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NOW focus includes marriage equality
by Tracy Baim, Windy City Times

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The National Organization for Women held their annual convention in Chicago the first week of July, announcing a special focus on two main issues nationally: marriage equality and social security.

Several hundred women and men attended the conference, which included workshops, plenary speeches, elections and awards.

NOW members re-elected Terry O'Neill president of the largest grassroots feminist organization in the country by acclamation. The other members of O'Neill's team elected by acclamation were Bonnie Grabenhofer of Illinois as action vice president and Chitra Panjabi of Washington, D.C., as membership vice president. They will serve as NOW's executive officers for the next four years.

Grabenhofer lead two marriage equality-focused workshops. The first, on July 5, featured Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy discussing the state's marriage bill; Abi Green, NOW Field Organizer; and Shawn Phetteplace, with the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. Abi Green also spoke at a Saturday workshop with Grabenhofer and Caroline Staerk of Equality Illinois, who focused on lobbying happening for the Illinois marriage equality bill.

Other speakers at the conference included women elected officials and longtime feminist activists from across the U.S., including: U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly; former U.S. Sen Carole Moseley Braun; Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle; former NOW President Patricia Ireland; author Sara Paretsky; and Feminist Majority Foundation's Eleanor Smeal and Alice Cohan.

Heather Booth and Jeanne Galatzer-Levy accepted a NOW award on behalf of the pre-1973 (pre-Roe v. Wade) underground abortion group Jane. U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky received the Woman of Impact award. Patricia Ruess received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Related articles:

Political roundtable held at NOW conference 2013-07-06 here: .

NOW holds discussion on diversity issues 2013-07-06 here: .

Transgender issues discussed at NOW conference 2013-07-07 here:

Videos by Tracy Baim here:

NOW confab: U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly

NOW Confab: Alice Cohan addresses the crowd

NOW Confab from Windy City Times: Allendra Letsome

NOW confab: Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy

NOW confab: Shawn Phetteplace speaks on social security and LGBTs

NOW confab: Abi Green, NOW Field Organizer

NOW confab: Bonnie Grabenhofer speaks on marriage equality

NOW confab: Abi Green and Caroline Staerk

NOW Confab: President Terry O'Neill addresses the attendees

NOW Confab: Chitra Panjabi speaks

NOW confab: Bonnie Grabenhofer, vice president of action

NOW Confab: Feminist Majority Foundation's Eleanor Smeal

NOW Confab: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle

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