Mar 2021-“Next Steps in Creating the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum”

Tuesday, March 23, 2021, 12:00-1:30 pm via Zoom
Registration Link
(Please register for this free public meeting by 6pm on 3/22/21)

The Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues is delighted to celebrate Women’s History Month by sharing information on the recent passage of the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act to create a museum for which the federal government will pay half the development and operating costs of this museum under auspices of the Smithsonian Institution.

Many of us have supported the development of this museum mainly via the privately funded and mostly virtual National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) incorporated in 1996. To show equal treatment of women, many believed the museum should be partly supported by the federal government and be part of the Smithsonian. We are delighted that this is now to become a reality. A Congressional Commission created in 2014 to study the establishment of the museum issued a detailed report http://AMWH.us) in 2016 recommending not only that the U.S. needs and deserves a physical women’s history museum but that it be part of the Smithsonian and located on or near the National Mall in Washington, DC. The bipartisan Commission was created by a bill sponsored by Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

Congresswoman Maloney then introduced H.R. 19 in the 115th Congress and H.R. 1980 in the 116th Congress based on the Commission’s recommendations. The bipartisan Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act passed the House in 2019. The legislation was then included in the bipartisan omnibus spending package at the end of 2020, which was signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020. Representative Maloney will outline key
accomplishments and next steps for funding and building the museum.

Wendy Pangburn, who served as the Executive Director of the American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission will add brief insights from the Commission to help guide the museum’s creation.

We are delighted that both Holly Hotchner, President and CEO of the National Women’s History Museum, and Museum Board Chair, Susan Whiting, will join us to highlight NWHM’s historic role in getting legislation passed for a museum. They will also discuss NWHM’s current programming and how the Museum will continue to shine a light on women’s contributions to American history while the plans for the Smithsonian develop.

To conclude, we will hear from Julissa Marenco, Assistant Secretary Communications and External Affairs and Chief Marketing Officer for the Smithsonian, who will share an early-stage update for the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative. Sign up for their enewsletter: womenshistory@si.org.

We hope to reserve time for the presenters to comment on each other’s presentation and for some audience questions to them.

RSVP to the March 23, 2021 Zoom meeting here. (Please register for this free public meeting by 6pm on 3/22/21) At meeting time (noon), remember to join without activating your video and or audio if you do not wish to be seen, heard, or recorded. You may also want to rename your participant name to first name and last initial. This meeting will be recorded and posted to YouTube, and possibly also to Public Access Television.

Next Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues Zoom Meeting will be Tuesday Noon, Apr. 27, 2021 on The First 100 Days of the Biden/Harris Administration: Achievements, Expectations and Challenges.

Feb 2021-“Wise Aging – Living with Joy, Resilience, and Spirit”

Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, and Spirit www.jewishspirituality.org (based on the book Wise Aging by Cowan and Thal.) Wise aging is a senior program that considers mindfulness and contemplative practices such as meditation, text study, journaling and gentle movement as key tools.

This CWI meeting is organized and led by Harriett Stonehill, past CWI Co-President, mega skills trainer of trainers, professor at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), author, and an experienced Wise Aging facilitator. She has arranged for the following trained Wise Aging Facilitators who are active nationally and internationally to lead us in various interactive activities in this CWI meeting.

Evi Beck, is a retired professor of Women’s Studies at University of Maryland, author and long-time Circle Dance teacher who conducts programs across the country and world. She will lead us virtually in some dances.

Harriette Kinberg, is a retired Federal Government Manager who worked at FEMA and a Wise Aging Facilitator in DC, Maryland and Virginia. She will provide an overview of the Wise Aging program and describe what happens during a typical Wise Aging group session using power point materials.

Francie Schwartz, retired from the Union of Reform Judaism, where she worked as the Adult Jewish Learning Coordinator and still loves to teach all things Jewish to our community. She is now a Wise Aging Facilitator at Temple Micah in DC. She will focus on using meditation.

The majority of participants in the Wise Aging Programs are women so the focus has mainly been on their needs as they grow older.

This session will be interactive with a discussion after the presentations. Attendees will be able to join and focus on various strategies. Please have a pen and blank paper handy.

Questions may be addressed to Harriett Stonehill. Invite your friends to join us.

RSVP to the February 23, 2021 Zoom meeting here. At meeting time (noon), remember to join without activating your video and or audio if you do not wish to be seen, heard, or recorded. You may also want to rename your participant name to first name and last initial. This meeting will be recorded and posted to YouTube, and possibly also to Public Access Television.

Next Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues Zoom Meeting will be Tuesday Noon, Mar. 23, 2021.

Jan 2021- “Successful Collaboration in Feminist Women’s Organizations: How Much Is Racism at Play?

“The Constitution they wrote was designed to protect the rights of white, male citizens. As there were no black Founding
Fathers, there were no founding mothers – a great pity, on both counts. It is not too late to complete the work they left
undone. Today, here, we should start to do so.”
– Shirley Chisholm, 8/10/1970 [SC, 11/30/24-1/1/05]

“Can’t we all just get along?” – Rodney King, 5/1/1992 [RK, 4/2/65-6/17/12]

The current pandemic has exposed great inequity and injustice in our country. We all face the deadly virus which can
only be controlled when we come together to fight it collaboratively.

So it is timely for the Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues to focus this month on aspects of women and race to examine
what the thinkers above urged us to address. Please note that the “today” of Shirley Chisholm’s words was more than
fifty years ago. The urgency seems to grow and especially with the events of recent days.

We are indeed fortunate to have these three women share their experience and expertise to guide us in this discussion
through an intergenerational lens.

Sheila Coates is a sixth generation Virginian activist on behalf of African American women and families for more than
four decades. In 1985 she founded Black Women United for Action (BWUFA), a community service volunteer
organization which she still serves as president. BWUFA has grown from 14 Northern Virginia members to an
international organization with ties in Africa, Canada and Europe. Her many accomplishments as the leader of BWUFA
include the development of the annual observance of the Slave Memorial Wreath Laying Ceremony at Mount Vernon.
The annual ceremony, developed many years ago, has grown from a few local guests to travelers from all over the
world, including Africa and Canada. Ms. Coates has successfully advocated for the appointment of an African American
woman to the Board of George Mason University (a first in that institution’s history). She has testified numerous times
on behalf of African American families before official committees and commissions and has been invited to the White
House under two administrations to speak on public policy issues and family preservation. She is a member of the Board
of Directors of the Stan Lee Foundation, devoted to promoting literacy, diversity, culture and the arts. Ms. Coates has
received four gubernatorial appointments, including the Virginia Commission on Women, the George Mason University
Board, and the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association Advisory Board. In addition, she has served on several other
community boards and commissions and has received numerous awards.


Thu Nguyen serves OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates National as its Director. A graduate from Rice University with
degrees in Chemistry and Sociology, Thu found her way into the nonprofit sector through organizing Asian American
students on campus and bridging partnerships between student groups and local Houston community organizations.
Previously she freelanced for non-profits and Asian-owned start-ups to do community outreach and marketing. As
Director, Thu oversees storytelling, relationships, and operations for OCA. She brings a unique understanding of
grassroots organizing and design to her work at the national level where she focuses on the intersection of advocacy
with small businesses. She works 5-9 in hospitality, cosmetology, and zine-making. You can find her exploring how to
spacemake via thudawin.org.

Christian F. Nunes, MBA, MS, LCSW, in August 2020, became the president of the National Organization for Women
(NOW), the largest grassroots feminist organization in the country. She was previously appointed Vice President by the
NOW board in May 2019. Christian is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Consultant, and a Woman-Minority Business
Owner. She received her BSW degree from Northern Arizona University, Master of Science from Columbia University,
and Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. An active community organizer, she has spoken
at events such as the March for Black Women in 2018. Along with her activism for mental health, she also has over 20
years of experience advocating for children’s and women’s issues. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Consultant,
and Woman-Minority Business Owner. In 2006, she founded a behavioral health and consulting practice where she
assists social service and behavioral health companies, and provides direct mental health services to individuals and
families. As an advocate for social justice and mental health policy, she took up the role as Chair of the Phoenix Mayor’s
Commission on Disability Issues and co-authored a community survey on police response to crisis. Additionally, she has
worked tirelessly to elect progressive candidates to school boards and local office positions. She is often featured in
many media outlets such as Ebony, Black Enterprise magazine, AZ News Channel 3, and Yahoo News.


We hope you will join us in this important discussion which is co-sponsored by Montgomery County Maryland NOW and
that you will bring your questions to that conversation.

RSVP to the January 26, 2020 Zoom meeting here. At meeting time (noon), remember to join without activating your video and or audio if you do not wish to be seen, heard, or recorded. You may also want to rename your participant name to first name and last initial. This meeting will be recorded and posted to YouTube, and possibly also to Public Access Television.

Next Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues Zoom Meeting will be Tuesday Noon, Feb. 23, 2021.

Oct 2020-The Electoral College: Perils & Possibilities for the 2020 Presidential Election

CWI’s program for the October 27th virtual meeting, “The Electoral College: Perils and Possibilities for the 2020 Presidential Election” will provide information on the Electoral College, its history, current practice, and future possibilities.  Contrary to what many assume and what we have witnessed in past elections it is not the popular vote but the votes cast by the Electoral College that elects the President of the United States. Professor Gerardo “Jerry” Vildostegui, a lawyer specializing in voting rights from the Brennan Center will explain the legal underpinnings of the Electoral College and how States determine their Electoral College votes. Pam Wilmot from Common Cause will provide information on how The National Popular Vote Compact would make the country’s popular vote determine the Presidential election outcome and other solutions including proposals to end the Electoral College. Ronnie Pawelko from The Alliance for Justice will discuss other concerns relating to the Electoral College system and provide a reminder of the rules for 501 (c) (3) and 501 (c) (4) organizations advocacy during and after elections and provide examples of activities that may and may not be engaged in.  The meeting is organized and moderated by CWI’s Vice President for Legal Affairs, Jeanette Lim Esbrook.  

Pam Wilmot is Vice President of State Operations for Common Cause where she oversees a nationwide network of 30 state offices and advisory boards. She has added this responsibility to her longstanding work as Massachusetts Common Cause Executive Director.  She is an expert on the electoral college, campaign finances, ethics, elections and transparency laws. She also is the Director of the National Popular Vote initiative to ensure the winner of the popular vote receives 270 Electoral Votes and becomes president through the National Popular Vote Compact. She has a J.D. from Northeastern University, a Masters in social work from Smith College and a Bachelor’s degree from Brown University. She received the John Gardner Public Service Award in 2017.

Ronnie Pawelko is Senior Counsel for the Bolder Advocacy program at The Alliance for Justice and is based in AFJ’s Washington, DC office. Through trainings and technical assistance, she provides nonprofit advocacy organizations and foundations with accessible information, resources, and information so organizations can safely navigate complex laws and rules as they pursue systems change. Ronnie received her J.D. from Albany Law School and her B.A. from Russell Sage College. Before joining AFJ, Ronnie was General Counsel at Family Planning Advocates of New York State. Previously, Ronnie served as Health and Human Services Team Counsel for the New York State Senate and as staff attorney for the MergerWatch Project.

RSVP to the October 27, 2020 Zoom meeting here. At meeting time (noon), remember to join without activating your video and or audio if you do not wish to be seen, heard, or recorded. You may also want to rename your participant name to first name and last initial. This meeting will be recorded and posted to YouTube, and possibly also to Public Access Television.

Next Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues Zoom Meeting will be Tuesday Noon, Nov. 17, 2020 to Discuss Post Election Priorities for Women’s Issues.

Get Out the Vote Strategies to Promote High And Diverse Voter Turnout

During the June 2020 meeting of the Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues (CWI), Karen Mulhauser discussed the critical work of her new organization, Every Women Vote 2020, as well as the current and historical challenges women face casting their ballots this year. With the upcoming most important federal election of our lifetime, CWI aims to continue the conversation led by Board Member, Megan Corrado to explore in further detail how we as organizations and individuals can mobilize to increase voter turnout amongst women and marginalized communities.

Please join CWI and a distinguished panel, to explore strategies to increase voter registration and ensure the voices of all Americans, particularly those from communities that have the most at-stake in November. The discussion will highlight the legal, economic, practical, and—now, in light of COVID-19—health barriers their communities are facing in exercising their right to vote, as well as lessons learned from previous mobilization efforts, opportunities for others to engage and help increase voter registration and turnout. Confirmed Panelists are:

Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority and Feminist Majority Foundation (feministmajority.org and feminist.org) and former President of the National Organization for Women, (NOW). She has fought on the frontlines for women’s equality for more than five decades. In the 1970s, as President of NOW she spearheaded the drive to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, the largest nationwide grassroots and lobbying campaign in the history of the modern women’s movement. Smeal also pioneered the use of the Internet as a feminist organizing and research tool by launching the Feminist Majority Foundation Online in 1995. Today, she is working hard and successfully navigating the unique challenges posed by COVID-19 to ensure the momentum of Feminist Majority Foundation, its 501(c)(4) affiliate Feminist Majority, and Ms. Magazine continues ever forward in the fight for gender equity. Always the organizer and practical realist, she will speak about her team’s efforts to mobilize young people through campus outreach in targeted states.

Christine Chen, Executive Director of Asian and Pacific Islander Vote (APIAVote.org). APAI focuses its research and action on Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. It provides regional training and field programs to enhance local grassroots efforts to mobilize these constituencies for the 2020 census as well as elections. Ms. Chen serves as the President of Strategic Alliances USA, a consulting firm specializing in coalition-building, institutional development, and partnerships amongst the corporate sector, government agencies, and the non-profit and public sectors. She has more than two decades of experience in organizing and advocating on issues such as immigration, hate crimes, affirmative action, census, racial profiling, voting rights, election reform. Chen serves on the Steering Committee for National Voter Registration Day, Kennedy Center Community Advisory Board, and the board for the Center for Asian American Media. Ms. Chen will speak about efforts to enfranchise the Asian American and Pacific Islander voters.

Ms. Janice Mathis, Esq., serves as the Executive Director for the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), Inc., an 85 year old non-profit organization of organizations ( comprised of 300 campus and community based sections and 32 national women’s organizations). Ms. Mathis has broad based experience as a lawyer, negotiator, advocate, administrator and team builder. Prior to joining NCNW Ms. Mathis served as the VP of the Citizenship Education Fund (CEF) and also served for decades with Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. as General Counsel and Chief of Staff to the Rainbow Push Coalition. Ms. Mathis earned a BA in Public Policy Studies from Duke University and is a graduate of the Lumpkin School of Law at the University of Georgia.

NCNW was founded by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, later led for decades by Dr. Dorothy I. Height, and currently by Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole. NCNW’s mission is to Lead, advocate for, and empower women of African American descent, their families and communities. Ms. Mathis will describe successful strategies used by African
American Women and their male allies to get out the vote.

RSVP to the September 22, 2020 Zoom meeting here. At meeting time (noon), remember to join without activating your video and or audio if you do not wish to be seen, heard, or recorded. You may also want to rename your participant name to first name and last initial. This meeting will be recorded and posted to YouTube, and possibly also to Public Access Television.

June Program: Annual Elections Meeting Featuring How CWI Member Organizations are Changing with the Covid-19 Pandemic

CWI plays an important role in fostering collaboration among organizations supporting a wide variety of feminist issues. We are finding that we can do this effectively during this Covid 19 pandemic. This June meeting focuses on recruiting new member organizations to join us in making a powerful effective collective impact to obtain increased support for multiple goals such as getting the ERA in the U.S. Constitution and creating a gender equitable U.S. foreign policy. The importance of the November 2020 U.S. elections in accomplishing these goals is vital.

CWI, a 46 year old non profit composed of organizational and individual members, has focused on working with other non profit organizations with a feminist presence in the Washington, DC area but as we are now operating virtually we realize that we can serve all the nation. The purpose of this meeting is to obtain ideas and advice from current and prospective CWI organizational members on how to provide this CWI dissemination and collaborative leadership even more effectively and to address special challenges during the pandemic.

We assume that in this specialized world gender equity advocates and their organizations collaborate in their own silos of expertise. But our issues are overlapping and feminists are willing and interested in supporting multiple issues outside their regular purview. However they often need to learn more about these issues and to use strategies to deliberately provide their organizational and individual support.

CWI often provides an opportunity for our organizational members to describe their focus at the June Meetings. This June 25 we will prioritize this benefit for new CWI organizational members. We will also feature the We Demand More Coalition which was formed to monitor and influence how legislation and policies are addressing the needs of women and families related to the Covid -19 Pandemic and beyond.

Advantages of being a CWI individual or organizational member include:

  • Opportunities to learn about critical feminist issues in areas outside your expertise via CWI monthly meetings, newsletters, and meeting videos.
  • Member organizations can learn about each other’s work by CWI facilitated sharing of meeting announcements, resources, presenting at CWI meetings, signing on to each other’s letters and more.

Organizational members are also encouraged to share CWI disseminated information with their own members. More specifically, organizational members will have their organization’s URL listed on the CWI website, be entitled to have 2 members on the CWI member email list, serve on the all volunteer CWI Board of directors and help plan and sponsor CWI meetings in their focus areas where they can improve feminists’ technical and advocacy capacity. See last page for membership information. Multiple year discounts include a three-year organizational membership for only $100. Gift memberships are also encouraged.

RSVP to the Zoom meeting here. At meeting time, remember to join without activating your video and or audio if you do not wish to be seen, heard, or recorded. You may also want to rename your participant name to first name and last initial. This meeting will be recorded and posted to YouTube.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

May 2020 Program: Getting ERA in the U.S. Constitution

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex. First introduced by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman in 1923, It seeks to end the legal distinctions between men and women in matters of divorce, property, employment, and other issues. The recent passage of the ERA in Virginia made it the 38th state to ratify and achieved the threshold of  ¾ of the  American states  required to add an amendment to the constitution.  While our hearts were buoyed by this long awaited step, the battle  may not be over yet.

We have invited four activists to talk about the background, support, and final steps to enshrine the ERA in the US constitution:

Bettina Hager, the DC Director and COO of the ERA Coalition (www.eracoalition.org) and Fund for Women’s Equality, has extensive background in preparing advocacy materials  and training  lobbyists on the issues of constitutional equality.  Bettina will provide the background of the ERA and the ERA Coalition’s  work that has moved it forward to be placed in the Constitution in the United States.  She will explain the three-state ratification strategy legislation sponsored by Sen. Cardin in April, 2014 and how it has gotten us to this point.

We have invited Kim Cummings and Anna Bradley, members of the Virginia Social Action Task Force of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated(deltasigmatheta.org.) The Task Force is made up of representatives of the 46 chapers (30 Alumnae and 16 Collegiate) in the Commonwealth of Virginia. They will speak about the Delta’s  critical support role in the Virginia passage of ERA. The Deltas- noted for their bright red suits and civic and community engagement works – are an organization of college educated women committed to the constructive development of its members and to public service with a primary focus on the Black community.  An integral part in the earlier passage of the 19th amendmentwhich gave all women the right to vote, they have thrown their influence and energy in characteristic fashion to ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Ellie Smeal, current president of Feminist Majority and Feminist Majority Foundation (feministmajority.org and feminist.org )  and past president of the National Organization for Women, has fought on the frontlines for women’s equality for more than three decades. In the 1970s, as president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), she spearheaded the drive to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, the largest nationwide grassroots and lobbying campaign in the history of the modern women’s movement. Smeal also pioneered the use of the Internet as a feminist organizing and research tool by launching the Feminist Majority Foundation Online in 1995.  Always the organizer and practical realist, she will speak about the steps that need to be covered to get the ERA finally placed in the US Constitution in the United States.

As always, questions and discussion are a welcome part of the meeting, after the speakers have finished their presentations.

CWI meetings are free and open to the public.  A RSVP to attend online is required.

RSVP to the Zoom meeting here.  At meeting time, remember to join without activating your video and or audio if you do not wish to be seen, heard, or recorded.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.