Monday, August 06, 2007

Public Policy for All Ages

I was in Rockville, MD last week with my family. My husband was down on business and I took the opportunity to take the kids to DC.

As we toured the usual tourist stops around the city we happened to see two young men, congressional aides probably, standing out on the terrace of the Russell house office building, one of the three used by U.S. Representatives. My 6 year old son really wanted to go into the building and stand where those men were standing.

Wanting to get my kids excited about democracy and teach my kids about how our government works I, of course, agreed. So in we went. We went up the stairs and wandered about a bit. I pointed out the posters outside many of the offices, highlighting the legislation that Representative was involved in.

Outside one office there was a poster referencing the national debt. My son became very excited and wanted to go in immediately to ask about it. While I was quite impressed with his enthusiasm, I was puzzled at the same time. When I asked him what he wanted to know, he said he wanted to see if we could go out onto the "National Deck."

Activism is often like that. We assume others know what we are talking about and what our issues are, but sometimes we need a reality check.

And sometimes we just need to walk into our legislators offices, or send them an email or make a phone call and let them know what's on our mind.

That is why these building remain open to the public. So we have access to our legislators who, after all, work for us.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Buffalo to hear Lilly Ledbetter!

Presumably everyone is now aware of the (in my opinion, also expressed by dissenter Ruth Bader Ginsberg) misguided ruling of the US Supreme Court in the Ledbetter vs Goodyear case regarding ongoing pay inequity. Congress has responded, with the US House of Representatives having passed what is being billed as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Buffalo Branch is delighted to announce that Ms Ledbetter will be speaking at the first branch meeting of the 2007-08 year, the annual prospective member/new member potluck supper.

Prospective members are invited to attend the meeting on Monday, September 10 at 5:30 in Buffalo - watch for further details. There is no cost for non-members to attend, however, reservations are required. Reserve your place today by emailing: or calling 716-559-3037 (choose option 3).

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Virginia Gildersleeve

The Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund is a charitable and educational fund which supports projects worldwide, focusing on women's educational activities, leadership training, community development, and the advancement of understanding and cooperation among women. It was founded in 1969 by eleven members of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW) to assist women college graduates in identifying and implementing solutions to a variety of problems confronting their nations. Grants for small amounts of money are awarded to aid educational and community development projects affecting the condition of women and girls.Today, most of the projects funded are to women in low per capita income countries. In 1997, VGIF achieved NGO status at the United Nations.

The fund was named in honor of Virginia Gildersleeve, a noted leader in women's education and Dean of Barnard College. Gildersleeve was a co-founder and twice president of the International Federation of University Women. She was the only woman appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt to the U.S. Delegation which established the United Nations, and the first woman in the United States to sign a United States treaty.