Mar 182017
 

Are you ready to WOW the voters, make history, and secure our future on May 6?

Activism is up everywhere, with many activities led by WOW’s Legislative Committee.  We’ve phoned and met with our Representatives on ACA, EPA, Social Security, Planned Parenthood, Medicare/Medicaid, school vouchers, the “bathroom” bill and other bills moving through the 85th TX Legislative Session.  We’ve marched and protested against the Muslim ban and heartless ICE deportations that separate families.  We’ve demanded our Congressmen hold town halls, lobbied for “independent” investigation into ties to Russia, and pressed for the release of Trump’s tax returns.  And we’ll continue all those efforts.  Now it’s time to make our voices heard in a way that is the very underpinning of Democracy – our vote!

In the upcoming May election, many school boards, city councils, mayors and other local races will be decided.  We have an unprecedented number of progressive candidates running in Plano, McKinney, Allen, Melissa and other cities — highly qualified individuals who are sacrificing personal time, energy, and money.  We met six dynamic, talented, progressive, female candidates at our General Membership meeting in March (and there are many more out there).

Pictured here l-r top are Carissa Picard, Ann Bacchus, Heather Kurlinski, and l-r bottom Trish Patterson, Tabbasum Ahmad and Dr. Stacey Donald.  These women can’t succeed without you.  They need literally hundreds of volunteers to help block walk and phone bank.  They must raise thousands of dollars for road signs, yard signs, robocalls, and mailings.  They need your vote and for you to solicit others in your “sphere of influence” to vote for them too.

She wins; we win!  You have an opportunity to elect individuals who share your values for human rights and inclusiveness, quality public education, health care for all, appreciation of diversity, tax fairness, good government services, a living wage, a worker’s right to bargain, a strong middle class, and more.  When progressives win local races, we have representatives who actually work for us!

In the next few days, WOW Dems will publish a list of candidates we endorse.  Typically, the turnout is so low for municipal races that less than 9,000 votes equals a win.  If every person reading this note does SOMETHING to support these candidates, they will win.  Help them walk neighborhoods to reach voters. If you can’t do that, then make phone calls.  If that’s too much, then donate to the campaigns (no amount is too small).  Put up a yard sign.  And, finally….. vote!  Early voting is April 24th to May 2nd.  Election Day is Saturday, May 6th.  There is no time to waste.  We have only six weeks to do the work necessary to get them elected, and we are counting on you!  Bring your families and vote!  Bring your friends and vote!  Bring your neighbors and vote!  Turnout is everything!

As we learned from Indivisible, our Members of Congress care more about their own re-election than just about anything else.  When progressives launch successful races in their own backyards this will get the attention of our state and federal representatives and amplify our voices when we call, write, and protest (as we will continue to do).

What can you do?  Visit progressive candidates’ websites to learn more about their campaigns, volunteer, and make donations.  Follow WOW Dems on  Facebook and Twitter and visit WOWDems.org for up-to-date news and announcements on endorsements.  Let’s elect progressive candidates so we can keep our local communities financially strong, vibrant, welcoming places to live and work.  We’ll leverage those wins to achieve goals for 2018 and beyond.  Join me in building our Future by taking charge of the Present.  It’s in our hands.  Volunteer in ways that are right for you and VOTE!

Feb 202017
 

From coast to coast, the #Resistance is underway. Beginning with the Women’s March on January 21st, continuing to rallies at airports over the Muslim ban, and now, backlash from deportations, the protests have never stopped. Phone systems are “breaking” under the weight of calls to elected officials (1.5 million calls a day to the U.S. Senate). Visits to congressional offices, already occurring, will increase during the upcoming recess. It seems the Republican Party underestimated the one “branch” of government they don’t control – the people! And thankfully (so far), we’re even getting help from the courts.

WOW Dems are right in the middle of the good fight! Muriel Hamilton joined protestors at DFW airport the weekend Muslims were denied entry into the U.S. Renee Mitchell, our Legislative Committee chair, traveled to Austin with TexProtects and 100+ advocates to lobby for the protection of children in the foster system. WOW Fundraising co-chair Lori Kleinfield and member Carissa Picard met with aides at Senator Cornyn’s office and then joined 250 others to march outside in an attempt to influence his vote on the Betsy DeVos cabinet nomination. And several #WOWDems members found their way to the February 18 Presidents Day March and Rally to support all immigrants and refugees.

Countless calls, postcards, emails, letters, tweets, faxes (everything but carrier pigeons) have been used to reach our U.S. Senators over the deplorable cabinet nominations. We’re also closely tracking the 85th Texas Legislative session and calling Texas Senators and Representatives to express our opinions about bills being proposed on school vouchers, sanctuary cities, bathroom bills, union rights, and more. Some we’ll win and some we’ll lose, but regardless of the outcome, we won’t get discouraged, because we are in it for the long game. And we want our elected officials to know we are a force to be reckoned with (helpful tip: store your representative’s numbers in your phone for quick access).

We’re working with other organizations too. We’re proud of the protests and visits to the offices of elected officials organized by the Indivisible groups in the area, including Indivisible Liberty Tree TX 3. We’re encouraged that the Collin County Democratic Party is amassing a large cadre of volunteers to do grass-roots field work. And we’re pleased with the large number of progressive candidates who are filing to run in the upcoming Municipal elections on May 6.

For more information, please attend the next WOW Dems meeting on March 9th. Our speaker is Catherine McDonald, Managing Attorney for the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in American. Look forward to seeing you then.

In the meantime, keep up the calls and letters. Sign up for one of the upcoming Lobby Days in Austin. Visit local congressional offices or attend town halls. Support the campaign of a local candidate. For news and information, follow us on Twitter and visit the WOW Dems Facebook page. And don’t forget to join or renew your WOW Dems membership.

Hazel Weathers, President

Feb 152017
 

Photo at twitter.com/85thLegislature

Many of us are rediscovering the importance of civic engagement. Increasingly we are becoming active participants in our democracy to speak out against hate and injustice. From phone calls to elected officials and marches in solidarity to social media actions and organized protests, we are finding our voices and making them heard.

Direct action is a powerful part of an effective #Resistance playbook. Now that the 85th Texas Legislature is in session, it is time to add a page for Lobby Days. Hundreds of groups have scheduled Lobby Days during this session. A strong showing of grassroots support for organizations that are protecting progressive policies, supporting women’s rights and promoting social justice has never been more important.

Plan to attend at least one Lobby Day during this legislative session to let your representatives know you stand for progress. These tips from Lori Kleinfeld, WOW Dems Fundraising Committee co-chair and veteran Lobby Day-goer, will help you prepare. Read “Planning a Successful Lobby Day” for more information.

Before You Go:

  • Arrange meetings ahead of time with your legislators. Usually sponsoring groups, such as Planned Parenthood, will do this for you.
  • Familiarize yourself with the issues affecting the sponsoring group and how your representative is likely to vote.
  • Know the name and number of the Bill for which you are lobbying. You are there to persuade your representative to vote favorably for your cause.
  • Prepare for the day. Jot down a few key points you want to make about each issue you are there to discuss.

While You’re There:

  • Bring a positive, friendly attitude and be respectful.
  • Dress in business casual (no jeans) but wear comfortable shoes. You will be walking a lot!
  • Capitol security will inspect your purses, backpacks, and other personal items, so be prepared.
  • Expect to meet with either your representative or legislative aide. Don’t be disappointed if you meet with the legislative aide. They often have more time to listen to you—they may even agree with you. Hopefully they can persuade your representative.
  • Bring written information to leave with the office. Leave-behinds should include relevant and persuasive facts and figures, and may be provided by the organization sponsoring the Lobby Day. Be sure to include your name, contact information and a WOW Dems brochure or card.
  • Food is available in the Capitol cafeteria, but you may want to pack your own. Groups including the organizers of Blue Ribbon Lobby Day, may provide a box lunch.
  • Often there will be great speakers at the steps of the Capitol, so be sure to listen.
  • Spread the word! Take pictures and post updates on social media. Remember to tag the group that organized the day.

Most importantly have fun and remember that you are doing your civic duty!

Jan 252017
 

Like most of you, I felt a sense of dread and despair after the election in November and again on Inauguration Day, January 20th.  But what got me out of the “fetal position” then, and what keeps me going now, is organizing to take action.

Throughout history, women have played essential roles in every battle for human rights.  And on January 21st, the Women’s March on Washington and its 600+ “sister marches” worldwide showed the Trump administration that we will vigorously resist actions that endanger our Democracy and destroy civil rights. Millions of women marched in support of human rights and solidarity in opposition to the Trump agenda.  It was inspiring and exhilarating to see huge, diverse crowds gathered in every major city in the US and around the world!  WOW Dems chartered a bus to Austin and marched alongside 50,000 Texas women, and members also participated in marches in Dallas, McKinney, and D.C.

And, this is just the beginning.  We also plan to support upcoming Lobby Days to influence TX Representatives during the 85th Legislative Session.  I encourage everyone to read “Indivisible, a Practical Guide to Resisting the Trump Agenda.”

As President of WOW Dems, I can assure you that our newly installed leadership team will enact many of the recommended actions and we will support other organizations that are fighting for common objectives.  But, we need all hands on deck.  No one can afford to just sit back and complain – not now.  We must all get involved in our important role as citizens of this great country to keep it a great country – a Democracy that honors women’s rights and human rights and civil rights and economic rights for all, not just the wealthiest.

The WOW Dems’ mission is to expand women’s political engagement, raise awareness about women’s issues, and recruit, support and elect women for partisan and non-partisan office.  Members pay annual dues each year in January.  If you haven’t yet joined or renewed your membership, please do so now.  Your dues enable us to operate and support progressive candidates.

As President Obama often says “Democracy is hard work.”  So, join a committee and help us do the work.  Be knowledgeable and prepare to speak out loudly and clearly to let our Representatives know where we stand on the issues; we must remind them that they work for us and if they don’t support us (their constituents), they will be replaced.  Amp up your technical game – get on Facebook and Twitter so we can rapidly and effectively communicate and respond.  Finally, support local progressive candidates.  And consider running yourself; check out Annie’s List “Ready to Run” for upcoming classes.

Never again will we simply cede local and state politics to people who don’t support our values.  We are not giving up; we will not be silent; we must fight back using tools and techniques that are effective in today’s world.  The battle has just begun!  Join us!

Hazel Weathers, President

 Posted by at 7:44 am
Jan 152017
 

IMG_9802On Thursday, January 12, WOW Dems gathered for the January meeting and heard a great presentation by Ramiro Luna and Clay Arnold from State Representative Victoria Neave’s campaign. Ramiro and Clay gave us all of the details on how they ran the campaign that resulted in Victoria Neave’s election. The importance of organization and voter contact were emphasized as well as the details on exactly how much time, money and hard work is involved in an election. This information was timely with the filing periods for local elections coming soon! Thank you to Ramiro and Clay for sharing with our group.

This was the largest meeting every hosted by WOW Dems and we were excited to welcome many new members and guests. It was an engaged and interested crowd and we look forward to working with everyone in 2017 and beyond!

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After the presentation, the new WOW Dems officers for 2017 /2018 were elected and the new board was introduced by president Hazel Weathers. A list of board members and contact information can be found on the Officers & Committees tab. As the committees are forming for the coming year, please take a look at the descriptions and join a committee that best fits your interests and abilities. We need everyone to be involved to bring your ideas, take action to make a difference and accomplish our mission.

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WOW Dems Officers and Board Members

 Posted by at 11:51 am
Feb 272017
 

Fundraising:

The WOW Dems Fundraising Committee continues to work on new FUNdraisers including a family event on Saturday, June 24. Save the date to attend the WOW Super Bowl Saturday for a day of bowling for a great cause. We will be renting out the newly renovated Super Bowl Plano. Get your team ready – there will be prizes and more. Also in the works is an Oktoberfest Beer and Food event and the not-be-missed WOW Dems big Gala will be held in February 2018.

Legislative:

The Texas legislature is in session and we are watching.  The Texas legislature meets for only 140 days (from Jan 10 thru May 29) every other year, which means a great deal of activity in a very short period of time.  If we want to affect legislation in Texas, the time to act is now!  The Legislative committee is tracking bills related to abortion access, immigration, education funding and vouchers, child protection, religious liberty, bathroom access, property taxes, and more.  But we aren’t just tracking bills.  We are also attending Lobby Days in Austin, visiting our elected officials, attending marches, rallies, protests, and writing letters.

We want you to join us! Mark your calendar for Planned Parenthood Lobby Day on April 5 and Blue Ribbon Lobby Day on April 10.

Follow WOW Dems on Facebook, Twitter  and MeetUp to get the latest news about protests, rallies, and other action items. Schedule a visit with your elected officials.  Not sure how to get a visit, or what to say once you do?  The Legislative committee is here to help.  Any questions or ideas for activism can be addressed to [email protected]. Join us in making your voice heard!

 Posted by at 11:49 pm
Feb 202017
 

The WOW Dems Mar. 9 meeting features an update from the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA). Ms. Catherine McDonald, Managing Attorney and Immigration Attorney Ms. Sehla Ashai will present “Where Are We Now? The Trump Administration and Immigration.”

Ms. McDonald and Ms. Ashai will discuss what is happening now and how CLCMA is protecting the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution.

Ms. McDonald obtained her undergraduate degree in International Studies from the University of Washington. She graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 1994. Over her 22 years of legal practice in high volume criminal defense, Ms. McDonald has moved her practice from State criminal matters to a National Security practice in Federal Courts. In addition to handling a criminal caseload, Ms. McDonald is often the first point of legal contact for most clients seeking assistance from the law center.

Ms. Ashai is an immigration attorney with a background in human rights advocacy. She was a Beneficial-Hodson Scholar at Johns Hopkins University who pursued her passion for human rights at University of Michigan Law School. Ms. Ashai received a Henry Bates and Clara Belfield Travel Fellowship after graduation to conduct research on gender discrimination and citizenship law in Indian Administered Kashmir. She has worked as a federal judicial law clerk, a labor organizer for taxi drivers in Chicago, a legal aid attorney for victims of violence, a consultant for relief projects in post-earthquake Haiti, and a specialist in nonprofit program development.

The WOW Dems meeting will be on Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 6:30pm, at the Environmental Education Center, 4116 W Plano Pkwy, Plano, TX.

Dec 112016
 

There are so many ways to get involved and make a difference! Save the dates for the activities below and be sure to check the calendar regularly for updates and additional activities.

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Wednesday April 5 2017: Planned Parenthood Lobby Day. Preregister here.

 

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Tuesday April 10, 2017: Blue Ribbon Lobby Day, Austin TX. Click here for more information.

 

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Thursday May 11, 2017: WOW Dems General Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Plano Environmental Education Center.
Thursday July 13, 2017: WOW Dems General Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Plano Environmental Education Center.
Thursday September 14, 2017: WOW Dems General Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Plano Environmental Education Center.
Thursday November 9, 2017: WOW Dems General Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Plano Environmental Education Center.

Contact: [email protected]

 

 Posted by at 7:17 pm
Aug 302016
 

 

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WOW Dems was well-represented at the 2016 Ann Richards dinner. As can be seen from the smiles in the photos below, a good time was had by all in the lovely new venue. Gilberto Hinojosa, Mary Beth Rogers and Jim Hightower energized, enlightened and entertained the large crowd. What a great way to spend the evening and a great success for the Collin County Democratic Party!!!

Thanks to Tom Pond and Sharon Hirsch for sharing their photos of the evening’s festivities for WOW Dems.

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2016 Ann Richards Dinner CCDP (24 of 29) 2016 Ann Richards Dinner CCDP (25 of 29)

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 Posted by at 8:21 pm
Aug 172016
 

Our next General Meeting will be held on Thursday September 8, 2016 at the Collin Higher Education Center. Our speaker will be Rita Beving, who is the North Texas Outreach Coordinator for Clean Water Fund and Clean Water Action. She works within the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and surrounding communities on water conservation and water quality issues. Rita has more than twenty years’ experience working both as a volunteer and consultant for various environmental organizations, including Public Citizen and the Sierra Club’s Lone Star chapter.

Rita has worked on a variety of environmental issues, building coalitions to fight permits for cement kilns which burn hazardous waste, coal-fired power plants, bad landfill projects, and other polluting projects. Before coming to Clean Water Fund in 2014, she worked full-time organizing landowners and citizens against the Keystone XL and Seaway pipelines in East Texas.

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Thirsting for Our Water Future

As DFW’s population is expected to double by 2060, how will our region meet its growing need for water? Currently, our local Region C water planning group has proposed more than $21 billion (more than 40%) out of the total $53 billion of proposed reservoirs and water projects to the Texas Water Development Board.

Are there more economical alternatives than reservoirs?  What are the impacts on Texans when we build these projects? Water will be one of the most controversial topics of this century – and probably one of the most fought over. See what’s happening with water in our region – and while we’re at it, we’ll explore what practical measures you can take yourself to conserve this precious resource.

 

Meet and greet – 6:30 pm. Program 6:45 pm

Collin Higher Education Center, 3452 Texas 399 Spur, McKinney TX 75069

 

 

 Posted by at 3:15 pm