If American women earned minimum wage for the unpaid work they do around the house and caring for relatives, they would have made $1.5 trillion in 2019.

WELCOME to the September edition of NOW New Jersey’s monthly FEMINIST FRIDAY Newsletter! This Monday is Labor Day, recognizing our fellow organizers in labor that continue the good fight for working families. In the wake of the pandemic, issues faced by women in the workplace have never been more front and center. From homeschooling to childcare needs, women have been overburdened and left the workforce. In addition, as stated above, the unpaid care work that allows our economy to function is largely performed by women and unrecognized.

A FEMINIST AGENDA — Last week on Women’s Equality Day, NOW New Jersey PAC held a successful in-person press event to announce its 2021 General Election endorsements. Elected officials including Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, Senator Vin Gopal, Assembly Member Raj Mukherjee, and Assembly Member Mila Jasey gave remarks in support of NOW and our mission. The audience included NOW-NJ members as well as other endorsed candidates, including Assembly Member Linda Carter. NOW-NJ PAC has endorsed forty-eight candidates in total, challengers and incumbents, for the General Election, including three candidates from its slate of early endorsements. Check out the full list of endorsements on our website.

ARE WE IN GILEAD? — The Texas Abortion Ban and SCOTUS’s failure to take action has abortion rights activists across the country feeling like we are living in a dystopian world. While we were gearing up for the Mississippi case hearing, this one seemed to come out of nowhere and may be the jolt that was needed to galvanize a broader base and perhaps even state legislatures like in New Jersey.

Already there have been calls to pass the RFA and the news may have shifted the conversation in statewide elections to put abortion at the center of attention. Of course, we are going to fight back, but this should be a wake up call for our young feminists who are now forced to imagine what a Pre-Roe landscape looked like. Plans are in work for a major march in Washington on October 2. Stay tuned for details.


PARTY POLITICS — In an unusual move, the State Democratic Party put out a statement regarding the Texas ban and in support of the RFA. Though the statement was officially from Chair Leroy Jones and Vice-Chair Peg Schaffer, we are convinced that it was the handiwork of our very own Executive VP, Saily Avelenda who is the Executive Director of the NJDSC. Those familiar with her twitter feed know that Saily is rarely shy about sharing her own opinions on this or any subject.


ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL — David Wildstein of the New Jersey Globe reports that abortion is now a front-and-center issue in the NJ gubernatorial campaign. On the topic of Roe v. Wade, at a press conference on Wednesday, Governor Murphy emphasized, “If the foundation of that series of case laws is impacted, impaired, taken away, the entire reality in our state falls like a house of cards, which is why we need to, as soon as possible, put this protection into statute. I’m strongly supportive of that and want that to happen sooner than later.” GOP gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli is strongly opposed to such legislation, claiming Murphy “is once again out of step with New Jersey.” However, polling by the National Institute of Reproductive Health shows that 72% of New Jersey voters support the bill.

Wildstein notes that the bill will likely not go to vote before the lame-duck session after the November elections and thinks it’s likely that the bill will get watered down as part of a compromise with centrist Democrats and pro-choice Republicans. NOW New Jersey, as part of the Thrive coalition, is working closely with coalition partners and lawmakers to see that the bill makes it through the legislature to Murphy’s desk.


TIME TO LEVEL UP NOW — 5…4…3…2…1 — Get ready to upgrade your chapter and take it to even greater heights with Level Up NOW’s skill training sessions. From guidance on successful fundraising to best practices for enhancing engagement, ensure you have the tools and know-how necessary for your chapter to thrive. Bring your questions, pen, and paper to these courses because we are here to help elevate all our members to be the most effective leaders possible. Mark your calendars and get ready to Level Up NOW with us!

September 16 – Media training and comms for nonprofits

September 30 – Fundraising for your chapter and financial planning

October 21 – Email advocacy & fundraising

November 18 – Social media organizing and using Canva

December 2 – Robert’s Rules – 101


BOARD MEETING ALERT — The next National NOW Board Meeting will be on September 18 and 19 at 12 PM. Members are encouraged to attend and learn about National NOW’s upcoming plans for the quarter. Keep an eye out in your inbox for the Zoom registration link coming soon!


DO THE WORK — Last week a political advertisement and website paid for by the GOP Gubernatorial candidate surfaced, that uses footage of NOW-NJ Treasurer Katie Brennan as she shares her harrowing experience of assault. We applaud Ms. Brennan’s courage in coming forward to enact change in the way survivors of sexual assault are treated within our criminal justice system. Ms. Brennan does not deserve to be further victimized as a pawn in a political campaign by a candidate she does not endorse.

In the press release, Ms. Brennan shared a statement addressed to the GOP candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor calling out their hypocritical stance. Ms. Brennan and NOW-NJ called for the website to be taken down, the ads to be removed from circulation and an apology to be issued to Ms. Brennan.nsent-based curriculum promotes healthy relationships, and to advocate otherwise is simply irresponsible. The joint statement was covered by many news outlets including the New Jersey Monitor and Morris County’s Daily Record. The Bergen Record published an article detailing the perspectives of the two campaigns and referencing NOW-NJ’s press release.

WALKING THE WALK — Several members of the Thrive coalition, including NOW-NJ President Anjali Mehrotra, recently spoke to Rewire Newsgroup about the importance of the Reproductive Freedom Act. In addition to stressing the importance of the legislation, Mehrotra shared her experience in working to build a more inclusive coalition of activists. As a mostly white-led coalition working on issues that affect women of color most severely, the coalition needed to reckon with its lack of representation. “I felt that I had a seat at the table, but not in the decision-making,” Mehrotra, who is South Asian, said. “I spoke up, and it was not the easiest thing to do, but I’m really glad I did because it was taken really well. We ended up really changing the entire structure of the coalition—the response was tremendous.”


Former Bush aide: Boy was I wrong about Ciattarelli’s running mate | Opinion — The Star Ledger

67 abortions in 17 hours: Inside a Texas clinic’s race to beat new six-week abortion ban — 19th News

The Filibuster Continues To Undermine Democracy, ERA and Other Advancements for Women’s and Civil Rights — Ms. Magazine

Afghan women hold protest demanding education, jobs under Taliban — The Hill

Peter Doocy and Jen Psaki’s daily clashes have become a White House briefing room ritual — Washington Post


RADIUM GIRLS — Based on fact, “Radium Girls” tells the story of female factory workers in New Jersey who contracted radiation poisoning from working with radium in 1925. Most of them were tasked with hand-painting watch dials, which would “glow in the dark,” thanks to the radium paint, and many of them kept their work sharp by using their mouths to dampen the ends of their radium-soaked brushes. At the time, radium was touted as a miracle substance with beneficial properties. When the women discovered that the radium was causing lethal illnesses, they challenged their employer in a case under New Jersey’s occupational injuries law.

Focused primarily on sisters Bessie (played by Joey King) and Jo (played by Abby Quinn), the film picks up five years after women have finally been granted the right to vote, and the young sisters are still trying to make their own way in the world, complete with jobs at the local American Radium (a tiny name tweak) factory. When Jo starts exhibiting worrying medical issues — the same that plagued their older sister before she passed away two years ago, and diagnosed as syphilis by an uncaring and unkind company doctor — Bessie is forced to face a horrifying reality of corporate and cultural deception. The creators based their central characters on real women — Jo and Bessie are composite stand-ins for real radium girls Quinta McDonald and Albina Larice — and build a wide-ranging screenplay around them as they move from shock and horror into a complex legal battle.

Released last October, the film is now available to watch on Netflix and rent on other subscription services. Watch the trailer here.


ERA NOW — For our 2020 NOW New Jersey Conference, we held panels highlighting topics relating to each of our six core issues: Reproductive Rights and Justice, Economic Justice, Ending Violence Against Women, Racial Justice, LGBTQIA+ Rights, and Constitutional Equality. With Virginia’s ratification of the ERA last year, we are the closest we have ever been to achieving our sixth aim. Check out our panel, “Why ERA and Why NOW?” to hear from an inter-generational panel of women leading the fight to adopt the ERA.

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Our purpose is to act through intersectional, anti-racist grassroots activism to promote
feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect
the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.

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