What's at stake for women and girls?
Well, it’s official: Tennessee now ranks dead last nationally in voter turn-out, according to the recent report by Pew Charitable Trusts. This spring we reported that the Institute for Women’s Policy Research ranked Tennessee 42nd in the country on women’s turnout. Thanks to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, we know that the state’s ranking is a reflection of recent state policy changes increasing restrictions to voter registration–stipulating a picture ID and requiring a social security number, for example.
Sure, by now, many of us are fatigued by the onslaught of election coverage. It’s not uncommon to hear friends or colleagues talk about not voting. Despite that fatigue, we make a difference when we hit the polls and bring our friends along.
That’s where the branch comes in. We are kicking-off this year with the panel “What’s at Stake for Women and Children in this Election,” taking place on Thursday, September 8th at 5:30pm at MTSU’s Tom Jackson Building. Voter registration will be available onsite!
Dr. Phyllis Qualls-Brooks will moderate the panel. We have invited the following organizations to serve on the panel:
- AWAKE Tennessee (Advocates for Women's and Kid's Equality)
- Business and Professional Women of Tennessee
- Women's Political Collaborative of Tennessee
- AAUW of Tennessee
These nonpartisan organizations spend a good deal of time on the hill in Nashville and work with Tennessee’s congressional delegation. What do they see from the standpoint of women and children? Come to the panel and find-out.
This panel is our inaugural branch meeting of the year. The branch has just recently doubled-down on mission based programming through the direction of the new strategic plan. All of our work will be measured by how active we are in the community and regionally to level the playing field for women and girls.
You are central in all that we do, and your engagement will determine how successful we will be in this weighty task. The Get Involved section of this newsletter identifies some opportunities.
We did take your comments to heart this spring when we developed the plan. This year we have upped the ante in branch programming, making it easier for you to plug-in to our work on behalf of women and girls:
1. The branch is at its best shaping the public dialogue and sparking passion in issues impacting women and girls. This year, you’ll note that our meetings will offer more hands-on opportunities and timely dialogue to help us do that. There is plenty of conviviality to boot: the October open house, the coffees and conversations, etc. Check it all out on our calendar.
2. Members, friends and allies are welcome at all of our branch meetings AT NO COST. That’s right: all branch meetings are now free.
3. We have reconsidered the important philanthropic role that AAUW has always fulfilled and now we have focused our fundraising efforts on three events during the year.
October 2016: Staffing the Middle Half. By serving as the sole staffing organization during packet pick-up for the Murfreesboro Half Marathon, we earn a contribution to the branch that helps to cover our programming.
December 2016: Buffalo Raffle. This small-dollar ($2 to be exact) fundraising event contributes to national AAUW’s programs.
Spring 2017: Annual Fundraising Event. Last year we hosted “Songs for Scholarship”, this year we have a special event in the works to fund the Ruth Houston Memorial Scholarship for nontraditional students. You will hear more about it in our September newsletter.
The branch aims to be your resource in leveling the playing field for women and girls. We hope that the 2016 events and opportunities to get involved offer you and your friends just that.
I look forward to seeing you at our next event!
Yours in leveling the playing field,
President, AAUW Murfreesboro