An open letter to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors regarding Women’s Equality Day

Dear Chair Mallek and Members of the Board of Supervisors,

So far we, as Charlottesville NOW, are still aghast and disappointed. After
more than a decade of support, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors
have done a back slide.

August 26, 2013, the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment of the
U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote, has come and gone with no
Albemarle County proclamation in either a long or a short version for
Women’s Equality Day this year. This event recognizes the significance of
the past and in the present through its importance can brings us together

We have not yet been able to obtain an understanding of what was the big
deal causing a Women’s Equality Day proclamation not to pass. We do not
understand and question what this means for the girls and women and their
families in the County of Albemarle. It can be seen as offensive and leaves
some wondering if and how the majority of the Board supports half the
citizens of Albemarle County, e.g., women?

Mr. Snow was the only one who voted against the Proclamation last year and
this year proposed the County’s edited short version of the proclamation to
be tabled. He went onto talk of action to benefit the local women’s
organizations such as the local Shelter for Help and Emergency (SHE) and the
Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA) be taken.

He also said he would inform CNOW of what action the Board would take. We
have received nothing to date, though I have contacted Mr. Snow by email and
in person. I have just gone on the Internet and seen the agenda and the
County’s proposed new short version of the proclamation with more
generalized language.

A comment on Whereas: I was taught that individuals and their rights as
protected in the Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution were critical elements
in the building and continued success of our country and that many
individuals have benefitted and been supported by their families and
education. Empowering all women, men and children is critical to the
individual, their family and our county, our community and our country’s
strength and success. Advocating individual rights, encouraging utilization
of community resources and services and equal pay for equal work all
regardless of gender is a part of that empowerment.

Some of these concepts agree with and some differ from the County’s proposed
“Whereas,” but the “Be It Resolved” matters the most. We do not see in the
“Be It Resolved” what we are gaining over the August 2013 version. We had
hoped and been led to believe that the Board would prove to be more
responsive and bring forward local action. We expected more.

Therefore Charlottesville NOW again asks the Board of Supervisors to pass
its originally submitted — locally written – proclamation (attached). CNOW
believes by doing so that Albemarle County recognizes Women’s Equality Day
as the anniversary date of August 26, 1920 when after 70 years of effort for
a number of women and men women received the right to vote in our
Constitution, and as importantly, takes action to indicate a good-faith
effort not to discriminate against County girls and women in Albemarle
County policies and practices. If you as an individual believe you do not
discriminate, you surely support setting that as the County’s standard.

Charlottesville NOW continues to extend its offer to work together to do a
scientifically defendable survey of Albemarle County relating to gender and
other issues so the Board and the Albemarle citizens know what the facts are
in our own County of Albemarle. Building metrics for our county is a
tangible way to track girls and women’s needs, progress and roadblocks and
also of boys and men for a full picture.

You, as a Board, have illustrated how laws, regulations and even
proclamations can be changed every session and how they can back slide. This
is an illustration why women need local support and that local support to
build state support so equal rights for women becomes established in the US

The flip side of rights is discrimination; we ask for our original
proclamation to be passed.

With liberty and justice for all women and men, girls and boys,

Kobby Hoffman


Charlottesville National Organization for Women

P.O. Box 5082

Charlottesville, VA 22905



It’s been 679 days since the Violence Against Women Act expired.

It’s been 183 days since Congress’ last action on VAWA.

There are 30 days  until this session of Congress ends.

TODAY, take action.

Find your representative, and your senators, and contact them! Tell them that VAWA MUST BE PASSED.

Not sure how to say it? Tell them, 

We want Senate VAWA bill, S. 1925, which contains vital protections for battered immigrant women, Native American women, LGBTQI persons, communities of color and women on college campuses. Violence is violence. We need your efforts to ensure that a final bill is adopted in the next few weeks and sent to the President for his signature. If Congress fails to pass VAWA, the legislation simply dies.

Tweet Representatives @RepRobHurt (VA 5th District), @EricCantor (VA 7th District), @RepGoodlatte (VA 6th District),  and Senator @MarkWarner –

 What steps are you taking to make sure S. 1925 #VAWA is reauthorized in lame duck session? #PassVAWA2012

Make #VAWA S. 1925a lame duck priority – reauthorize it now! #PassVAWA2012

Together we can get Congress’ attention and make this happen!

Albemarle County Supervisors Join The War on Women

Image courtesy of United for Equality

Is there a “War on Women”?  In Virginia it appears that the answer is, “Yes.”

As we reported previously, on October 2, 2012 the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted down a resolution urging the Virginia General Assembly to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.  In 2009 and 2011 this same resolution, sponsored by Charlottesville NOW, was presented and passed with no concerns raised. This year, however, it was blocked by Supervisors Ken Boyd, Duane Snow and Rodney Thomas.

When asked why he wouldn’t extend his support this year, Boyd stated that he knew of no instances around here where women are discriminated against in the county.

The Equal Rights Amendment has been ratified by 35 states, and only three more are needed to complete ratification. The Virginia Senate voted to pass the ERA in 2011, and in 2012.  Now the Virginia House should pass a resolution of support.  The Virginia constitution already contains a statement guaranteeing equal rights to women, and this guarantee is needed on the federal level.

Over the last forty years women have fought for and won better policies and opportunities in this country, and we should work to enlarge these, not reduce them.  One way to uphold women’s rights for future generations is to write a guarantee of equal rights into our Constitution.

Charlottesville NOW is speaking up about this issue to encourage voters to contact their state House members and urge them to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.  The rights of women must be guaranteed by federal law in order for equality to be achieved.

Please contact Supervisors Boyd, Snow, and Thomas, and urge them to reconsider this resolution.

You have the right to remain silent, but should you?

VOTE! Transcript after the video.

Democracy is about two things. Democracy is about what the people say. What people say they want to do. But it’s also about who counts as “the people.” In the past couple of years, a bunch of states across the country have made it harder to vote, harder to register to vote. The idea is to shrink the electorate, so a smaller number of people get to decide what happens to all of us. And so, nobody has to vote. You don’t have to vote, we all have the right to remain silent. But if you do not vote, if you are dissuaded from voting because it has gotten harder, you are fulfilling someone else’s plan.

What do I need to vote in Virginia?

Confused about what kind of ID you’ll need to vote in Virginia? The Virginia State Board of Elections has a video to help.

Small government, you say?

Rachel Maddow on small government. Transcript after the video.

Small government is a great political brand. It looks great on a bumper sticker. People who don’t want the government to help unemployed people, or the elderly, or people without health insurance, who want the government to create jobs , they say it’s because government has to be small. They also want government to be monitoring every pregnancy in the country to make sure the government’s chosen outcome is the result of that pregnancy, under penalty of jail. So, make your case that you don’t want the government to help the economy, but don’t give me this ‘small government’ stuff, c’mon.

Do the Albemarle County Supervisors support equality?

On Tuesday October 2, 2012, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors failed to pass a resolution supporting the passage of the ERA in Virginia in a 3-3 vote.

Several county residents, on behalf of Charlottesville NOW, submitted a resolution to the board, to be included in the legislative packet forwarded to the Virginia General Assembly, asking them to support the Equal Rights Amendment.

This is the first year in memory that the board has failed to pass the resolution.

Supervisors Ann Malek, Christopher Dumler, and Dennis Rooker supported the resolution, while Ken Boyd, Duane Snow, and Rodney Thomas did not.

In the United States there is no constitutional protection against discrimination based on sex and gender. The only protection guaranteed to women by the Constitution is the right to vote. The Equal Rights Amendment, as follows, seeks to remedy that.

Section 1: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States, or any state on account of sex.

Section 2: The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued recently that the 14th Amendment offers no protection from discrimination on the basis of sex or gender.

We are saddened that these elected officials would assert that they support equal protection under the law, but would refuse to go on record by supporting it with their vote.

Unhappy with your supervisors? You may contact them collectively here, or individually here.

The submitted resolution follows,

WHEREAS, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) ensures that women and men will have equal rights under the United States Constitution; and

WHEREAS, the County of Albemarle supports the advancement of human rights; and

WHEREAS, the United States Constitution fails to guarantee equal rights and equal protection for women to the continuing detriment of all citizens; and

WHEREAS, the Equal Rights Amendment would provide the only incontestable remedy for gender discrimination for both women and men by providing a Constitutional guarantee of equal rights under the law; and

WHEREAS, the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution and the various state constitutional statements of gender equality generally do not provide the strict scrutiny of equal protection for the matters of gender as is now accorded race, religion, and national origin; and

WHEREAS, the only permanent right women explicitly have in the U.S. Constitution is the right to vote and rights not supported by the Constitution can be undermined in legislatures and courts; and

WHEREAS, in past years, laws and policies in the Commonwealth of Virginia have unjustly discriminated against girls and women in general, and against particular classes of women, such as in matters of sexual assault, marital property, and sexual harassment, and although some such laws and policies have become somewhat less discriminatory, such improvements can be, have been, and are being reversed; and

WHEREAS, the ERA, introduced in 1972, requires ratification by three more states; and

WHEREAS, some institutional policies, whether overtly discriminatory or “facially neutral,” in public, voluntary, and private institutions, still have inequitable effects on women; policies such as those dealing with insurance, pension, family medical leave from employment, job promotions, occupational choice, recreational opportunities, and access to medical care, and stereotypes still exist which limit women’s roles and activities; and

WHEREAS, women and men, many of whom through economic necessity, must also work in the job market and/or at home face grave health, financial, and career repercussions as a result of weak or nonexistent laws on paid leave, and discrimination against workers with family responsibilities; and

WHEREAS millions of American women, especially women who are mothers, face particularly severe hiring and promotion bias, U.S. Department of Labor data found that mothers earn just 60 cents for every dollar that fathers earn with more than 19 million families with children now have a mother as the primary or co-breadwinner, and 70 percent of children live in households in which all adults are in the labor force further discriminating against the children of these households, men and women (; and

WHEREAS, in many other ways the tasks of providing equal opportunities to women and men, and the tasks of removing burdens which fall unjustly on women as compared with men remain uncompleted.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Supervisors of the County of Albemarle, Virginia does hereby indicate its support for the principal that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex;”

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Supervisors of the County of Albemarle, Virginia hereby urges the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to ratify the ERA during the 2013 session.

These are not women’s issues, these are economic issues.

Tim Kaine and George Allen are running against each other for the open United States Senate seat open in Virginia. Governor Tim Kaine, in an excerpt from their September 20, 2012 debate.

It’s demeaning to suggest that issues about women are just social issues and not economic issues. If you force women to have an ultrasound procedure against their will, and pay for it, that’s an economic issue. If you deny women the opportunity because of personhood legislation to make constitutional choices even including whether to purchase contraception, that’s an economic issue. When George Allen was in congress he repeatedly voted against family medical leave act. He’s supported the Blunt Amendment to enable employers to take away contraceptive coverage for their employees. These are women’s issues, but they’re bigger that that, they’re family issues, and they’re economic issues. Women are more than half of this economy and we have to make the right policies about women if we’re going to have the kind of economy that we want

Virginia NOW has endorsed Tim Kaine.

Virginia NOW has endorsed former governor Tim Kaine in the Senate race against former governor George Allen, here’s why:

Another Skirmish in the War on Women

This post was written by Charlottesville NOW member Janet Dix, P.A.-C.

I’ve had 10 days to think about demonstrating in Richmond at the Board of Health and I still feel discouraged about the way the meeting was conducted. I arrived in Richmond on Sept.14th at 7:30 a.m. with about 6 other women from Charlottesville.  We thought that we would be able to get into the room where the Board was holding the meeting but a large number of anti-choice people arrived early and packed the meeting room. Even though the board was aware ahead of time that more than 200 people would be present, no arrangements were made to change the meeting site. A few pro-choice experts made it into the meeting room, which has a 100 person capacity.  People lined up to enter the room adjacent to the board meeting, which holds 80 people and had a video feed.

Outside the building, people from both sides carried signs about their causes and trucks with vivid pictures of mangled fetuses drove around the parking lot.  A plane circled over head for about half an hour. The Henrico County  and state police were present, keeping order.

The crowd at its maximum was about 250 people and the pro-choice demonstrators out numbered the anti-choice people by 2 to 1. We sang and chanted while they sang hymns and Amazing Grace.  Bits of information were relayed through the crowd.  We heard that the board was limiting comments to only one hour and each person was only allowed 2 minutes to speak. I had attended the Board of Health meeting on June 14, 2012 when existing abortion clinics were “grandfathered”.  The comments that day went on for 2 hours and so many articulate, passionate pro-choice advocates spoke.

When the board recessed for lunch, pro-Choice advocates held a press conference and rally. Enough people had left by the early afternoon that I got a seat in the overflow room.  The board was discussing amendments to the regulations.  Anna Jeng, ScD and James Edmondson, Jr., two pro-choice Board of Health members, tried their best to protect existing clinics from the onerous regulations.  The Attorney General’s representative, Allyson Tysinger, advised the board that all clinics providing abortions are essentially new since they have not been licensed before.  Discussion was cut short and the board voted 13 to 2  for the regulations without any amendments.  Immediately, pro-choice advocates stood and shouted, “Shame!” and were asked to leave the hearing.  The police herded the demonstrators out of the building.  Groups of pro-choice advocates gathered to commiserate and to thank Anna Jeng as she walked to her car. She appeared to be upset. All of us felt disheartened at the way the meeting was conducted and about the bullying tactics of Ken Cooch. More statements to the press were made, while the anti-choice people held their signs and gloated.

The next step is for the the Attorney General’s office to certify the regulations*, which will then go to the Governor for review.  There will be another period for public commentary and the Board of Health will vote on them again.  Clinics have two years to comply with the regulations; however many of the 20 clinics will need extensive renovations (over one million dollars) and will probably close. Getting a bank loan for such renovations will be very difficult in this day and time. Access to abortion services in Virginia will be greatly restricted, and many women will have to travel a lot further to get to a clinic. Because of the expensive renovations, clinics may charge more for abortions. Women’s reproductive rights are being blasted away in the war on women.

*Virginia Attorney General Ken “The Cooch” Cuccinelli certified the regulations as passed on September 14, yesterday. They will now go to the Governor, there will be a public comment period and they will go back to the Board of Health for a final vote.