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NOW National Conference: 2007

Speakers & Honorees

Confirmed speakers:

Confirmed speakers (cont'd):


Charon Asetoyer

Charon AsetoyerCharon Asetoyer is an ardent advocate for justice for Native American women and all women. A Comanche who married into the Yankton Sioux tribe in Lake Andes, South Dakota, Asetoyer founded the nation's first reservation-based resouces center for Native American women in 1988, of which she is currently Executive Director. The Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center assists indigenous women and their families through policy work as well as direct services and coalition-building with other indigenous women around the world. In 1991, the Center opened a domestic violence shelter for women and children, and since then has initiated other programs, such as one that raises awareness about fetal-alcohol issues and an AIDS prevention program. Asetoyer's work at the Center and activism around reproductive justice is crucial in light of the Hyde Amendment, which has deprived women on reservations of abortion services since 1976, as well as other issues such as the high rates of rape, sexual assault, and violence against indigenous women, and ongoing human rights violations.

Asetoyer was an outspoken opponent of South Dakota's all-out abortion ban in 2006, and announced her run for state senate following the passage of the draconian legislation. She ran on a platform promoting economic, environmental, and reproductive justice for all, as well as universal health insurance coverage, fair living wages, paid maternity leave, and a host of pro-woman, pro-family issues. In 2005, Asetoyer was honored by Womens eNews as one of the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century.

Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick

Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick Detroit native Hon. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick is the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. This six-term member of Congress holds the distinction of being the first woman ever elected to that position. Her years of hard work and her thoughtful political style have earned her the confidence and respect of her peers, who have appointed her to the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which authorizes spending for all levels of the federal government.

Congresswoman Kilpatrick did her undergraduate work at Ferris State University and received a Bachelor's Degree from Western Michigan University. She also received a Masters Degree from the University of Michigan, and taught business education in Detroit Public Schools.

She began her political career in 1978, when she was elected to the Michigan State House, where she became the first African-American woman to serve on the House Appropriations Committee. She served in the Michigan legislature for 18 years before being elected to the United States Congress in 1996.

While in Congress, Representative Kilpatrick has taken a special interest in leveling the playing field for minority-owned and minority-targeted media outlets and advertising firms, which often face discrimination from major advertisers. She has hosted highly successful forums on trends in advertising and has convened a panel of high profile industry experts to examine the issue. Kilpatrick was a leading force in the successful effort to secure a Presidential Executive Order compelling all federal agencies to increase their contractual opportunities with minority businesses.

Politics runs in the Kilpatrick family. Her son, Kwame Kilpatrick, is serving his second term of Mayor of Detroit. She also has a daughter and five grandsons, including two sets of twins.

Angie Cruz

Angie Cruz Acclaimed author Angie Cruz believes in the transformative power of writing to change lives and change society. Angie, who grew up in the Dominican community of Washington Heights in New York, was training for a career in fashion design following high school when a chance encounter with Bill Cosby in the retail store where she worked inspired her to pursue her dream of writing.

Through much hard work and study, including an undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Binghampton and an MFA from New York University, Angie achieved her goal in 2001 with the publication of her first novel, Soledad, which she recently adapted for the screen for Nueva York Productions. Her second novel, Let It Rain Coffee, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2005.

In 1997, even before publication of her own first novel, Angie joined with two other Latina feminist writers, Marta Lucia and Adelina Anthony, to found Women in Literature & Letters (WILL). For two years, the New York-based organization provided a space and a community for women writers from outside the mainstream of American society, especially women of color and immigrant women, to learn to write about their lives through a program of readings, workshops, and conferences. Although Angie and the other organizers put WILL on hold in 2000 due to other commitments, she remains convinced of the importance and power of writing to change society and individual lives.

In addition to her novels, Angie has contributed shorter works to numerous periodicals including Latina Magazine, Callaloo and The New York Times. She has won awards for her writing and/or activist work such as The New York Foundation of The Arts Fellowship, Barbara Deming Award, Yaddo, and The Camargo Fellowship.

She currently teaches creative writing at Texas A&M University, and splits her time between New York, Turin, Italy, and College Station, Texas. She is now working on her third novel.

Sue Errington

Sue ErringtonA dedicated community leader and public advocate, Indiana State Senator Sue Errington was first elected in November of 2006. Errington's long record of public service includes serving as Indiana NOW president and National NOW Board member, as well as her work with the Muncie-Delaware County Coalition of Women's Organizations, the League of Women Voters, and the American Association of University Women. She has also worked as the Public Policy Director for Planned Parenthood of Indiana.

She has served on the Delaware County Council, the Mayor's Affirmative Action Task Force, the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Health Education, the City-County Commission Against Domestic Violence, the Delaware County Community Corrections Board and the Muncie Housing Authority.

Errington is a member of the Senate Health & Provider Services; Education & Career Development; and Energy & Environmental standing committees. Her awards and recognition include the Vivian Conley Award "Women Who Have Made A Difference," 1994; Advancing the Status of Women, Soroptimist International of Muncie, 2000, and Woman of the Year, Indiana NOW in 1980.

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley

Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Olympic gold medalist Benita Fitzgerald Mosley is a world class athlete and successful business executive who is skilled at breaking down barriers. A 1984 graduate of the University of Tennessee, Benita was a 15-time All-American and four time NCAA title winner in track and field for the Lady Vols. She won a gold medal in the 1983 Pan American Games, and earned a place on the 1980 and 1984 U.S. Olympic teams.

In 1984, Benita won the Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles, becoming the first African-American woman to do so.

In 1996, Mosley was honored as one of eight U.S. Olympians to carry the Olympic Flag into the stadium during the Opening Ceremonies of the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. Sports Illustrated named her "Top Female Sports Figure of the Century from Virginia," and in 2001, her alma mater honored her as a charter member of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols Hall of Fame.

Benita's commitment to women's sports continued even as her days as a competitive athlete ended. She has worked in a variety of roles at the United States Olympic Committee and served as a regional director for Special Olympics International. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Women's Sports Foundation, an organization that promotes opportunities for girls and women in sports and fitness through education, advocacy, awards and grant programs.

Since March of 2001, Benita Fitzgerald Mosley has been President of Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT), an association for women in the telecommunications industries whose mission is to develop women leaders who transform the industry. In November 2004, she was named "Cable TV Executive of the Year" by Television Week Magazine.

Judy Goldsmith

Former NOW president Judy Goldsmith was not able to be with us last year when we paid tribute to her and to all of our past presidents in celebration of NOW's 40 th anniversary. We are honored that she will be with us at this year's conference to receive our tribute in person.

Judy Goldsmith, NOW President 1982-1985

Judy Goldsmith Goldsmith served NOW both as national executive vice president from 1978 to 1982 and as president from 1982 to 1986, having risen through the organizational ranks beginning with local and state involvement in Wisconsin.

As NOW president, she led the organization through some of the most visible and effective activity in its history, including NOW's central role in the groundbreaking selection of Geraldine Ferraro as the first woman to be chosen as the vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket; NOW's focus on civil rights, including Goldsmith's 1984 arrest at the South African Embassy in protest of that nation's apartheid policies and her co-chairing of the 1983 March on Washington with Coretta Scott King; and NOW's active opposition to increasingly militant anti-abortion activities in the early 1980s.

Her NOW administration also concentrated on economic issues affecting women, including pay equity/comparable worth, affirmative action, pensions, social security, and child care. She resides in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where she serves on the county board of supervisors, having retired as CEO/Dean of the University of Wisconsin -- Fond du Lac.

Jennifer Granholm

Jennifer GranholmHon. Jennifer Mulhern Granholm was elected governor of Michigan in 2003 at age 43. and is one of the most engaging and inspiring public servants in the country.

Her focus on families has meant expanded health care coverage for 300,000 uninsured Michiganians. Her Michigan First Health Care Plan will be the first in the state's history to extend universal access to affordable health care to every family in Michigan.

Despite tough fiscal times, Granholm has increased spending for Michigan's public schools to record levels. The first in her family to attend college, Granholm has championed universal access to higher education.

In 1998, Granholm was elected Michigan's first female attorney general, and in the 2003 Democratic primary for governor she defeated both a former governor of Michigan and a Congressman who had been Democratic Minority Whip.

Jennifer Granholm was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is a 1987 honors graduate of Harvard Law School, where she edited the Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, demonstrated for Harvard to disinvest in South Africa, and met her husband, Daniel Granholm Mulhearn. They have three children. Granholm currently serves as vice chair of the Democratic Governors Association.

Jewell Jackson McCabe

Jewell Jackson McCabe In 1981, Jewell Jackson McCabe told the New York Times, "We hear that behind every great man is a woman. It has been my experience that behind every great effort and achievement in society goes a Black woman or a group of Black women being unrecognized."

A businesswoman, activist, and leader in multiple arenas, McCabe has dedicated her life to expanding opportunities for women of color across public and private sectors.

She is founder of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women (NCBW), a national women's advocacy organization with a membership of 7000 women across the country. McCabe is also the president of Jewell Jackson McCabe Associates, a management consulting firm specializing in strategic communications which has advised organizations such as the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, and American Express.

Her leadership roles abound. President Clinton appointed McCabe to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, in which she is a member of its Education and Community Outreach Committee and its congressionally mandated Committee on Conscience. She was appointed by Governor Mario M. Cuomo to the New York State Council on Fiscal and Economic Priorities, and was chair of the New York State Job Training Partnership Council federal employment block grant during Cuomo's and Governor Pataki's administrations. Additionally, McCabe serves on the boards of numerous organizations, including the New York City Commission on the Status of Women.

McCabe spoke at the March for Women's Lives in Washington, D.C. in April 1992. In 2001, speaking at the Barnard Center for Research on Women's "The Scholar & the Feminist Conference," McCabe stated, "We have a ... burden to raise women who are feminists ... We need to understand that [feminism] is not just an issue of domestic or corporate concern, it is an issue of opportunity."

Chenese Lewis

Chenese LewisChenese Lewis is a model and actor in Los Angeles where she advocates positive portrayals of plus size women in the media. The Louisiana native was the first-ever Miss Plus America. In recognition of her outstanding work in the area of positive body image, she was crowned Miss Plus America Lifetime, a lifetime achievement award, in the form of a never ending reign.

Loving Your Body has been a resounding theme throughout her career. Chenese is the chairperson for the Hollywood NOW Chapter's Love Your Body committee, and she created and organized the first annual Love Your Body Day celebration for the chapter in October 2006. The event was a huge success and is becoming a signature event for the chapter. Chenese is also the spokesperson for the Love Your Body Project (, which sells wristbands with a powerful message and contributes the proceeds to great causes.

Chenese is also a writer and serves as Empowerment Editor for PLUS Model Magazine ( column helps inspire curvy readers to pursue their dreams, thrive in their curves, and understand that anything is possible with hard work, determination, and positive thinking. Visit her website at:

Ava Lowery

Ava LoweryAva Lowery is the 16-year-old peace activist from Alabama behind the website, for which she has received international attention. Lowery's moving animations show the multidimensional tragedy of the Iraq war -- losses of brave young soldiers to U.S., and losses of innocent civilians in Iraq. Poignant and raw, Ava's youth and sincerity has attracted support from a broad base of both soldiers and activists.

Lowery's unflappable determination has drawn its share of persecution, as well. She received death threats from angry Bush supporters after a particularly compelling piece, "WWJD", a heartbreaking montage of photos of wounded and bloodied Iraqi children shown while a child sings "Jesus Loves Me."

Lowery's animations have drawn attention and support from the blogosphere as well -- her site now draws over 30,000 visitors each day and she received a warm welcome at the Yearly Kos Convention.

In March, after a prolific year of video shorts opposing the war, Lowery announced plans to begin a full-length documentary about the Iraq war and its effects, which she hopes will help bring the troops home.

Carol Moseley Braun

Carol Moseley Braun Hon. Carol Moseley Braun has served her country as United States Senator (1992-98), U.S. Ambadassor (1999-2001), County Executive, State Representative, Assistant U.S. Attorney, and Democratic candidate for president of the United States in 2003-04.

In 1992, with an early endorsement and campaign support from NOW, Moseley Braun became the first female senator from Illinois, the first female African-American senator and the first African-American Democratic senator. In the Senate, she was a consistent and strong voice for equal opportunity, the prevention of discrimination on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation, reproductive freedom, and social and economic justice. Moseley Braun was also the first permanent female member of the Finance Committee.

In 2005, she incorporated Ambassador Organics, a premium, certified organic and biodynamic products company. The brand, and its sister brand, Dynamic Organic, are part of Moseley Braun's Good Food Organics holding company, which follows the triple-bottom-line business approach of financial profitability, environmental sustainability and social ethics.

Moseley Braun's work has earned her the Attorney General's Special Achievement award and more than 200 additional awards and 11 honorary degrees for achievements in the public interest. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the NOW Advisory Board and is an advisor to the NOW Political Action Committees.

Jill Soloway

Jill Soloway Jill Soloway is a very funny woman. For four seasons, she was a writer and eventually co-executive producer of HBO's dark comedy hit, Six Feet Under. She joined Six Feet Under after working on several TV sitcoms including The Oblongs, Baby Blues and Nikki.

After Six Feet Under ended in 2005, Jill turned her prodigious talents as a writer, producer and director to a host of new ventures. Her collection of essays, Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants, was published in September, 2005 to rave reviews. She is currently directing her first feature film, Tricycle, and has just finished writing the screenplay for Pledged, a comedy about sorority life from Paramount and the producers of Mean Girls, which is loosely based on the Alexandra Robbins book.

Jill got her start in the entertainment field by doing theater with her sister, Faith, in Chicago, where they created the generation-defining stage phenomenon, The Real Live Brady Bunch, which eventually played at the Village Gate in New York City, The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, and toured the country and the world. She and her sister also created, directed and performed in two other hit comedies, The Miss Vagina Pageant and Not Without My Nipples.

Jill is also the creator of Sit n' Spin, L.A.'s twice-monthly night of comedic monologues, which continues to draw standing room only crowds.

Sherry Stringfield

Sherry Stringfield She's not a doctor, but she certainly knows how to play one on TV. For more than a decade, Sherry Stringfield was a fixture on Thursday night television, playing Dr. Susan Lewis on NBC's primetime chart-topper ER, a role which her earned her three Emmy and two Golden Globe award nominations.

Sherry has been an actor for more than twenty years, appearing on stage, television and film. In addition to ER, she has been a cast member on two other hugely popular TV series – Guiding Light, the venerable daytime drama that just celebrated 55 years on the air, on which she played Blake (1989-1992), and NYPD Blue, the ground-breaking primetime police drama, on which she played Laura Kelly (1993-1994).

Sherry recently returned to television, guest starring in a just-aired episode of the CBS drama Shark, with James Woods. She will appear as a recurring character in HBO's upcoming series Tell Me That You Love Me, a drama about the relationships issues of several couples at different stages in their lives. Sherry has appeared in a number of feature films, including Autumn in New York (2000) and 54 (1998).

She was born in Colorado Springs as the oldest of three children, but mainly raised in Spring, Texas. In high school, she participated in both athletics and acting. She attended the Acting Conservatory of the State New York at Purchase from which she graduated 1989 with a B.F.A. In recent years, Sherry has returned to her alma mater to teach acting.

Stringfield is a lifelong feminist and NOW lifetime member. She lives in Los Angeles with her two children, who recently joined their mom as lifetime members of NOW.

Duchy Trachtenberg

Duchy TrachtenbergCouncilmember Duchy Trachtenberg was elected in 2006 to an at-large seat on the Montgomery County (MD) County Council. She ran county-wide and won in this large suburban county, which had a 2000 census population of nearly 900,000 people (compared to an average congressional district with about 640,000).

At the time of her election, Duchy was the Co-President of Maryland NOW and currently serves on NOW's National Board as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. As Maryland NOW President, she helped develop a state-wide Court Watch program which has earned recognition in the domestic violence advocacy community. She has been an effective grassroots activist for over twenty years on issues of women's equality, mental health concerns and public health issues, including six years as a board member of Progressive Maryland.

Duchy is the past co-chair (founding) of the Women's Leadership Network of the Maryland Democratic Party, and served as a Women's Issues Advisor for the Howard Dean Presidential Campaign in 2003-2004. She holds a Masters Degree in Social Work and had maintained a private practice in adolescent addiction. She is a past Governing Councilor and Chair of the Alternative Medicine Section within the American Public Health Association (APHA).

Dr. E. Faye Williams

E. Faye Williams Dr. E. Faye Williams is the National Chair of the National Congress of Black Women and a life-long peace and human rights advocate. The multi-talented Dr. Williams is a lawyer, minister, public speaker and a successful entrepreneur, who also serves as President and CEO of Natural Health Options.

Dr. Williams is above all a political activist. She was the first African-American woman to run a viable Congressional campaign in Louisiana, endorsed of course by NOW PAC. Although she narrowly missed victory in 1986 after a mysterious "computer breakdown," supporters often refer to her as "Louisiana's Congresswoman in Exile". She is a former member of NOW's National Board representing the Mid-South region, and in recent years, she served as Chief of Staff to D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry, and worked as White House Liaison to the U.S. Department of Energy during President Bill Clinton's first term in office. Dr. Williams was an organizer of both 1995's Million Man March and 2000's Million Family March.

Dr. Williams has used her legal skills extensively throughout her long career. Prior to chairing the National Congress of Black Women, Williams served as the organization's General Counsel under the late C. DeLores Tucker. She is also former Counsel to the U.S. Congress, Counsel to Congressman Mervyn M. Dymally, and Legislative Counsel for the District of Columbia City Council. Dr. Williams also served as a Professor of International Law at Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, LA.

Education is clearly a lifelong pursuit for Dr. Williams. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration from City University at Los Angeles, as well as a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Southern California, a J.D. degree from Howard University School of Law, an Administrative Credential from U.C.L.A, and a B.S. degree from Grambling State University in Louisiana. Dr. Williams has recently completed her Doctor of Ministry degree at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

She was deservedly named one of Ebony Magazine's "100 Most Influential Black Americans."



Friday, July 13, 9:15pm
Marquis Ballroom
Robin Tyler's One Woman Show
Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Groom

Robin Tyler is North America's first out lesbian comedian. She's joining us to perform her one woman show. In her own words:

A hilarious multi-media romp through LGBT history, including the Marriage Equality movement. From Marches on Washington, to not-so-pretty breakups with ex-lovers, Robin's show exposes three decades of lesbian and gay history through Comedy, and at times, tragedy, leading up to Robin and her fiance, Diane Olson's, upcoming historic California Supreme Court marriage case.

Saturday, July 14, 9:15 pm
Great Lakes Center C-D-F
Silent Violet

Mariam McCarthy, Silent VioetMariam McCarthy is the sound of Silent Violet, the writer and performer, inviting other musicians to join her in performing her live work. The 2007 release of the album, "Sounds of A Dirty City," was a success, resulting in upcoming plans with Guy Sigsworth of Frou Frou, Bjork and others. She's received multiple honorable mentions for VH1's Song of the Year, and you can find her performing locally in the Metro Detroit and in Chicago!

Disc Jockey Sara G.
provided by Platinum Mix Productions


DrummunityJoin Lori Fithian as she weaves us into "Drummunity" - a word she invented for the magic that happens when ordinary people come together in rhythm. Grab a drum, shaker, bell, ice tray, rolling pin, bucket or fry pan and add your sound to the community groove! Fithian is a professional drum circle facilitator, bringing her love of rhythm and community-building to schools, workplaces, community centers, retreats, festivals, conferences and more. She is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and travels the midwest with her van-load of drums. Find out more at

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