Shirley Wheeler, Gloria Yost, Linda Whitney and Nancy McCabe attended the national AAUW convention in Washington DC this past June. The new Chief Executive Officer, Kimberly Churches was introduced.
The convention dedicated a substantial chunk of time on information we would need to lobby our senators and representatives. The first dinner speaker was Judy Woodruff, current co-anchor and managing editor for the PBS News Hour and previously a newscaster for both CNN and NBC. She has received numerous awards for her work in journalism and has authored several books. Judy noted that she has never seen anything like the current level of discourse in Washington during her over three decades of broadcasting.
The second day we dispersed to visit our senators and members of Congress. As the Senate was voting, we met with our senators’ aides to lobby for AAUW’s goals. Afterwards, we visited our Congressional House members’ offices for the same purpose. Gloria saw Ami Bera while Linda, Archana Maniar and I first met with MOC Matsui’s aide. She ushered us into her office where she was glad to see us and was very warm. She loves AAUW!
In between the main speakers, we had workshops and dialogs to give us ideas for our branches. The speakers for the Friday dinner were Dr. Tererai Trent, Oprah’s favorite guest. She has been married off at a young age in Tanzania but managed to get to the US for school with her children and became an AAUW International Fellow. The award came when she needed it most, and she is very grateful as it enabled her to pursue her dream of building schools in Africa. Dr. Trent was followed by Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor who walked among the crowd answering questions from Ms. Churches. She had quotes too numerous to remember, but said that education wasn’t a way to success, it was the only way.
We also heard from two female political pollsters who recommended that we work at the state and local level. Be a problem solver- not a complainer. It was a busy four days!