It’s already November and the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. It seems appropriate to take some time and think about the last year – what’s improved, what’s next, and what are our favorite positive thoughts on the meaning of “thanks”. Shall we start with being thankful for each other? Our sisterhood in AAUW, the women who just may have brought us through some of our greatest challenges – those of pandemic, illness, ageing, maybe even misbehaving children? And then there are the fun times – maybe this year you got to eat in a restaurant a time or two, gather in small groups with friends, and stay in touch with others via remote access (yes, that Zoom gizmo!).
I hope you’ll agree we’ve had some great meetings with speakers that raised our consciousness, answered our questions, and most recently, addressed a load of burning questions on AAUW Advocacy and Legislative issues and processes. Thanks to our Texas AAUW President Gloria Long and her team for a terrific panel discussion at our October meeting. Be sure to view the video on our AAUW SA website. It is packed with information to keep in mind as we look to voting this November.
On November 2 you have the opportunity to vote on eight Texas propositions on the ballot that were passed by the state legislature and must be passed by a majority of voters to take effect. These are constitutional amendments that could affect your life, well-being, and finances. In order to fully understand and be ready to vote, please go to lwvsa.org or VOTE411.org for unbiased pros and cons on each proposition. The last day to register to vote is October 4, with early voting October 18-29. Vote at any polling location in Bexar County.
We’re looking forward to our November 6th presentation on Educational Equity: The San Antonio Initiative presented by Dolores Zapata-Caballero, Director of Operations for AlamoPROMISE at Alamo Colleges.
May you all enjoy the season and thanks for your year-round enthusiastic support of our AAUW spirit!
The Zoom link will be sent a few days before the meeting.
The recording will be posted on the
website after the meeting.
In our continuing series on Economic Security through Pay Equity, our theme for 2021-2022, Dolores Zapata-Caballero will introduce us to an initiative at the local level that is helping to address one of the obstacles to education that both women and men encounter, which is the rising cost of higher education combined with drastically-reduced state funding for colleges and universities.
The AlamoPROMISE program, a public/private initiative to equalize access to education at Alamo Colleges, offers “last-dollar” grants to students. At the November meeting, you will learn more about efforts here in San Antonio to extend higher education to those who haven’t had opportunities in the past.
Our speaker, Dolores Caballero-Zapata, Director of Operations for AlamoPROMISE, has worked for Alamo Colleges both as a faculty member and a manager of numerous programs, including ESL, GED, Catch the Next Ascender, Job Readiness, Mariachi, Customer Service, as well as manager of college disciplines as varied as Oil and Energy, Logistics, and Healthcare Administration to Cosmetology.
She earned her Master of Education degree at Schreiner University and B.A. from Texas State University. She is a first-generation college graduate, and completed two leadership academies, one at San Antonio College and the other offered by the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
In 2015 she received the IMAGE de San Antonio Award honoring outstanding women role models. She received a national award, the 2015 Excellence in Service award from the National Institute for Staff and Organization.
Consult the list of her service to the college and to her community to see why she received that award:
Emerging Leaders Mentor
Journey to Wellness Coach
Alamo Colleges District Staff Senate
Palo College Staff Council President
Natalia ISD Work Force and Education Committee
She volunteers at her church food pantry and leads her family choir at St. John Bosco Catholic Church. She volunteers with youth sports programs and offers free fitness classes to San Antonio Parks and Recreation.
As you see, she is a driven educator, advisor and leader.
Summary of Message from October Speaker
Gloria Long, President AAUW Texas, and Patricia Rehm, Public Policy Chair for AAUW Texas, honored us at the October meeting by presenting a program on AAUW's efforts to promote pay equity. Joining them was Kevin C. Stewart, who advocates for AAUW, among his other clients at the state Capitol. Mr. Stewart was kind enough to donate his time for this presentation.
Gloria started with AAUW's first statement about the gender pay gap, dated 1896! Today, the average pay gap between men and women for comparable jobs is $.17, and in Texas is larger, $.20. That totals hundreds of dollars per year. Of course, for women of color, older women, and people in jobs requiring less education, the gap is much wider.
Pat explained that AAUW takes a multi-pronged approach to correct the problem. The first prong is advocating for bills at the local, state and federal level. The federal bills that would foster pay equity include the Fair Pay Act, BeHeard Act, and Paycheck Fairness Act. They also advocate for reduced student debt; most debt is held by women. [We will cover this issue in another program this year.]
At the state and municipal level, laws that establish paid sick and paid family leave would aid working women's pay. AAUW is also advocating for eliminating tipped minimum wage, banning NDAs regarding salaries, and the requirement on job applications that previous salary be disclosed.
Another prong that AAUW has employed is the creation of tools to empower women. The programs they have developed are:
Work Start and Start Smart [Which Julia Brown will explain at our March meeting.]
AAUW Fellowships and Grants
Also, AAUW maintains a Legal Advocacy Fund to offer financial support to women challenging laws that result in gender discrimination.
They advised members to sign up to be a "Two-minute Activist" to automatically add your name to email messages sent to your representative and senators in the U.S. Congress.
Kevin Stewart's presentation explained "when you can be an effective advocate," and much more about the Texas Legislature. Starting immediately after November elections every other year, the period for pre-filing bills begins. Advocates seek members of the House and the Senate to sponsor a bill, and the more sponsors the better. Bills are numbered once filed, but the numbers 1 - 30, on both House bills and Senate bills, are reserved for the bills promoted by the leadership of each chamber.
Once the legislative session begins, it is necessary to have a committee chair bring up the bill for discussion. On the first hearing of the bill, advocates can testify, submit comments, or "drop a card." The next step is getting a bill on the calendar, which constituents cannot influence. If a bill is not added to the calendar of the chamber, sponsors may succeed in getting it added as an amendment. Also, adding an amendment may be used to change a bill.
The Senate is tightly-controlled by the Lt. Governor. The Speaker of the House exercises less control over that chamber. But bi-partisan actions do happen in the Texas Legislation. Once a bill is voted into law, it must still get the Governor's signature.
Mr. Stewart explained that AAUW submitted policy papers in all three legislative sessions this year. However, workplace issues did not get much attention this year, with the exception of a law introduced by Democrat Judith Zafferini, and supported by Republican Senator Jane Nelson, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, which makes sexual harassment "an unlawful business practice" and extends the statute of limitations for sexual harassment.
Listen to his presentation for the reasons why the legislature passed 30% less legislation than normal.
Mr. Stewart answered questions from the audience for an extended time. To hear the information he imparted in the lively discussion period, please watch the recording.
We are grateful to all three of our panelists for the time they spent with us and the valuable information they gave us.
Please note the following program changes in your AAUW Directory and Bylaws and your calendars.
The program scheduled for Saturday, December 4, 2021, will take place Saturday, February 5, 2022. The change means that Dr. Bill Mitchell will address Student Debt: Its Effect on Pay Equity on February 5, 2022.
The program scheduled for Saturday, February 5, 2022, will take place Saturday, December 4, 2021. The change means M. A. Lucas will address Child Care: A Workforce Issue on December 4, 2021.
The Program Committee
$300 VISA Gift Card - Textbook Scholarship 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 4th meeting just in time for holiday shopping. You do not have to be present to win or a member of AAUW. Tickets are $10 each or three for $25. In early November you will receive a letter with tickets. 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.
The University of Texas at San Antonio has renewed and Our Lady of the Lake University has rejoined AAUW. San Antonio College and Palo Alto College are in the process of renewing their membership in AAUW.
If you know of a college or university that might welcome membership in AAUW, do let me know. I shall do what I can to facilitate that. They will benefit from using Start Smart so that their women students have the skills to negotiate a decent wage; that all students can have free e-membership to network with other students; access to numerous scholarships and grants for faculty and students; they will be a part of a 170,000 member strong organization that advocates, educates and researches topics essential to women.
Scholarship committees have been appointed. Members on the graduate scholarship committee are Diantha Perelli, Pat Sanford, and Patricia Tucker. Members on the textbook scholarship committee are Diane Claiborne-Carr, Mary Ellen Pratt and Eleanor Skelley. They are all prepared for a very rewarding experience. Scholarship announcements will be sent to the colleges and universities in our area in November. Student applications will be online. Spread the word! Raise all kinds of textbook funds!
Welcome New Members!
Sylvia Boone, Lea Fagin, Silke Gonzalez, Dee Kite, Laura Macom, Kindra Marietti, Valerie Perez, Elizabeth (Betty) Russell, and Connie Wood
We look forward to getting to know you and hope you will join some of our interest groups.
AAUW-SA, VP Membership
Be an Informed Voter
Voting in national, state, and local elections never gets less important! Voting is more than our right. It’s our responsibility as citizens. In the November 2 election, there will be eight propositions on the ballot. They are listed below. You can learn where candidates running for office stand on the issues by using the VOTE411 Voter Guide at VOTE411.org. This useful website also has videos explaining each proposition.
Vote! Urge others to vote! Help get out the vote!
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the professional sports team charitable foundations of organizations sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association to conduct charitable raffles at rodeo venues.”
“The constitutional amendment authorizing a county to finance the development or redevelopment of transportation or infrastructure in unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted areas in the county.”
“The constitutional amendment to prohibit this state or a political subdivision of this state from prohibiting or limiting religious services of religious organizations.”
“The constitutional amendment changing the eligibility requirements for a justice of the supreme court, a judge of the criminal court of appeals, a justice of the court of appeals, and a district judge.”
“The constitutional amendment providing additional powers to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct with respect to candidates for judicial office.”
“The constitutional amendment establishing a right for residents of certain facilities to designate an essential caregiver for in-person visitation.”
“The constitutional amendment to allow the surviving spouse of a person who is disabled to receive a limitation on the school district ad valorem taxes on the spouse’s residence homestead if the spouse is 55 years of age or older at the time of the person’s death.”
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.”
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.
If you’ve lived in San Antonio for many years you know the Los Patios area around 410 and Starcrest has had its ups and downs. Once a hot spot with three thriving restaurants, a nursery and plant shop and spacious boutique and gift shop, it fell in disrepair.
Now there are two restaurants and a third on the way in the hopes of reviving this beautiful treed venue.
We’ll go to Gunslingers, 2015 NE Loop 410, a burger and comfort food restaurant which opened less than two months ago. The Gunslingers use the sous vide method for their meats and then give them a quick sear. Delicious!