Volume 113 Issue 1
2021-2022 Theme:
Economic Security Through Pay Equity
Message from the President
I think we’re all anxious and ready to begin our monthly AAUW-SA meetings – they start on September 4th! You may have already gathered that we need to keep our monthly meetings going with remote access through Zoom. Not only will it help to keep us healthy – we just don’t know the extent of the Delta (or any other) Covid variant – it will also provide an opportunity to invite speakers from outside our area. The line-up of speakers and topics is impressive, thanks to our Martha Steele and her Programs Committee, who have worked through the summer to complete the year’s list. Coda Rayo-Garza, the Director of Racial Justice and Gender Equity, YWCA San Antonio, will speak to us on “Pay Equity for Women” at our September meeting.

Our theme this year is Economic Security through Pay Equity, a driving priority as the country comes out of months of unemployment for some, continued low pay for others, unaffordable child care, rising prices, and closure or reduced sales affecting many businesses and their employees. Advancing gender equity for women and girls is even more key as we saw the greatest negative impact on women during last year’s pandemic.

Please see the article in this Newsletter for the guidelines on our meetings this year. We are supporting a vaccination “honor system” for members who will be attending the smaller group events of the interest groups. Stay tuned to the announcements made in this newsletter and by the interest group leaders regarding plans during the coming year. We need to stay negative (in the Covid sense) and also flexible as we get additional information from science and the medical experts.

The annual update of the Branch Directory and Bylaws is scheduled for publication and will be distributed in September. Diane Claiborne-Carr, our President-Elect, has been working to ensure changes in member contact information will be included in this upcoming edition.

Our membership dues renewal continues and the online process is the quickest way to renew. Checks are also accepted. Please provide your renewal payment if you haven’t already. Contact Rachel Skelley (VP Membership) if you have questions and note the information in this Newsletter provided by Rachel.

I am very pleased to serve a second year as your President and your new Board is also ready to roll! We look forward to our coming AAUW year, learning, working, and enjoying our times together in whatever format we use – remotely through Zoom or in person, whenever possible. Please make sure you send me an email to be included in the monthly membership meetings via Zoom. No need if you were on the email list from last year.

Looking forward—
Cheryl Fuller
AAUW San Antonio President
Guidelines for Meetings
AAUW SA 2021-2022

Many of our members are very eager to begin meeting in person – I think the majority can relate! It’s important to keep in mind that the Covid virus is still around in our area, including reports of the presence of the Delta variant. AAUW National has emphasized the importance of following local, state, county, and national guidance, so we have been cautious about our in-person contacts.

For the coming AAUW year beginning September 4th, we will meet via Zoom for our monthly Membership Meetings. This may change over the course of the year, depending on the status of the virus. It would be wonderful to have our monthly meetings in person again. Again, we will assess the situation as the year progresses and we look forward to full membership togetherness! Your SA Board has been working on the schedule of speakers for our monthly membership meetings and that list will be published soon.

Regarding our interest groups, the Book Discussion (led by Diantha Perelli) and Wine, Women, and Wisdom (WWW) (led by Helga Anderson) continued to meet over Zoom during the past year. For the coming year, there are also plans to resume Culinary Adventures (led by Ali Heller). Other groups are considering resuming their meetings. In order for these groups to meet in person, we need our members to support a set of guidelines that will be used to ensure everyone’s well-being.

Your AAUW SA board supports the idea that a vaccination “honor system” be observed. That is, that members will attend these smaller group events only if they have been fully vaccinated against the Covid virus. Masks will be optional, provided the member has received the full measure of vaccination. In addition, social distancing should be observed, with the use of outdoor venues when possible.

Thus far, WWW has met in person and will continue with a priority given to outdoor meetings. The Book Discussion group is considering in-person meetings, limiting and simplifying the refreshments served at these meetings to a beverage and small snack.
AAUW
IS
STILL
ZOOMING!
September 4, 2021
11:30 a.m.

Speaker: Coda Rayo-Garza

Topic: Pay Equity for Women

RSVP to Cheryl Fuller
to receive the Zoom link.

The Zoom link will be sent a few days before the meeting.
The recording will be emailed and posted on the website after the meeting.
This year’s theme is “Economic Security through Pay Equity,” and our speaker for September is well-versed in this issue and even has the words “gender equity” in her job title. Coda Rayo-Garza is a policy advocate and researcher. She has worked in the non-profit and government sectors in various roles, including Director of Policy, Advocacy, and Strategic Communications. She is a former Lecturer of Political Science, which she taught for nearly a decade. Coda is currently working on social justice issues as Director of Racial Justice and Gender Equity for YWCA in San Antonio, Texas.

Coda has been appointed to various boards and commissions including the City of San Antonio's Ethics Committee, Bexar County/City of San Antonio Complete Count Committee, City of San Antonio Neighborhood Improvements Committee, and others. Coda currently serves on the Board of Directors for Communicare Health Centers. She is co-founder of the nonprofit Fiesta Wishes. She is a graduate of the Latina Leadership Institute and a New Leaders Council fellow. Coda is a Political Partner with the Truman National Security Project and a Term Member with the Council for Foreign Relations. Coda's commentaries have been published in Governing Magazine, Route-Fifty, Inside Sources, Associated Press, Texas Tribune Trib Talk, The Rivard Report, San Antonio Express-News, and more.

Coda is a first-generation college graduate and daughter of immigrants. She earned her M.A. in Political Science from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a B.A. in Philosophy from Texas State University. She is currently a Ph.D. student in Applied Demography. You can follow her opinions on Twitter at @CodaRGarza
AAUW San Antonio Upcoming Programs

We'll all be attending our monthly membership meetings on Zoom for 2021/22, so let’s take a peek at some of the speakers the Programs Committee has lined up. The programs will be getting deep into this year’s theme – Economic Security through Pay Equity --
and include the policies and practices that pave the way to pay equity and economic security. If you miss a program you will be able to view the presentation on our AAUW website, since we record each session.
The September speaker, Coda Rayo-Garza, Director of San Antonio YWCA’s Racial Justice and Gender Equity, will give an overview on the issue of pay equity for women. October's program will present a panel of AAUW Texas leaders, including lobbyist Kevin Stewart, who will explain AAUW's efforts to promote pay equity. Later programs will address equity in education, student debt, childcare, negotiating salaries, and building wealth -- all issues that impact pay equity and economic security.
With the use of remote access through Zoom, the Program Committee has invited nationally-known experts, such as M.A. Lucas of Lucas Early Childhood Systems Consultants, who will address childcare as a workforce issue. We'll also hear from Julia Brown, AAUW National Board Chair, who will speak to us on negotiating skills and their effect on hiring, promotion, and pay equity.
We’ll also include our local scene. For example, you will learn about an innovative initiative on equity in education, AlamoPROMISE, offered by Alamo Colleges and supported by San Antonio businesses and philanthropies. This is the November presentation.
The pay gap has affected all of us in our careers and in retirement. It continues to affect young working women, and girls selecting their career paths. The founders of AAUW encountered staggering discrimination, and began working on change in 1881. Spend some time with us this year and become an effective advocate for pay equity.
Membership Renewal Reminder!

Hello! This is a reminder for all those who have not already renewed their membership for the 2021-2022 fiscal year which began July 1. The dues are $91.00.

To renew online, you should have received an email recently from membershipinfo@aauw.org. Open the link, click renew and pay with credit or debit card. Members who prefer to pay by check may write the check to AAUW-SA and mail it to Adrien Frank, 140 Patterson, #104, San Antonio, TX 78209.

Thank you for supporting AAUW!

Rachel Skelley
Vice President Membership

Meet Our Author

Our own Wondra Chang is a published author. Wondra’s debut novel, Sonju, was introduced to us in July at The Twig Book Shop. We learned about Wondra’s writing process, the procedure for having a book published, and the story of Sonju. After a ten-year period of writing and revising, Sonju was published. When the book is accepted, the work is not done. Selecting the cover and font are complicated. Before printing the book, if a word is changed, it must fit on the page since it can’t go over to the next one. Then there is presenting the novel to the potential readers. Writing the story is certainly not the end of the author’s labor.

Sonju takes place in Korea beginning in 1946 during the Japanese occupation and ends in 1968. Sonju is the story of Korea as seen through the experiences of a young girl who reaches maturity enduring pain and trying to finding a place in the world for herself. We meet Sonju when she is forced into an arranged marriage and follow her through her life as she overcomes adversity. Sonju will find triumph much as South Korea has. We share Sonju’s agony but also share her joy and success.

Wondra was born in South Korea. She came to the United States in 1970. She studied journalism at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea. She received her BS and MS degrees at Texas A&M Corpus Christi in Education and Educational Counseling. AAUW-San Antonio is proud of Wondra, her accomplishments, and Sonju.
AAUW Texas Takes an Active Role in the 87th Legislative Session

Working with Keven Stewart, the lobbyist Texas AAUW hired, has allowed AAUW to make meaningful contributions that directly affect the lives of women and girls during the 87th Legislature this year. Actions Stewart and the AAUW Public Policy Committee, and branch members have taken included monitoring all bills filed to identify measures to support and oppose; developed AAUW Policy Position documents; monitored chamber floor debates; developed bill tracks, monitored the veto process; monitored bill filing for the 1st special Session. On August 5th , Governor Abbott announced the second special session date and agenda. It looks very similar first general session agenda, but new federal funding and education items have been added. Below you will see House and Senate bills on the agenda of the First Called Session and the positions AAUW took on the bills.

Election Reform (SB 1/HB 3) - OPPOSE
As we have said many times during the regular session, election reform bills are solutions to problems that do not exist. There was little to no evidence of voter fraud in the last election cycle, so at most this bill will disenfranchise Texas citizens, especially the elderly population who already have difficulties voting. We hope that the legislature will consider the many negative impacts that this bill could have on the democratic process in Texas.

Thirteenth Check (SB 7/HB 85) - SUPPORT
Since 2004, members of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas have not seen an increase in their retirement checks. Inflation since the last increase has eaten away at retired teachers’ benefits, and the increased cost of living in many areas of the state has put many of our retired teachers in extremely difficult situations. After seventeen years without an increase, a raise is long overdue.

Youth Sports (SB 2/SB 32/HB 185) - OPPOSE
It is incredibly unfortunate that the legislature is spending its time targeting transgender youth while there are so many other pressing issues facing the state. Numerous studies have shown that participating in youth sports has a positive impact on mental health. For a population that disproportionately struggles with mental health issues, youth sports can be a key outlet for these students to connect with their peers. The state should not be prohibiting students from participating according to their gender identity.

Family Violence Prevention (SB 9/SB 72) - SUPPORT
We support the Governor’s efforts to prevent family violence. However, we do have some concerns about allowing parents to opt-out. The reason that an opt out for parents was not included in previous iterations of this bill was that, in some cases, the abuser is the parent. In other words, allowing parents to opt-out may exclude children most affected by family violence. Nevertheless, while the bill is imperfect, we support it in its current form.

Critical Race Theory (SB 3) - OPPOSE
Legislation targeting Critical Race Theory is completely unnecessary, as this theory is not taught in public schools. This bill will create uncertainty for, and will lead to intimidation of, our public-school teachers. We believe strongly that educators, not the government, should set the curriculum for students. While the bill itself is unnecessary, it sets an extremely dangerous precedent that should be rejected.
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. 
2021-2022 Officers
President Cheryl Fuller
President-Elect Diane Claiborne-Carr
VP Membership Rachel Skelley
VP Programs Martha Steele
Secretary Kate Vetters
Treasurer Adrien Frank
Meet Malinda Gaul....Again!

Last spring’s nation-wide AAUW election brought several results:
• AAUW’s public policy priorities were approved by 92% of the voters.
• The ballot initiative to eliminate the membership requirement got 63% of the vote, which almost met the two-thirds majority needed to enact a bylaw change.
• Julia Brown was re-elected as board chair for three more years.
• Malinda Gaul (yes, our SA member) was re-elected as board vice chair, with two others retaining their board seats, Elizabeth Haynes and Joseph Bertolino.

The focus of this article is to share with you some of the details of Malinda’s career and her work with AAUW, which spans over 30 years.

Malinda Gaul practices employment law in San Antonio and has worked with several non-profit organizations to advance the rights of women. She has chaired the labor and employment law section of the state bar of Texas and was the president of the Texas Employment Lawyers Association. She has served in a variety of AAUW positions at all levels, including president (twice) of the San Antonio branch, President of AAUW Texas (twice – 18 years apart!), and served on the AAUW national board from 2013 to 2017, being elected to the Vice Chair of the board in 2019. She has also served on the Racial and Social Justice Working group, co-chairing the campaign for open membership. Malinda has seen how AAUW can make a difference in women’s lives, being very aware of the challenges that remain. She continues to work to improve the pay and leadership gap women still face. Malinda Gaul is a difference-maker dedicated to our AAUW work. We congratulate her and are grateful for her commitment and support for AAUW, especially for her strength that increases the impact of our programs. AAUW-SA is so fortunate to have Malinda in our court! Congratulations, Malinda!

JOIN THE LEGACY CIRCLE!

Find out how easy it is to leave a legacy to AAUW with your planned gift donation.


For more information visit the AAUW websites:




Culinary Adventures is Back!

It’s my pleasure to reignite the AAUW Culinary Adventures group after our COVID hiatus and step in for Fran Vetters - big shoes to fill !!

Since retiring to San Antonio nine years ago I’ve enjoyed trying new restaurants in San Antonio and surrounding areas -from exclusive seatings at Mixtli to “joints” such as Titos in Southtown. There are a number of restaurants on my “possible” list for the year and am always open to suggestions.

Going forward we will meet MOST of the time on the second Thursday of the month at lunch time. We may venture out in the evenings from time to time to try a fun restaurant only open in the evenings and we may find ourselves in the Boerne/Hill Country area. We are adventurous after all, right?!

Our first outing will be lunch at a Mexican fusion restaurant in the Castle Hills area on Thursday, September 9. Details below.

Please let me know if you want to be included in the Culinary Adventures group this year and you will receive notification emails from me letting you know where and when the month’s event will be. Your prompt RSVP will be appreciated. 

All vaccinated are welcome. There may be limits to the number of guests a restaurant can handle.

Ali Heller
210-617-8189
Interest Groups
BRIDGE
Cancelled until further notice.
Luby's
4541 Fredericksburg Rd. 78201
Meet at 12:00 noon for lunch.
Start playing at 12:30 pm.
Contact Pearl Eng
210.240.8118
HISTORIC SOUTHWEST
Cancelled until further notice.
DoubleTree Hotel
37 NE Loop 410 at McCullough 78216
RSVP to Lola Hill
210.334.5897
BOOK DISCUSSION
VIA ZOOM!
Saturday, September 18, 10:00 am
Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles
RSVP by Sept 15 to Diantha Perelli cyclobabe1946@yahoo.com to receive the Zoom link.
CULINARY ADVENTURES
Thursday, September 9, 12:00 noon
Los Azulejos
2267 NW Military Hwy, Suite 101, 78213
RSVP to Ali Heller
210-617-8189
WINE, WOMEN & WISDOM
Wednesday, September 22, 5:00 pm
Cured at Pearl
306 Pearl Parkway, Suite 101
RSVP to Helga Anderson handerson5@satx.rr.com
MOVIEGOERS
Cancelled until further notice.
Movie, time, and place selected by the group and announced the day before.