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NOW National Conference: 2006

2006 Conference Speakers, Honorees & Entertainers

Taina Bien-Aime'
Keynote Speaker

Taina Bien-Aime'

Taina Bien-Aimé is the Executive Director of Equality Now, an international human rights organization that works for the rights of girls and women. Equality Now is one of the leaders in the global struggle against trafficking through its documentation of the violence and discrimination against women and girls and its ability to mobilize international action to respond to these heinous acts.

Millions of women around the world are victimized by traffickers, pimps and johns each year. Regardless of how they are propelled into the multi-billion dollar industry of sexual exploitation—whether through force, deception, coercion or simply through desperate poverty—these women and girls suffer unimaginable human rights violations as commodities of the trade in human beings by third-party profiteers.

Ms. Bien-Aimé holds a Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law and a License in Political Science from the University of Geneva/Graduate School of International Studies, Switzerland.

Emma Blackman-Mathis and Jettie Fields, co-chairs of the Girls as Grantmakers Team
Women of Action Award Recipients

Allegheny County Girls as Grantmakers Team

Many women were offended when retailing giant Abercrombie & Fitch launched a new line of "attitude T-shirts" for young women last fall featuring slogans like "Who needs brains when you have these?" emblazoned across the chest. But it was a group of 24 diverse high school students from Pennsylvania who turned outrage into action and forced Abercrombie & Fitch to back down.

Last November, the Girls as Grantmakers team launched a girlcott of Abercrombie & Fitch to protest the demeaning shirts. They organized a press conference and rally in their own community, urging other girls and women to email their objections to the clothing company.

Their activism quickly attracted widespread national attention from the "Today" show, CNN and other media outlets. In less than a week, Abercrombie & Fitch relented and pulled the shirts from the market. Jettie Fields said of the victory: "The fact that we were able to take [on] a huge corporation and have them listen to us; that's an awesome victory." The group's next project will be to work with Abercrombie & Fitch to develop apparel that can empower young women. Concerning the Girls as Grantmakers' work, co-chair Emma Blackman-Mathis said: "We are all coming together to work towards this one goal—to empower girls with the resources to fulfill their dreams."

Dove Ad

Brian Collins, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

Brian Collins is the Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, the advertising agency behind Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. Collins leads the Brand Integration Group (BIG), which has been called "the leading incubator of design talent in advertising."

Working with Dove, Brian's team created and designed the traveling exhibit "Real Beauty" which launched the new campaign idea across North America. His team invited more than 60 of the world's leading women photographers to define "real beauty" in any way they wished. The resulting images, many of them unexpected and iconoclastic, challenge the damaging feminine cliches perpetuated by advertising.

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty has become an international media phenomenon and is now running in Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East. Many agree it's a breath of fresh air in the advertising industry. The ads, which feature images of women of varying ages, shapes, sizes, and colors, have renewed debate about images of women in the media.

Tyne Daly

Tyne Daly

Tyne Daly has promoted positive images of women through her work on television and her activism. Daly set an Emmy Award record in 1996, becoming the Academy's most honored Dramatic Actress when she won her fifth Emmy for her role in CBS's "Christy."

She won four previous lead actress awards for the landmark feminist series "Cagney and Lacey." Daly also won a Tony Award in 1990 for her stunning portrayal of Mama Rose in "Gypsy."

In 2000, Daly returned to television in in the highly acclaimed dramatic series "Judging Amy", for which she received Emmy nominations for Best Supporting Actress in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in the Broadway play "Rabbit Hole."

As an activist, Daly works for women's rights and against domestic violence. Daly and "Cagney and Lacey" costar Sharon Gless appeared and spoke at NOW's 1995 Rally for Women's Lives.

Daly was a featured speaker at the 1999 National NOW Conference and also spoke at the 2004 March for Women's Lives in Washington, D.C. She is featured also in the NOW Foundation video, "Hollywood's Smoke and Mirrors: Women's Health at Risk."

Cany de La Vega, DJ

Cany de La Vega

Cany de La Vega is a very talented singer with a unique voice. She is an entertainer who delights audiences with her combination of singing and professional disc jockeying. Her specialty is women's liberation music from Latin America and the Caribbean. Her many years of experience entertaining in New York and in Latin America and the Caribbean make her the best option for cultural and private parties.

Cany de La Vega con talento, exclusividad, una voz maravillosa, un sonido fenomenal y la musica de tu predilección Cany de La Vega hara inolvidable cualquier encuentro festivo. Por sus años de experiencia, en New York y en eventos promociónales y culturales ella es tu mejor opción. Para contrataciones llamar al (917) 623-8560.

Hon. Grace Diaz
Political Institute Speaker

Grace Diaz

In 2004, Grace Diaz was elected to represent District 11 in Rhode Island's General Assembly, a victory that shocked the local pundits. As a home daycare owner and mother of five, Diaz was a political newcomer in Rhode Island and she took on a two-term incumbent with solid support in the district. But with a broad coalition of supporters behind her and lots of hard work—her days started with opening her daycare at 6 am, canvassing her neighborhood from 5 pm to 8:30 pm and then making calls until 9:15 pm—she succeeded in ousting the incumbent.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Diaz immigrated to Providence in 1990, speaking no English and having only $40 and two dresses with her. When elected in 2004, Grace Diaz became the first Dominican American woman elected to a state office in the United States. Diaz gained experience in politics while living in the Dominican Republic; she worked for the mayor of Santo Domingo for 3 years and for the president of the Dominican Republic for four.

Diaz is a tireless advocate for women's and civil rights. In her first year in the House, she achieved passage of a bill creating the office of a Civil Rights Advocate in the Attorney General's office.

Ani DiFranco
Woman of Courage Award Recipient

Ani DiFranco

Ani DiFranco is a songwriter, vocalist, guitarist and activist. In concert, DiFranco still creates the cozy atmosphere that listening to a self-described "little folksinger" brings—even if it's in a packed amphitheater. The impact she's had on listeners around the world, however, has been anything but little.

DiFranco never played by the music industry's rules. Instead of signing a recording contract with a label, DiFranco created her own label, Righteous Babe.

With each performance, DiFranco shows, through her songs, spoken word and off-the-cuff stories, that the personal is the political. She encourages her listeners to get politically active.

In an interview DiFranco said, "Since political edifices are purporting to dictate to me whether I can or cannot have an abortion, what drugs I can or cannot ingest, where on this Earth I can and cannot go, and who on this Earth I can love (just to name a few things), then it seems obvious to me that the personal is political."

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.)
Political Institute Speaker

Rep. Carolyn Maloney

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney of New York is a nationally recognized advocate for women's and family issues. In ably representing her district in Congress, Maloney emphasizes funding for women's health needs, reproductive freedom, and international family planning.

Maloney is the former co-chair of the Women's Caucus and was a member of the U.S. delegations to the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. As a Member of Congress, she spearheaded the Debbie Smith Act to end the backlog of uninvestigated rape cases, which became law in October 2004 as part of the Justice for All Act. Maloney successfully attached an amendment to the Defense Authorization legislation in 2004 to ensure that the American military has ample rape DNA testing kits and to expedite the use of those kits.

Sandy Rapp

Sandy Rapp

Sandy Rapp is an author, songwriter and grassroots activist who recounted her battles with the religious right in the book God's Country: A Case Against Theocracy; The Haworth Press. Rapp's CD "We The People" is a feminist and gay issues collection of original songs which Gay Today's Jack Nichols calls Rapp "Dylanesque." The CD also features a guest vocal by the late Bella Abzug on "Remember Rose: A Song For Choice," about the first back-street abortion fatality of the Medicaid-Abortion cutoff in 1977. "Everyone Was At Stonewal" was written for police sensitivity training.

Rapp's appearances include the million-plus 2004 March For Women's Lives, the National Women's Music Festival, National NOW Rallies in Seneca Falls, Manhattan, and Washington, D.C., the National Women's Political Caucus Conference, the Gulf Coast Womyn's Festival, Chicago's Autumnfest, New York State NOW Conferences, Montana Pride Rally, Palm Springs' Gay Veterans, Manhattan's Peoples Voice Cafe, Long Island Pride Parade, the 2001 NOW March on DC, the Gay Millennium March, the 2003 and 2005 National NOW Conferences, the Manhattan LBGT Center, the NOW-NYC Central Park Protest against the 2004 Republican Convention, the 2005 Save The Court Rally in Union Square, and the Molly Yard Memorial in D.C.'s Hart Senate Office Building.

Heather Tom

Heather Tom
Special Guest

Heather Tom is best known for her longstanding role as Victoria Newman on CBS's "The Young & The Restless". In November of 2003 she joined the ABC network as Kelly on "One Life To Live". Heather's work on "The Young & The Restless" earned her two Emmys: one in 1993 (at the age of sixteen) and the second in 1999. She also earned Emmy nominations in '94, '95, '96, '97, '98, and 2000. Heather Tom holds the record for being the most Emmy Award Nominated actress under the age of thirty.

Heather devotes much of her time to community service and political advocacy. She works with many AIDS and children's charities. Heather is also an avid supporter of women's rights; in 2003, she founded Daytime for Planned Parenthood, a committee that promotes reproductive freedom. Heather has also participated with "Rock the Vote" and She Votes, a project to encourage political and civic participation by women.

Bree Williamson

Bree Williamson
Special Guest

Bree Williamson is best known for her portrayal of Jessica Buchanan on the ABC soap opera, "One Life to Live," a role she has been playing since February 2003. Prior to launching her acting career, Williamson originally planned to pursue a career in business, psychology or women's studies. While in her late teens, she and her sister opened a successful clothing store in Toronto, Canada, where she was raised.

In addition to "One Live to Live," Williamson's television credits include a guest starring roles in the Toronto-based "Mutant X", Columbia Tristar's "DOC" and "Nikita". She also completed a leading role in the feature film "Adam and Eve," which debuted at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival.

Williamson devotes her free time to community service, as a Planned Parenthood advocate at a Toronto organization for teens in need of sexual health counseling.

Dr. Susan Wood
Woman of Courage Award Recipient

Dr. Susan Wood

Dr. Susan Wood is the former Assistant Commissioner for Women's Health and Director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Women's Health. Dr. Wood resigned from her position at the FDA in August 2005 in protest over the agency's handing of the application for over-the-counter status for Plan B (Emergency Contraception). In her resignation letter, Dr. Wood called out the agency for overruling the scientific and clinical evidence presented by the professional staff of the FDA.

Before joining the FDA in 2000, Dr. Wood was the Director for Policy and Program Development at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health. She led the development of policy for the office and recommended action for both the Assistant Secretary for Health and the Secretary.

Since her resignation, Dr. Wood has toured the country speaking about the interference of politics and ideology in U.S. public health policies. In an interview with Choice! Magazine, Wood said of her lectures: "I'm trying to take the message to people around the country, from different walks of life, of how important it is that we make our health policy decisions based on science and medicine and not on anything else."

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