mark an X for those you wish to fill these positions.
___________ Vice Chair, Carolyn VandeWiele
___________ Secretary, Open
NB: Jillian Kinzie withdrew her name from consideration before the Friday Meeting
We hope everyone had a safe, warm and happy Thanksgiving. The weather certainly cooperated. But now it's on to year end. Will the government shut down? Will Mueller's team drop additional bombshells? Can we survive this parody of American politics until and at least say we survived a year? (Not that it matters much. Life in this ever-changing fresh hell will go on...)
But no need for despair. There is still much we can do at the local level, especially to begin preparing for local elections in 2018 and 2019. So start thinking now about offices that are up for election and how you can help candidates who support the mission of the DWC. We offer many ways to get you started in this newsletter. Off we go!
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For the second week in a row we’ve been inspired by a rousing speech by a woman… Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes was the keynote speaker at last week’s 2017 Democratic Dinner and stirred up the crowd in the style of an old time revival. She encouraged us to rise and organize, to listen to each other and to be inclusive as a group and united as a party. She gave credit to the stalwarts of the party and encouragement to the youth that represent our future. We left the dinner energized, excited and ready to continue the fight.
The victories around the country on Nov. 7 were important and welcome but we should not be complacent. We must continue to speak out about the things that bother us and that we would like to change. And we must continue to listen and be responsive to constituents in order to make future gains.
It won’t be an easy fight. In Alabama, Roy Moore continues to run neck and neck with Doug Jones despite the fact that only one of those candidates has any fitness to serve in office. Our country remains polarized and angry, civil discourse is at a low and our national and state governments are working hard against the little guy to benefit the 1%.
Here in Monroe County we are lucky to have so many groups that are focused on working to improve the lives of our citizens and put good candidates in office. Groups like Rise to Run, Your Voice Matters and our own DWC are moving to field, train and support candidates that will truly represent us. Election Day 2017 is over… the march to the next election begins. Run, volunteer, question, support, fund, train, educate…. rise and organize!!
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November breakfast will feature Karlee Macer, Indiana's State Representative from District 92
Please join us for the DWC's monthly breakfast this Friday, November 3rd, where our speaker will be State Representative Karlee Macer. Karlee is a resident and native of Wayne Township on the west side of Indianapolis. She serves as a board member on the Wayne Township Education Foundation and is the former president of the 40 West Business Association. Karlee and her husband also have two young children. In her "spare" time, Karlee leads the sales and marketing department at the Harrison Retirement Community. She will be an inspiration to all of us so we hope to see you Friday!
A safe and Happy Halloween to all, and let's hope Trump gets his own big Halloween SCARE from Mueller!
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If you were on the computer at all in last week it was almost impossible to miss the words “Me Too” as you scrolled through your social media accounts. Looking through my friends accounts of all the ways that they have experienced sexual harassment and sexual assault in their lives made for some very sober reading. The “Me Too” campaign was started ten years ago by activist Tarana Burke with the aim of unifying those who’ve been victimized by sexual violence, particularly for women of color. Social media has made it easier to spread the word and share stories about a problem that has existed for time immemorial.
And there have been so many more attacks on women’s lives in the last months that one finds it hard to keep up. Attacks on reproductive rights, contraception, Planned Parenthood, the ACA, Social Security, Medicare, WIC, CHIP, Meals on Wheels and other social programs all affect, or will affect, women’s lives in many ways.
On the political scene Congresswoman Frederica Wilson was the latest victim of a smear campaign by various members of the Trump administration. In general we have watched as democratic and progressive politicians, and women politicians in particular, have been maligned and denigrated for doing their jobs, stating the truth, standing up for all their constituents and supporting programs that make all of our lives better.
It has been heartening to see the resistance movement grow. Locally, canvassers for the “Your Voice Matters” campaign report that citizens are engaged and want better than they are getting. On the national front, the upcoming election in Virginia is the next big battleground. We must find ways to continue the momentum and the gains in state and local legislatures that we have seen over the past few months. We also need to find ways to support each other, minimize the effects of the damage that has already been done and keep the fight going strong. We welcome your thoughts, ideas and voices as we head towards 2018.
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Breakfast meeting attendees heard some ideas about how to start a campaign for office. Tips for organizing, funding, and conducting a run for public office were discussed, and members who had run for office added some personal tips. There are any number of offices open for next year, at all levels of government from township board through Senator. Slots on the ballot in May will include all Democratic Precinct Committeepersons, and delegate slots for the Indiana State Convention (June 15-16, 2018 in Indianapolis) where we'll nominate the Democratic candidates for Secretary of State, State Auditor and State Treasurer. Filing begins on January 10th and ends at NOON on February 9th.
Our Women in Politics Cocktail Hour, a little more casual in nature, focused more on the problems that women have in running. Local women who have run shared some of their experiences --some funny, some shocking, all particular to women's candidacies. Attendees were presented with a goodie bag from member Matthew Metz. He brought these back from Columbus from the United State of Women conference, and we thank him for the T-shirts, and campaign books!
We'll be planning more training, longer sessions targeted toward specific aspects of running and managing a campaign, as the fall continues. Watch for Circuit Training in January.
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