Bess Blackwell, AAUW MS State President, Barbara Patrick, and Menuka Ban at 2012 Convention.
State AAUW Convention
Our State annual convention was held March 23 – 24, 2012 at Mississippi University for Women. Friday, March 23rd, Samuel Lehman, AAUW Grassroots Coordinator spoke to us concerning Voter Education. This presentation was a part of our Impact Grant. He gave each of us a copy of the 3rd edition of “Woman-To-Woman Voter turnout. A Manual for Community-Based Campaigns to Mobilize Women to Vote”. Sam encouraged each of us to make the Election about our issues. In-state trainings will be conducted during the months of March-June. April – May the In-state Coordinators begin to work to help us educate women about the need to be registered to vote and then to go out to vote. In month of May we should emphasize our Social Media Campaign. September until Election Day we should talk about the Vote Guide and Voter Record distribution that shows how our Congressman have voted on Women issues. Face-to-Face and Phone Canvassing should be emphasized in the month of October. Advertising for Get out the Vote (GOTV) should be done in October until November 6th, election.
Our emphasis for the Voter education should be on the Millennial Women ages 18 – 30. This group of women are more ethnically and racially diverse that older women. They are also the biggest generation. We should use social media to contact these women such as Facebook, twitter, blogs and chat rooms. Once we reach these women and get them registered , we must follow-up to encourage them to go out and vote.
Saturday, March 24th, our first speaker was Brother Rogers. He spoke about the need to have more women to run for public office. He gave a lot of statistical information. Mississippi as we know does not have a woman in Congress. He emphasized that women do make a difference in how public policy is made and they are more inclusive, census builders and more collaborative. He stated that some of the reasons that women do not run for office are that they are not asked; there are negative attitudes about campaigning; women do not think they are qualified and there is a self perception in the political environment that people are prejudiced against women and this is not true. Brother Rogers stated that we need to better organized and better focused; we need to be intentional about getting women to run and we need to cultivate young women to run for public office.
Mildred Hoffler-Foushee, AAUW Board of Directors, Finance Vice-President spoke to us about AAUW. She stated AAUW membership is growing and the Student Affiliates’ memberships have increased. There is an AAUW Voices Project that deals with social media. Cindy is the Communications Director and will help us with any newspaper articles and any social media, that includes: youtube.com/AAUWinfo; blog-aauw.org; and Linkedin,etc.
Mildred encouraged us to use the many programs in a box. There is one program entitled “Elect Her”. For the Colleges/Universities there is a rate of $130.00 to join at this time. Normally the rate depends upon the number of students enrolled. At the 2013 Convention in New Orleans, paper ballots will be used, but electronic voting will still be available. All voting issues should be discussed within the branches and voted on electronically before the Convention. There will be no business session at the Convention.
In the afternoon, we had a student presentation from Menuka Ban from MUW along with Dr. Beverly Patrick, a Professor in Political Science from MSU. Menuka told of her experiences as a foreign student attending MUW. She suggested to recruit students that a laptop be provided at school orientation and ask the students to log into their Facebook page and like us (AAUW). Menuka stated it is really difficult to get students to register, because they do not see the importance of registering to vote.
Dr. Patrick suggested we use chat rooms to connect with students, because it is better than Facebook. You advertise what your topic of discussion will be and students will join the chat room. Dr. Patrick has committed to working with us to begin a chat room. She is very excited to help us to reach the students and the millennial women.
Our new state Officers for 2012 – 2014 are: President – Bess C. Blackwell; Vice-President for Programs is Amber Handy and Communications/Secretary is Eleanor Lacklen. The nominating committee members are: Erin Kemper and Margaret Swanson. A representative from the Jackson Branch is needed to serve on the nominating committee.
Bess C. Blackwell, President, AAUW Mississippi
Dr. Gio Chinchar Receives the Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award
Dr. Giovina (Gio) Chinchar received the Outstanding Humanitarian Service award given by the Governor’s Initiative For Volunteer Excellence (GIVE) on April 16, 2012 at the Mississippi Museum of Art. An excerpt from the information about her reads in part: “Gio Chinchar is the kind of person any community organization would love to have as a volunteer. In fact she comes highly recommended by four of them. Two days a week she tutors middle school children at the Tisdale Library.
Gio’s volunteer work also takes her to the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi where folks say her giving spirit is contagious! She writes grant proposals, holds weaving classes and gives demonstration.
For more than 10 years, Gio has volunteered to help the Gleaners of Jackson salvage food which would be thrown away, and provide it to the homeless, chemically-addicted and mentally ill in the community.
Last, but not least, Gio Chinchar gives her time and talents to the Mississippi Food Network. Among the duties she performs, she writes grants and her efforts have secured more than $350,000 for the organization. In 2010, the Mississippi Food Network Board of Directors showed their immense appreciation for her by recognizing Gio as their ‘Volunteer of the Year'”.
Let us congratulate Gio on her volunteer efforts that have been recognized by her peers. It was a pleasure for me to attend the Awards ceremony with Gio, her family and friends.
Bess C. Blackwell, President, AAUW Mississippi
Mark your calendar
March 23-24, 2012: AAUW MS Convention, MUW
April 17, 2012: Equal Pay Day, Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act