Judy Levy NOW

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Judy Levy NOW, also referred to as Gainesville Central Area Judy Levy NOW, was a chapter of NOW in Gainesville, Florida which began after a split from Gainesville NOW in 2000.[1] The chapter was named after Judy Levy, a children's Psychologist at Shands Teaching Hospital. Levy founded the Gainesville Women's Health Center in 1975 and The Birthplace, Inc. in 1978 with Billye Avery and Margaret Parrish. Levy was an outspoken activist for women's reproductive rights and viewed abortion as "the cornerstone of women's rights."[2]

Relationship with Gainesville NOW

A contested election in 2000 replaced all leadership positions. Mail-in and proxy voters came into the election meeting and elected members from Gainesville Women's Liberation, including Jenny Brown as treasurer, Penny Foster as vice-president, and Candi Churchill as president. The outgoing officers left Gainesville NOW and formed Judy Levy NOW.[3]

The reason for the split was that some of the women identified with the Freedom for Women NOW platform,


After the split, the officers of Judy Levy NOW included Connie Amidei as chapter President, Laura Bresko as chapter Vice-President, Linda Bassham as Treasurer, and Helen Strain as Legislative Coordinator. The position of chapter Secretary remained unfilled.[4]


The members of Judy Levy NOW were involved with other organizations in Gainesville including F.R.E.E. (Floridians Representing Equality & Equity); Arrive with Five, a voter education project directed by Florida Representative Tony Hill and Florida Senator Kendrick Meek; Gainesville Women for Equal Rights, an active organization in the 1960s-1970s which fought for desegregation and continued working in the early 2000s to counter racism in the community; labor activism; LGBT groups; the Gainesville chapter of the NAACP; Planned Parenthood; the Gainesville chapter of the United Nations Association; and the Civic Media Center. The chapter included these organizations' upcoming events in each newsletter's [5]