HAPPY JONES - 1937-2017
We share with great sadness news of the passing of Dorothy Snowden "Happy" Jones, a founder and generous supporter of the Memphis Area Women's Council and a legendary women's rights and social justice champion. She was at home following surgery and rehab for a broken hip.
A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Wednesday Nov. 22 at Grace St. Luke's Episcopal Church.
Happy's no-nonsense personality and willingness to use her family's wealth and position combined to make her a force to be reckoned with for decades here - and women benefitted much from her leadership in many organizations.
She was first galvanized to act by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the struggles of local sanitation workers and their families. In 1968 - barely into her 30's - The Commercial Appeal named Happy one of the 20 most influential political leaders in Memphis. In 1971, she organized the Memphis Community Relations Commission to address institutional racism. She became part of the Memphis Panel of American Women which literally united black and white women, Catholic, Protestant and Jew, in speaking out about race relations.
Her living room in her Central Gardens home deserves a bronze plaque in recognition of the many significant women's programs and other initiatives that were planned and fostered there.
In the mid-1970s, she was a founder of Network of Memphis, which gave women working in finance, law, business and politics a space to support and encourage one another. For decades, Network's official address was her home.
In 1984, Happy joined a group organizing Women of Achievement to document and honor change-making leadership by local women. In 1992 she was named a Woman of Achievement for Determination for her work on civil rights. She faithfully continued to participate each year in selecting new honorees as Women of Achievement continues to celebrate local women each March during National Women's History Month.
In 2003, Happy was among the women who created a new non-profit organization called the Memphis Area Women's Council after multiple "listening sessions" around the city confirmed a need for targeted, strategic action to unite women's voices on barriers, gaps and policies that were limiting women's access to safety, justice and equity.
She served on the Women's Council board and as treasurer for many years. She headed our education work group when we vehemently and successfully pressed for a ban on corporal punishment in public schools. And she was always involved in strategies dealing with local elected officials and policy change.
Happy supported many other projects and agencies as well as political campaigns with money, advice and encouragement. She will be deeply missed by all of us at the Women's Council even as we strive to continue her legacy of change and progress.
In response to inquiries, tributes in Happy's honor can be made in support of the Women's Council and Women of Achievement to the MAWC Founders' Fund. Donations can be made using PayPal
More Than 200 Step Out in
2017 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes
The annual men's march against domestic violence, sexual assault and rape drew more than 200 participants on Oct. 25 when the route began on The University of Memphis campus.
UofM President David Rudd, Memphis Theological Seminary President Daniel Earhart-Brown , Memphis Police Department Deputy Director Mike Ryalls and Memphis City Councilmember Worth Morgan joined dozens of students, including scores of teens from Bridges USA and others, for the walk on Central to Highland, onto Poplar and back to the Ramesses II statue on Central.
The Walk was organized by the Women's Council in partnership with the UofM Student Affairs Office and Student Government Association, theMemphis Says NO MORE campaign and ad agency Splash Creative.
To see a TV news report from the event, click here.
MPD Deputy Chief Don Crowe,
Councilmember Worth Morgan
Photo: Haley Kirksey
Foreground: University of Memphis students,
background: Memphis Theological Seminary President Daniel "Jay" Earhart-Brown
Run Women Run 2017:
Strong Lessons for Local Women
Stand up and run! That was the repeated message by panelists at the Run Women Run election training event organized by the Women's Council, the Memphis & Shelby County League of Women Voters and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women - Memphis Chapter.
Shelby County will see an enormous ballot in 2018 with offices ranging from mayor and sheriff to court clerks and school board up for grabs.
With only four women serving among 26 seats in the Memphis City Council and County Commission - with five women among 19 in the state legislative delegation - with no female mayors in the county - it is time for women to run, panelists said. They talked frankly about raising money, how to spend it, interviewing and selecting campaign leadership, staying on message and the impact on family members.
"Say "I am in this to win this,'" said TaJuan Stout Mitchell, former chair of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners.
"Build a community of people you trust," said state Rep. Karen Camper, "and trust your instincts. Don't second-guess yourself."
"Get great media people and cover all the media bases - Twitter, Facebook, all of it," said District Attorney General Amy Weirich.
Bettye L. Boone, immediate past president of the local Coalition of 100 Black Women, led everyone in a closing rally: "I will make things happen. I will become a change agent."
Some 500,000 elected positions exist across the nation, most at state and local levels where offices are more about improving community than about political hardball and bloody battles. The perception that politics is a nasty business of conflict, criticism and a constant search for money turns many women away, according to researchers.
Yet research further shows that media bias has diminished, that women candidates do not have to work harder than men to raise money - at least for state and national offices - and that the problem-solving leadership aspects of public service can make women eager to run.
Our communities - our citizens - need women to run, win and run again.
Rhodes College provided event space at Buckman Hall. Linda Phillips and the Shelby County Election Commission provided copies of district maps for local and state positions.
Presenting sponsors were the League of Women Voters, the Women's Council and the Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood. Supporters included the American Association of University Women, Association of Women Attorneys, Bettye L. Boone, CHOICES, Democratic Women of Shelby County, Germantown Democratic Club, Peg Watkins, Regina Walker, Splash Creative and YWCA of Greater Memphis.
The organizers warmly thank all for their support. For Run Women Run materials on campaign structure and reference links, click here. For local election candidate forms and deadlines, click here.
"Why Run: Developing Your Message" was led by state Rep. Karen Camper (Dist. 87); Tami Sawyer, former candidate for Tennessee state legislature; Joy Touliatos, clerk, Shelby County Juvenile Court; and Heidi Shafer, chair, Shelby County Board of Commissioners.
Back row: event organizers Bettye Boone, Sherry Hewlett, Regina Walker, Barbara Williams, Peg Watkins, moderator Beverly Robertson and organizer Deborah Clubb
Photo: Bettye L. Boone
A panel on "How to Run: Building and Funding a Campaign" featured Deidre Malone, former Shelby County Commission Chair; TaJuan Stout Mitchell, former Memphis City Council Chair; Adrienne Pakis-Gillon, former candidate for Tennessee state legislature; and Amy Weirich, Shelby County District Attorney General
Happy Jones - 1937-2017
More than 200 Step Out in 2017 Walk a Mile in Her Shoes
Run Women Run 2017:
Strong Lessons for Local Women
University artists share powerful images Dec. 1
THE WOMEN'S COUNCIL NEEDS
To our readers and supporters: as you consider your end-of-year gifts, please remember the Women's Council.
Drop by the Women's Council office on Nov. 2 for conversation, a beverage and a snack.
Make time to share time with other fascinating women. Gather 5:30 to 7 p.m.
The conversation is always fresh and robust. At the Sept. 27 gathering, multiple races and faiths were represented. Guests ranged in age from 26 to 80, from an artist to a tech industry barrier-breaker, two published authors, an attorney, a landscape architects, two gender violence advocate, a birth control activist, a social worker -oh, and a male state senator. Yes, one man found his way to the conversation In September and expressed appreciation for the honest and frank comments on law enforcement and court issues that were shared.
About Memphis Area Women's Council
The Memphis Area Women's Council is a non-profit dedicated to advocacy to assure equity and opportunity for local women and girls. Our goal is strategic changes in policy, procedure, law and regulations that remove barriers, eliminate sexism and assure equal access.
or contact Deborah Clubb at