Three DWC of Flagler members attended the 63rd Annual Convention, September 12-15, at the Rosen Centre, Orlando, FL.
We arrived on Friday, one of us as the convention began, and the other two after lunch.
Friday morning started with a somewhat tedious business meeting. However, we did a great exercise called “Stand Up for Women,” that went as follows: Before the business portion began, we were asked to review a list of statements on a single sheet of paper, and to check every statement that applied to us individually. We were instructed NOT to put our names on the paper – it was an anonymous exercise. The sheets were completed, folded, and collected, and the business meeting began. At the end of the business meeting, the sheets were randomly handed back to us, making it unlikely that we would receive the same sheet that we had completed earlier. Then the DWCF president read each statement aloud, one by one, to the seated audience. If the statement that was read was marked on your sheet, you were asked to stand, and look around the room and see how many others were affected by that particular issue. Some of the statements were:
- “I have been physically or mentally abused.”
- “I am the caregiver of an aging family member.”
- “I am a single Mom with children.”
It was a powerful and effective way for us to “stand” for other women.
Lunch on Friday followed the morning business meeting. Lizzie Robinson Jenkins, Executive Director of the Real Rosewood Foundation, Inc., a chronicler of the Rosewood Story, was a surprise guest. If you don’t know the story of Rosewood, it is a shocking, and too-long hidden piece of Florida’s racist history.
We also heard from Vivian Filer, a historian and cultural storyteller, and from Anna Roosevelt Fierst, a great-granddaughter of Eleanor Roosevelt. All the speakers were excellent.
The break-out sessions after lunch maintained the excellent quality of speakers and the information they provided. We attended a session by Professor John Taylor and Dr. Marcelle Bessman, about Ruby Bridges. In early 1960, Bridges was one of six black children in New Orleans to pass the test that determined whether they could go to the all-white school, William Frantz Elementary. Bridges went to a school by herself, accompanied by federal marshals. The white parents pulled their kids out of school – all but one teacher refused to teach a black child. The story can be found here: http://fscj.me/RubyBridges/RubyBridges.html
We attended second break out session on the ACLU and Amendment Four. Dr. Micah Kubic, Florida ACLU President is not only a champion for civil rights – he’s an excellent speaker, providing us with an informative and lively session. The ACLU is challenging the law that the state legislature passed to limit Amendment 4 following its passage. Arguments in the case will be heard on October 7.
We chose to attend a third break out session entitled: “What we say and how we say it matters (controlling your filter in the age of 45).” Two DWCF members crafted this presentation themselves, and it was a hit. There was a lot of lively, but respectful, discussion in the room.
The Friday highlight was Jill Wine-Banks’ speech at Friday night’s dinner. She is a commentator on MSNBC, but also was a Watergate prosecutor, so she has a unique perspective. She laid out 6 reasons how the Trump situation is worse — more frightening, and more dangerous than it was with Nixon.
Saturday morning was filled with more business meeting.
After the business meeting, we heard the Committee Reports from the DWCF. We received some great information. For example, we heard from Linda Gallun, Chair of the Grassroots Campaign, statistics with regard to voter outreach. Specifically, she reported that by far, the most effective method to reach people is one-on-one canvassing.
We also learned that Tally Days will be on January 26, 27, and 28 in 2020. Daniel Sohn is the Chair.
Meri Forte-Namuj, International Issues Chair, would be a great speaker on climate change.
We were reminded to contribute to the PAC up to $500.
We only need to take 5 Senate seats in the Florida Senate to take a majority. To that end, we talked to the St. John’s club to try to forge an alliance to get someone to challenge Travis Hutson. Hopefully, the DECs will follow suit and recruit someone, then get to work to win the seat.
At lunch we heard from Daniel Smith, Professor and Chair of Political Science at the University of Florida. He spoke about Florida Politics and voting, especially the demographic changes and recent close elections.
There was an auction, and after lunch, the baskets were raffled off.
After the banner parade, dinner was somewhat subdued after Friday night’s affair.
The Rosen Centre is a terrific venue, and the club will probably have the convention there in 2020. However, the convention will be November 14. Hopefully, we’ll have something to celebrate.