Mid-Suffolk Chapter

My Experience as a NOW Intern by Jordan Pollack

When I first heard about the NOW, I was in eighth grade and it seemed almost too good to be true. I couldn’t believe that there was an organization solely focused on women’s rights that was so comprehensive in women’s rights representing a hub for all issues regarding feminism. I had always strongly admired this organization, but I didn’t realize that I could actually contribute to it, especially at a young age, especially with a simple phone call.
Over this past year I did research on different internships and volunteer opportunities that I could do, and being the ardent feminist that I am, I reached out to the Long Island Chapter of the NOW just to see if anything would happen. I was pleasantly surprised when I was quickly connected to Joan Carter and Juliet Gobler: two incredibly passionate, friendly, bright, and welcoming women. I was immediately given assignments by Juliet, the NOW Mid-Suffolk chapter president, and went to a small meeting where I met some of the influential NOW board members. After this meeting, I reached out to a few of them to learn about their experiences with the NOW and gained incredible insight and advice from all of them.
I learned from Lois (Secretary) that we cannot look at the issues that NOW confronts as side issues. These outcries are coming from half the population, so it is more than just a special interest group. It is our lives. Karyn (VP of Membership) gave me insight about the importance of connecting our spiritualities with feminism. She explained that society has always told us to act a certain way but we need to take control and accept and love ourselves as women. In order for more change to occur, women need to consciously be in charge (you can learn more about Karyn’s connection between women and spirituality here: www.karynobeirne.com). Gail (Treasurer) taught me about the importance of independence that we always need to have in our lives. She explained that this independence is needed financially, psychologically, and in many other realms. This independence allows us as women to think on our own and, bringing it back to Karyn’s point, have control of our lives.
While all three women gave me individualized, indelible insight that I will take with me, they all agreed on similar aspects. Each woman said that the issue that they most care about is reproductive rights because, as Lois articulately stated, “if you can’t control your own fertility, you can’t control anything else in your life.” Each woman also pointed out the fervor that the NOW once had has diminished, so we need to continue to emphasize the importance of this organization because equality has still not been reached. Lastly, all three women said that they would not have been so involved if it weren’t for Grace Welch (the NOW Mid-Suffolk chapter previous president and founder).
Before speaking to Grace, I only knew her from her biography, which was one of the most unique biographies I have ever read, and the voices of the other NOW members who constantly praised her passion and power. Grace has been involved in the NOW since its beginning, and it was an incredibly valuable experience to be able to finally speak to her. Grace’s zest was evident from the first “hello” she spoke on the phone. Grace has incorporated feminism into every aspect of her life, and I truly admire everything that she has accomplished. Her spunk and drive to succeed is evident in how she worked her way up the ladder of an advertising company but also in how passionate she is about feminism. Grace spoke to me about the importance of becoming an active member of the NOW and about applying your talent and time to the movement and the chapter. She is in the book Feminists who Changed America, and this is not surprising in that she has strongly influenced the feminist movement in countless assets and will continue to do so.
Each woman that I spoke to had numerous passions, but the underlying connective tissue was for the women’s rights that affect each of their daily lives. They all came together to contribute to the NOW in addition to working for their daily careers. Each woman similarly greeted me with openness and admiration although I feel that I should be the one admiring them, for they are the ones who helped to fight for many of the rights that women possess today and are still fighting for the rights that women have not yet fully received. My experience with the NOW has been insightful and inspiring, and I am truly grateful for everything that these women have given me. I can’t wait to continue to advocate for women’s rights alongside these women in the future.

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