Volume 112 Issue 3
2020-2021 Theme:
Economic and Physical Well-Being for All
Message from the President
We’re headed toward November already, with thoughts of Thanksgiving and a lot coming up before then. In this time of pandemic, with numerous definitions of what it means to live in it and through it, we are thankful that we have our AAUW sisters to share ideas, look forward to our meetings, and help to keep us sane! Our speakers this year have been outstanding, as we experienced on October 3rd when Madhu Sridhar, President of the League of Women Voters, San Antonio, spoke to us about “Your Rights, Your Vote”. The League strives to ensure all San Antonio voters know their rights and show up at the polls informed and empowered to vote. Particular attention is focused on underrepresented voters. Madhu emphasized our spirit and involvement can positively influence the quality of voter experience at the polls. We look forward to our November 7th program that will focus on America’s challenges with “Inclusion and Equality” presented by Dr. Richard Lewis, Jr., Professor of Sociology, University of Texas, San Antonio.

We’re counting days now until the November 3rd election. Hopefully, you have your plan for casting your vote safely and efficiently whether in person or by mail. Any last-minute questions may be addressed to the Bexar County Elections office at www.bexar.org or by calling (210) 335-8683. The website also provides the status of your ballot once you mail in your vote. The League of Women Voters at www.lwvsa.org has a wealth of information, including a Voter's Guide, Texas Voter’s Bill of Rights, and Steps in Voting by Mail.

There are many ways to get involved with AAUW’s work to advance gender equity, a need that today has reached a high pitch in many areas: a just and fair Supreme Court; protecting the U.S. Postal Service; pay equity, paid leave, and access to reproductive health care; access to education; and ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, to name a few. Whether it is logging into the AAUW website and 2-minute Activist – where you can sign up to alert your legislators on the issues – or donating your time or financial support for the work done to advance women and girls, there is a variety of ways to support our mission.

Your copy of the AAUW SA Directory and Bylaws update was mailed at the end of September and should be in your hands by now. Drop me an email if you did not receive your copy.

My thanks to all of you for your work to support our mission, its objectives, events, and goals in making the world better for all and breaking down the barriers especially for women and girls. As an organization, we strive to support each other in these days that have shown to be tough at times. Let’s keep up our enthusiasm – it’s the engine to our positive approach to being thankful in this season, despite our challenges. Vote and encourage and support everyone you know to do the same.

Looking forward --
Cheryl Fuller
AAUW San Antonio President
AAUW is Zooming!

November 7, 2020
11:30 a.m.   

Speaker: Dr. Richard Lewis, Jr., Ph.D.

Program: America's Challenge: Addressing Inclusion and Inequality

RSVP to Cheryl Fuller
(if you did not RSVP last month)
to receive the Zoom link.

Dr. Richard Lewis, Jr., Ph.D. is a tenured Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. His academic specialties include the areas of diversity management, strategic planning, public administration, and social science research. Dr. Lewis served as Associate Dean for the College of Liberal and Fine Arts from 1997 to 2002. He was a Special Assistant to the President of the University from 2002 to 2007. Dr. Lewis has taught at Texas A&M University, St. Philip's College, and Our Lady of the Lake University. He is President of Round Top Consulting Associates, a firm he founded in 1990, which provides social science research and seminar facilitation. He has numerous publications to his credit that deal with the issues of social change and inequality. He authored along with Dr. George Yancey, Interracial Families: Current Concepts and Controversies, published in 2009 by Routledge Press.

Dr. Lewis is involved in a variety of civic activities. His is a board member on the Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas He is a former board member on the United Way Board of Directors and the Live Oak Economic Development Corporation. In addition, he has served on the VIA Metropolitan Transit Authority Board of Trustees and the Bexar County Housing Authority.

Dr. Lewis received his undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in Sociology from Texas A&M University.
WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS

Chancey Blackburn
Kaye Dunn
Marsi Liddell
Mary Ellen Pratt
Rachel Skelley
Jane Warsaw
Fundraising for Scholarships - $300 VISA Gift Card Drawing
The money raised from the drawing will be used for Textbook Scholarships that assist women attending college or university in Bexar County. The drawing for the $300 gift card will be held at our December meeting just in time for holiday shopping. You do not have to be present to win. Tickets are $10 each or three for $25. In early November you will receive a letter with tickets. You may return your check and top section of the tickets you purchase in the stamped envelope addressed to Ruth Lyle.

Thanks in advance for making this fundraiser another great success.

Ruth Lyle
AAUW Public Policy
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is no longer with us, but the work she did advocating for equity and civil rights changed society.

Read below six of her notable decisions and dissents and ponder for a moment how different life could have been without them.

Go to the AAUW National website for a wealth of additional information on the remarkable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Lasting Legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Six Notable Decisions and Dissents
In her 27 years on the bench, Justice Ginsburg ruled on some of the most important U.S. Supreme Court cases in our nation’s history. Her decisions and dissents reflected her deep commitment to gender equity and civil rights. Here’s how she weighed in on landmark cases that involved AAUW’s priority policy issues.

United States v. Virginia (1996)
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the male-only admissions policy at the Virginia Military Institute, ruling that it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Writing the majority opinion, Justice Ginsburg said a policy is incompatible with the Equal Protection Clause if it “denies to women, simply because they are women, full citizenship stature — equal opportunity to aspire, achieve, participate in and contribute to society based on their individual talents and capacities.” She wrote that “generalizations about ‘the way women are,’ estimates of what is appropriate for most women, no longer justify denying opportunity to women whose talent and capacity place them outside the average description.”

Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (2007)
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Lilly Ledbetter, a female tire-plant employee, waited too long to bring a Title VII pay discrimination claim against her employer, evaluating the case based upon the initial decision to pay Ledbetter less rather than considering each paycheck as its own discriminatory action. Justice Ginsburg wrote the dissent and read it from the bench, a rare practice. She said that the majority’s “cramped” interpretation neglected the insidiousness of pay discrimination. At her encouragement, Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which made it easier for women to challenge unequal pay.

Gonzales v. Carhart (2007)
This 5-4 decision upheld the so-called Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, prohibiting a medical procedure and overturning 30 years of precedent requiring exceptions to such bans when a woman’s health is at risk. In her dissent, Justice Ginsburg said, “The solution the Court approves, then, is not to require doctors to inform women, accurately and adequately, of the different procedures and their attendant risks. … Instead the Court deprives women of the right to make an autonomous choice, even at the expense of their safety.”

Shelby County v. Holder (2013)
The U.S. Supreme Court rolled back a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In a 5-4 vote, the court ruled that a section of the act – which created a “coverage formula” to identify states with a history of unlawful, racially discriminatory election laws and practices that needed more focused remedies – was unconstitutional, allowing states to change voting procedures without any ‘preclearance’ or oversight. In her dissent, Justice Ginsburg wrote that “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)
Justice Ginsburg joined the majority in this historic 5-4 decision establishing that same-sex couples have the right to marry under both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The ruling requires that states recognize the marriages of same-sex couples just as they do the marriages of opposite-sex couples, with all the accompanying rights and responsibilities.

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores (2014)
In a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision of the Affordable Care Act that required employers to cover FDA-approved contraceptive methods for employees. The ruling exempted certain for-profit companies from the provision if business owners objected on religious grounds. In a passionate dissent, Ginsburg asked if the ruling would be extended “to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others)?” She predicted such claims would come before the courts, which would then lead into the risky business of ruling on the merits of various religious beliefs.

The Two-Minute Activist
 
The Two-Minute Activist is a source of information on topics relating to women’s issues. It also enhances our ability to send emails and texts to legislators to fight for equal pay, family leave, stopping sexual harassment, equality in education and more. Sign up on the AAUW webpage to get regular alerts to be able to take timely action.
 
You can also text “AAUW” to 21333 to get AAUW action alerts via text.

Pat Sanford
Public Policy Chair
October Speaker Recap

Madhu Sridhar, President of the San Antonio League of Women Voters, was our speaker for October, focusing on the upcoming election with “Your Rights, Your Vote”. The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. They do not support or oppose any candidate or party. Here are highlights from Madhu’s presentation:

  • It took seven decades to pass the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote and another four decades to ensure ALL women— including women of color -- can vote. Women have outvoted men for four decades and make up more than half the population, but hold only 23.7 per cent of elected offices.

  • The first test of a healthy democracy is voter turnout. In Bexar county 80 per cent of eligible people are registered to vote. Twenty-two per cent (22%) of people voted in the March 2020 primary. The coming election is anticipated to be much higher.

  • When Madhu moved to San Antonio, she saw low voter turnout and wanted to determine why. She went to Hispanic neighborhoods and found there were many misconceptions, some of which included:

  1. You can’t take children to the polls with you. (Yes, you can!)
  2. If you don’t speak English very well, you may take someone with you to assist you.
  3. If you spoil the ballot in the process of voting, you may get another ballot.

  • The League provides written help for voters, including a Texas Voter's Bill of Rights and the League of Women Voters Guide, which provides the position of candidates on current issues and is available in printed and electronic versions (vote411.com).

  • Issues surrounding the upcoming election are:

  1. A possible shortage of poll workers with turnout expected to be high.
  2. Early voting has been extended with potentially fewer volunteers this year due to safety/COVID-19 concerns.
  3. The average age of poll workers in San Antonio is 72, which may add to shortages due to fear of risk of exposure to COVID-19.
  4. Voters are not mandated to wear masks and that may be a concern to some potential workers and voters.

  • Madhu reviewed the categories of voters who may vote by mail, one of which is age 65 years or older. Bexar County has 240,000 registered voters over the age of 65. The League’s “Steps to Voting by Mail” brochure is available online (LWVSA.org) and if you vote by mail you can track your ballot at https://www.bexar.org/3327/Track-your-Mail-Ballot. If you vote in person, make your selections before you get to the polls to save time. You may take a copy of your selections into the voting area with you.
  • Vote early, vote during non-peak hours, be prepared, and spread the word about these resources for information to your friends and organizations, including your social media platforms.

The barrier of lack of information can be removed by working together. Democracy is not a spectator sport.

Madhu closed by quoting Harry S. Truman: “It is not the hand that signs the law that holds the destiny of America; it is the hand that casts the ballot”.
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Interest Groups
BRIDGE
Cancelled until further notice.
Luby's
4541 Fredericksburg Rd. 78201
Meet at 12:00 noon for lunch.
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210.240.8118
HISTORIC SOUTHWEST
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DoubleTree Hotel
37 NE Loop 410 at McCullough 78216
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210.334.5897
BOOK DISCUSSION
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Saturday, Nov 21, 10:00 am
Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
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CULINARY ADVENTURES
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WINE, WOMEN & WISDOM
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Wednesday, Nov 11, 5:00 pm
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MOVIEGOERS
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Movie, time, and place selected by the group and announced the day before.
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