Box 28 Folder 8

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This folder contains information from Gainesville Area NOW and UF Campus NOW from 2000-2002. The documents contained in this folder are not in chronological sequence.

Overview

To increase our understanding of Gainesville feminist organizations, the split within Gainesville NOW must be fully explained to identify the differences in chapters and how they were organized. Gainesville NOW held a contested election in 2000 in which all leadership positions had been replaced with younger women in the organization. After the legitimate election, chapter business was to return to normal, but the incumbent members left the chapter to begin Judy Levy NOW. From the comments page of Gainesville NOW's 2001 annual report to FL NOW, vice-president Laurie Reisman explains that it was unexpected and shocked the new officers of Gainesville NOW. Tensions were high between the chapters and both groups had to agree to a truce to not gossip about one another.[1]

This folder explains how the organization splits into two by talking about the election, but the folder does not contain specifics about why the women were opposed to each other. Why did the ousted leadership leave the organization? Were they unhappy with the incoming leadership? Did they disagree on politics or were the members fighting about personal differences?

One newsletter explains that the split may be related to the intra-group factions or parties which the candidates self-identified as "Freedom for Women NOW." This platform is only mentioned in one newsletter and there is no explanation to what issues a Freedom-er addresses, but identification with the platform may have given them an advantage over their opponent. The candidates running in the election for president were Emily Browne who was independent and Candi Churchill who identified with Freedom for Women NOW. Candidates for vice president were Kimberly Browne and Pennie Foster - both aligned with Freedom for Women NOW. Candidates for treasurer were Linda Bassham who was independent and Jenny Brown with Freedom for Women NOW. Lori Tinney ran unopposed for secretary, but still included a statement identifying with Freedom for Women NOW. Helen Strain ran unopposed for legislative coordinator and "opted to save space" and withheld a statement.[2]

All of these women had been longtime members of Gainesville NOW, supported similar issues of reproductive rights, equal pay, equal employment, anti-racism and had no extreme differences on politics. The current selection of newsletters seems to be unable to provide any more details on the split. Perhaps when this project's scope is expanded to include other archival folders these answers will become evident. Correspondence between the members and officers may be revealing and there may be a similar trend in other NOW chapters, however, at present this folder offers no concrete answers towards why Gainesville NOW split and what the Freedom for Women NOW platform included.

The most prominent world event during this period is attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001. Lori Tinney (incoming president), Laurie Reisman (incoming vice-president), and Candi Churchill (outgoing president), begin the newsletter with brief commentary and state their support for women who lost friends and family in the attacks. The newsletter includes commentary from National NOW president, Kim Gandy who states, "The Taliban government of Afghanistan ... subjugates women and girls, and deprives them of the most basic human rights -- including education, medicine and jobs."[3] UF Campus NOW also expressed their support for Islam on Campus, an organization at the University of Florida which works to raise awareness about Muslim students and faculty, by framing the issue through sisterhood.

Document list

  • Document 1 - Chapter printout from 2001 with officer contact information and membership count.
  • Document 2 - Postcard from March 2000 with meeting and upcoming event information.
  • Document 3 - Postcard from 2002 with meeting and upcoming event information.
  • Document 4 - Postcard from 1997 with meeting and upcoming event information.
  • Document 5 - 2001 annual report from Gainesville NOW to Florida NOW.
  • Document 6 - 2000 annual report from Gainesville NOW to Florida NOW.
  • Document 7 - April-May 2000 newsletter with information about upcoming events, commentary from chapter president Emily Browne about chapter business, and an editorial about emergency contraception.
  • Document 8 - June-July 1999 newsletter with commentary, upcoming events, emergency contraception access information, and information about the Delta Chi rape of Lisa Grier King.
  • Document 9 - August 1998 newsletter with updates on local elections and a calendar of upcoming events.
  • Document 10 - June-July 2000 newsletter discussing upcoming events and commentary about local elections.
  • Document 11 - November 2002 newsletter with commentary about Gainesville NOW Wal-Mart protests, celebration of 50 years of chapter organizing, recent chapter election results, information about the Florida State NOW Conference, commentary about childcare, and updates about universal preschool Campus NOW celebrates 30 years of chapter organizing, upcoming events, and photos from recent anti-Nazi protests.
  • Document 12 - May-June 2002 newsletter with updates about upcoming chapter events, consciousness raising groups, previous event updates, UF Campus NOW elections, and various pictures.
  • Document 13 - November-December 2001 newsletter with commentary on the September 11th attacks in New York, upcoming events, results from Florida NOW annual conference, task force reports, Campus NOW upcoming events, commentary, and photos from recent events.
  • Document 14 - February-March 2001 newsletter with information about upcoming events, Consciousness Raising updates and commentary, commentary about sexual health on campus, and an action about abortion rights.
  • Document 15 - May-June newsletter with information about upcoming events, letter from president Emily Browne, and UF Campus NOW updates.
  • Document 16 - July-August 2000 newsletter with upcoming events and chapter election candidate information.

References