Monday Morning News - September 9, 2019

Breakfast at the Village Deli last Friday was well-attended and well-worth it. The topic was service on local government boards and commissions. Amazingly, probably 75% of the people in attendance currently serve on a city or county board or commission. And why would they be interested in doing that, you may wonder. As one of our panelists put it, boards and commissions are often where elected officials and citizens meet over a topic of concern. Who wouldn't find that kind of interaction worth their time?! Thank you to the following individuals who shared information about their board or commission, how they got interested in the topic, who appointed them and their advice for people interested in serving:

Jillian Kinzie moderator and City Plan Commission member
Jean Capler, Utilities Services Board member
Efrat Feffermann, United Way Executive Director and County Redevelopment Commission
Nichelle Whitney, chair, Monroe County Women’s Commission
Adrienne Evans Fernandez, chair, City Parking Commission
Sue Sgambelluri, City Redevelopment Commission

Additional thanks to Angie Purdie (Monroe County) and Regina Moore (filling in for Nicole Bolden) who gave information on applying for boards and commissions in each governmental body.

Some take-aways:
- There are approximately 30 city boards and commissions and 39 in county government, with currently about 18 openings on city boards and 5 on county boards.

- Some boards and commissions are required by state statute. These sometimes require members of both political parties, and if you are one of those appointees, you need to keep that R or D designation. Some boards require one or more members to be residents of the city, or to live outside the city limits, or fulfill some other demographic or skills requirement. Some boards and commissions, mostly in county government, pay members for attending meetings. Several women mentioned that their service was a good preparation for running for office.  Boards that have fiduciary responsibilities are especially good background for understanding the connectedness between governmental bodies and how actions affect citizens.

- Boards and commissions are quasi-governmental bodies and are subject to Indiana’s open-door laws regarding noticing meetings, cancelling meetings, etc. All are open to the public to observe, and most  really welcome visitors. It’s helpful to attend a board or commission meeting for a while before deciding to apply for membership.

As an example of the types of things one might get involved in as a commission member, the Monroe County Women’s Commission is on FIRE!! They’ve sponsored two weeks of coding camp for girls ages 11-14, held a listening session with Senator Mark Stoops, co-sponsored a retreat to enhance collaboration between the city and county women’s commissions, obtained a grant from the Indiana Department of Health to work with organizations on developing healthy practices for women, are developing a workshop dealing with the “confidence code” (why do girls stop raising their hands in about the 4th grade?), and are planning a mixer of board and commission members in January!

Check the websites below for information on all boards and commissions:

City of Bloomington:
All of the City’s boards and commissions are described on the website, including mission statements, membership requirements, current members and term lengths. For information on each entity and online applications, go to the City’s board and commission tab at https://bloomington.in.gov/boards where you can click on each board or commission. Or click on the "Boards and Commissions" button at the bottom of the City’s home web page at https://bloomington.in.gov/ 

Monroe County:
The county’s website includes all of the county boards and commissions as well as future meeting dates and an agenda and minutes section: https://www.co.monroe.in.us/boards/  The application is available here: https://www.co.monroe.in.us/egov/documents/1533065264_74301.pdf

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Monday Morning News - September 5, 2019 - SC Member intro

Carolyn --

Due to resignations and women moving around within the Steering Committee over the last year we had four at-large openings on the Steering Committee this summer… two that expire this year and two that will expire in 2020. As is stipulated in the DWC By-Laws, open memberships on the committee are filled by nominations from the steering committee with confirmation by the membership at the next breakfast meeting.
At the last breakfast the membership confirmed Michele Bright to fill one of the 2020 slots. This month we are asking the membership to consider the nomination of Doris Sims to fill the second 2020 opening with a vote at our next breakfast on September 6.

The remaining two open slots will be filled during our December elections (see below).

Here is Doris' statement for your consideration:

Hello Fellow Democratic Women Caucus members!
I, Doris Sims, am running to fill one of the vacant seats on the DWC’s Steering Committee!!
I have been involved with the Democratic Party for the past 40 years. I have served under 4 Democratic mayors and I am currently employed under John Hamilton’s administration as the Director of the Housing and Neighborhood Development Department.
I have been involved with the DWC since its inception and am a past member of the DWC Steering Committee where I helped plan events and served on the endorsement committee.
I am a pro-choice, progressive Democrat. I served 10 years on the State Planned Parenthood Board and was chair from 2006-2008. I have been involved locally with the Monroe County Branch of the NAACP, the Democratic Black Caucus, and of course, the DWC.
I would love the opportunity to serve the DWC again as part of the Steering and work to continue to elect progressive democratic women, while also encouraging future democratic women to serve within our communities through city and county boards and commissions, candidate’s campaigns, and volunteerism.
I would appreciate your support!
Doris Sims

Headshot_-_Sims__Doris.jpg

 

The December Elections are fast approaching:

Nominations are open for the DWC Steering Committee are now open:
The following positions will be up for election:
Vice Chair:
Treasurer:
and 5 at-large positions
The Steering Committee is a working board… we meet on the third Saturday of the month at 10am and also . If you have questions about serving on the Steering Committee, about duties of the officers and at-large members, would like to nominate yourself or someone else for the Steering Committee, or you are a member who would like to serve on the Nominating Committee to help develop a slate for the December elections, please contact Carolyn VandeWiele at cvpetdoc@comcast.net.

 

BECOME A DWC MEMBER or RENEW your membership!
The DWC is dedicated to inspiring, recruiting, training, supporting and funding women to increase the number of progressive, pro-choice women in the political arena. We ALL help with this mission, together, collectively. Make sure you have full rights and privileges of membership.
Only $20 for one year’s membership.
Join online here: https://democraticwomenscaucus.nationbuilder.com/membership


Do you have news items? Send your items of interest to us at dwcannouncements@gmail.com
Deadline for MMN is noon on Sunday.

Paid for by DWPAC - Democratic Women's Political Action Committee
Democratic Women's Caucus
http://www.democraticwomenscaucus.org/

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Monday Morning News - September 2, 2019

It's again time for a DWC Breakfast, Village Deli, 7:30 am this coming Friday (September 6th).
The importance of women's voices on governmental boards and commissions is as important as women's voices in elected positions in local, state and federal governmental bodies. We'll explore these governmental commissions and how citizens are appointed to them. If you serve on a board or commission, city or county or state, and want to share your experience with the group, please email regina.moore@gmail.com. We'd like to hear your voice!

How did you celebrate Labor Day? Antique Car Show? Boating? Catching up after a weekend of festivals and dancing?
It seems as if the original intent of this federal holiday has been fogged by modern day life and concerns. Labor Day Parades, Union Picnics with family, and celebrations have given way to the occasional meme on Facebook or Twitter.
We offer you this post from the Facebook Page "A Mighty Girl" and their blogs and reading lists so that you can extend your Labor Day into the coming months. In addition to reading about our heroes Frances Perkins and Dolores Huerta, there are more selections here: "Work & Labor" book section at https://www.amightygirl.com/books/social-issues/work-labor

And speaking of Dolores Huerta, she will be speaking at Franklin Hall's Presidents Hall on September 19th from 7-9 pm as part of the Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations at IU. Find more about the event here: https://anthropology.indiana.edu/news-events/events-calendar/dolores-huerta-activist-icon.html

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Monday Morning News - August 26, 2019

In honor of today's historic significance, we open with a proclamation from the City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Women:

Monday, August 26th is Women's Equality Day. It marks the 99th anniversary of women in the United States winning the right to vote. This courageous, 72-year (1848–1920) political movement was carried out by tens of thousands of women and men working to form a more perfect union.

The significance of the woman suffrage campaign is remarkable when one considers all the barriers suffragists had to overcome. They were frequently ridiculed, harassed, attacked, and even thrown into jail when they protested... still they persevered!

Finally on August 29, 1920, their goal was achieved with the 19th Amendment. Women had won the right to vote and hold public office.

Women's Equality Day gives us the opportunity to reflect on the many benefits of true equality and the important role women play in public service and government.

*****

And yet, even as we celebrate, let us be mindful that even after the amendment's ratification, women (and men) of color did not receive full voting rights until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, and even now laws are being passed to try to disenfranchise people of color, the elderly, students, and individuals with disabilities.

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Monday Morning News - August 19, 2019

Students are coming back to Bloomington, IDEA, Pridefest, the Monroe County Fall Festival, Stinesville Quarry Festival and Owen County Apple Butter Festivals are all on the horizon and that means it’s time to gear back up to take on the Fall Municipal Election and look ahead to 2020 as well. We can’t be complacent and assume that the election is in the bag for democrats…. turnout is important in every race in every election.
I really enjoyed meeting with our democratic compatriots in Owen County at their annual Democracy Dinner last Saturday evening. Dana Black was the featured speaker and, as always, she was inspiring. There were a few things that really resonated in her remarks.
The first was that she said she didn’t join the Democratic Party because she thought it was perfect but because she thought she could help instead of complain, that she wanted to serve and not just hold an office. To criticize something doesn’t mean you don’t love it, in fact it shows how much you care.
As we all know she wasn’t able to defeat Brian Bosma that year, but she gave him a run for his money. And the woman who ran after her did just a little bit better, making an entrenched candidate who for years didn’t have to worry about an opponent or listen to opposing views sweat just a bit. As she put it - good choice, bad choice, the better of two evils – when you don’t have a choice, when you don’t have the opportunity to hear opposing views – you don’t have a democracy. Not having a voice in so many races, not having representatives who feel responsible or accountable to those they represent, is what keeps Hoosiers in the bottom of so many demographics.
The second was the statement “When I started my campaign I was an angry lesbian, when I finished I was an angry Hoosier.” Talking to the people in her district made her a better citizen. Her emphasis was that we must find ways to communicate with each other that go beyond the catch phrases and buzz words and make politics personal again. That we can’t just talk about being the party of the people, we have to be the party of the people… put on your democratic t-shirts and go out and help.
And finally that it’s time to stop waiting for someone to save us when we can save ourselves. Everyone has value: not everyone is cut out to be a politician, but everyone has something they can do - we need to find what is special in ourselves and give that to our party, to our candidates and to the people of Indiana. Remember… they wouldn’t be working so hard to limit our voices and our vote if they weren’t so important.

Follow up from our last Breakfast:
City and county budget reviews are about to happen in Monroe County. Here are links to the City Budget and the Gateway site where you can find out more information:

Here is a link to the city budget courtesy of City Councilor Isabel Piedmont-Smith: http://www.piedmontsmith.us/uploads/4/5/0/4/45046937/2020_budget_-_combined.pdf

and here is the link to the Gateway site: https://gateway.ifionline.org/report_builder/

 

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Monday Morning News - August 12, 2019 (2)

It was another banner week in the good ole US of A. After three shoot 'em ups at public events in one week, our mindless and gun-lobby-loving President has the gall to show up in the latest cities traumatized by this unprecedented spate of violence and and offer a scripted cardboard dose of sympathy to the grieving families and friends of those who were slaughtered. Here's what we say to that:

[see email blast for cartoon]

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Monday Morning News - August 5, 2019

Welcome to our newest Steering Committee Member, Michelle Bright!

Headshot_-_Bright__Michelle.jpg

There are currently several openings on the DWC Steering Committee. According to our By-Laws, vacancies on the SC between election cycles are to be filled by appointment from the Steering Committee and subject to ratification by the membership at the next monthly membership meeting.

As there are a couple more vacant seats on the Steering Committee, we invite you to consider this opportunity to serve your fellow DWC members!
If you have an interest in serving please contact the DWC Chair via dwcannouncements@gmail.com.

Michelle started her political career in 2010, when she became enraged when allegations of political corruption involving her local public officials emerged. Not being satisfied unless she was part of the solution, she was caucused into the position of Benton Township Trustee in March 2012. Some of the highlights of her time in office so far has been working with community youth organizations to start a Township Food Pantry and a Little Free Library, restoring two historical cemeteries in Benton Township, and was one of the first Townships in Indiana to partner with the American Red Cross for the Home Fire Campaign. Michelle has always been very grateful to the DWC for helping train and support her over the years, and was endorsed both times she ran for re-election. She is a Business Analyst at Indiana University; and is currently settling in to being an empty-nester with her husband in Unionville.

Friday Breakfast Report
Michelle Bright, Benton Township Trustee, was actually on her way to a meeting with the Department of Local Government Finance regarding her upcoming budget but stopped to explain the process to breakfast attendees. Lee Jones, Cheryl Munson, and Shelli Yoder talked about budgets reflecting priorities of the council, and how they actually go about doing that. Jessica McClelland, County Treasurer, spoke about creating her budget for presentation to the council later in August. When asked what she would differently if she could, she replied that she wished she could give more money to employees rather than stick to the additional percentage allotted to all employees. Isabel Piedmont Smith talked about the city budget presentation process beginning with a meeting of Mayor and city council members to determine priorities for the upcoming year.

One main difference between the city and county budget process that is not widely known is that the mayor creates and presents the budget to the council to vote up or down in its entirety. County government approaches the process differently. Commissioners are responsible for many different budgets in the county, but individual elected officials present the budget for the county council's approval without approval of any other elected official. I think it's safe to say that all work together between the initial presentations and final votes to amend or adjust numbers in all the different funds and department lines to reflect the needs of delivering services to residents of our community.

Member Reports

Steering Committee member Rachel Guglielmo and several other local members of Moms Demand Action for Common Sense Gun Control in Washington DC this past weekend. We know that during that conference two incidents of mass shootings occurred. We can only imagine the heavy hearts, the anger and renewed determination of these women. They responded instantly by demonstrating in front of the White House and marching to the Capitol. Rachel urges us to get involved (see action items below).

 

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Monday Morning News - July 29, 2019

It’s Breakfast Time Again:
The summer is flying by and now it’s time for another DWC Breakfast. We’ll meet at the Village Deli to learn about how our local officials spend our money. Local City and County Council Women will be sharing their experiences with the annual upcoming budgeting process. We’ll send out more detailed information about the breakfast on Wednesday.

“With hope-anything in fact, everything is possible.
Hope is more than simply the possibility of fulfillment.
Hope is dignity and respect, joy and happiness, aspiration and achievement.
Hope never quits.
Through hope, we can aspire to be our best and in turn inspire those around us to reach higher.”
- Laura Farber 2019-2020 President of the Tournament of Roses

The theme of this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade is “The Power of Hope”. In 1915, the new woman rode a bike, wore bloomers, and carried banners about the vote. They made the difference. To win the vote, women had to convince men to give them the vote. No small feat. In 1920 Congress passed a law that granted the right to vote to women. As many have pointed out, that historic vote didn’t grant the right to vote to all women. And to be honest, the fight still continues today with voter suppression efforts, gerrymandering, rigging the census, and intimidation; all efforts that disproportionately target women and people of color. But hope never quits and we can overcome the forces that are working to subvert democracy in this country if we pay attention to the facts, educate ourselves and the voters and work together to achieve our goals, disagree with respect and stand with each other against the common enemy.

New DWC Steering Committee Member Proposed:

Headshot_-_Bright__Michelle.jpg
There are currently several openings on the DWC Steering Committee. According to our By-Laws, vacancies on the SC between election cycles are to be filled by appointment from the Steering Committee and subject to ratification by the membership at the next monthly membership meeting. At our last Steering Committee meeting we invited Michelle Bright to join the committee and we will hold a ratifying vote at our next breakfast this coming Friday. Michelle’s statement is below. She has helped edit the MMN for some time, has served on several committees and has done a terrific job of resolving many of the problems that plagued Benton Township prior to her election as Township Trustee. More details on the vote on Wednesday.
We are also in discussion with several other members who have expressed interest in serving and there will be an annual election this coming December. If you have an interest in serving please contact the DWC Chair via dwcannouncements@gmail.com.

Michelle started her political career in 2010, when she became enraged when allegations of political corruption involving her local public officials emerged. Not being satisfied unless she was part of the solution, she was caucused into the position of Benton Township Trustee in March 2012. Some of the highlights of her time in office so far has been working with community youth organizations to start a Township Food Pantry and a Little Free Library, restoring two historical cemeteries in Benton Township, and was one of the first Townships in Indiana to partner with the American Red Cross for the Home Fire Campaign. Michelle has always been very grateful to the DWC for helping train and support her over the years, and was endorsed both times she ran for re-election. She is a Business Analyst at Indiana University; and is currently settling in to being an empty-nester with her husband in Unionville.

 

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Monday Morning News - July 22, 2019

Sitting down this afternoon to work on the Monday Morning News, I found myself wondering what I could write to follow the beautiful opener of last week’s edition, which emphasized the necessity of a public discourse that reflects the voices of the many and concluded with a call for us to “listen to all the voices out there that work towards diversity and making the world a better place for everyone to live while fighting against those who would extinguish the lights of anyone who doesn't believe as they do.” Perplexed, I was only too happy to be distracted by the "ping!” of an incoming e-mail. Providentially, it turned out to be an announcement for a film that represents one of the very voices we need to hear. On Her Shoulders is an award-winning documentary about an extraordinary young woman, Nadia Murad, who has dedicated her life to saving her people, the Yazidis, and bringing ISIS before the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. In the film, documentary filmmaker Alexandria Bombach follows Nadia as she testifies before the United Nations, visits refugee camps, meets with high-ranking government officials, and again and again relives in interviews the terrifying details of her captivity and sexual enslavement by ISIS. David Ehrlich, senior film critic of Indiewire, has praised On Her Shoulders as “an essential portrait of the strength required to speak up.”

On Her Shoulders airs tonight (Monday, July 22) at 9:00 pm on WTIU.

 

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Monday Morning News - July 15, 2019

While looking through ‘Today in History” for July 15th and reading through the events they highlighted that happened on this date, it was hard not to miss the discrepancy between the number of events featuring women vs those featuring men. Only 13% of the 93 events listed that specified a person referred to an event that highlighted the achievements of a woman.
One of the events listed was an entry for Clara Adams who, in 1939, “was the first woman to fly around the world”. How I asked myself, could I not know about this woman and her achievements. On further investigation I found that while she was indeed the first woman to fly around the world (the trip took sixteen days and nineteen hours and covered 24,609 miles), it was as a commercial passenger and not at the throttle of an airplane. Still, at a time in history that many people of both sexes were fearful of air travel, she did much to popularize air travel and to demonstrate that it was safe. Perhaps she was the inspiration for other women who dared to leave the safety of home to explore the world.
Thinking about this I wondered how many women’s achievements throughout history have gone un-noticed or un-recorded. What were the hardships they faced, what kind of support did they receive, who might they have inspired if someone had just known what they had done.
Watching the young girls (and boys) watch Megan Rapinoe play soccer, seeing Joy Harjo named the the first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate, listening to the six women present their ideas at the Democratic Debate I am reminded how important it is that the voices of the many be reflected in the public discourse, that our lives are diminished if we only pay attention to our “own tribe”. It’s why we should work to make sure that the voices of women are included in all aspects of government but that we should also listen to all the voices out there that work towards diversity and making the world a better place for everyone to live while fighting against those who would extinguish the lights of anyone who doesn't believe as they do.

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