SBWPC Members and Supporters,
We recently held our 2021 Cosmopolitics event, virtually, with keynote speaker Dr. Jenna Tosh. Jenna is the President and CEO of our local Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood Action Fund. She provided an in-depth overview of the current status of abortion rights and the Supreme Court. More than ever, we must all be involved and engaged in supporting the continued right and access to safe and legal abortion.
To open the meeting, I provided some remarks to mark my last official member event as President of the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee. I wanted to share the main message of my remarks with all of you:
Anytime I have the opportunity to kick off a program, I always like to ground us in a reminder of our vision – what we are constantly striving for – which is to achieve a society based upon the feminist values of social, political, racial, and economic gender equality.
Our feminist values are reflected in our position papers, which were recently updated and are available on our website. I want to highlight some aspects of our positions. First, we frame our positions with the statement that Inclusive, intersectional, progressive feminist values shape all our positions and drive our strategies.
And we acknowledge that Black women, Indigenous women, and women of color have historically been disproportionately impacted by misogyny, sexism, racism, and other systems of oppression.
SBWPC has traditionally focused locally where we work to recruit, train and support feminists to take leadership positions in many different areas of civic engagement. Whether that means serving on a board or commission, volunteering, or running for office.
The need for feminist voices at decision-making tables is more important than ever. At Cosmopolitics, we talked specifically about reproductive rights and current threats to our right to abortion care. And locally, there are many threats to progressive and feminist policies and to our feminist elected officials.
While we focus on how to lend our voices and support in our State and across the country – we should also be clear-eyed about what is happening right here in our own backyards. The scenes of threatening and disturbing public comments that go viral in places around the country are also taking place at our own City Council, Board of Supervisor, and School Board meetings.
Over the last year, we heard anti-feminist and anti-choice comments made at public meetings, on social media, on neighborhood blogs. There are growing and more vocal voices in our communities that are organized and persistent.
Public service is a sacrifice and our feminist public officials need to hear from us – need to hear our support, need to be held accountable, and need to be informed about the feminist issues we care about – social, political, racial, and economic gender equality.
Sadly, across the country, we are seeing more and more folks choosing to resign from public office or choosing not to run because of the polarizing and potentially hostile environment they face. This will disproportionately impact women and BIPOC feminists who are thinking of running for office. That’s where organizations like SBWPC can play a role.
We are mighty, we are organized, and we can be the backstop for future political leaders. We can provide training, support, networking, and mentorship for feminists when they are running for office – and we must continue it when they are serving in office.
So how do we get to work? We know it is important to show up on election day – but we’ve got to start showing up well before that. Get involved with SBWPC – join a committee, share information with your friends about our organization. We have to make sure our elected officials know where we stand and know that they won’t be able to count on our support if they don’t uphold our feminist values. And for the many feminists that we have worked hard to elect – share your appreciation for them!
At the end of the year, I close out my time as President of the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee. As I reflect on my three years in this leadership role, I want to say it has been an immense privilege to have been entrusted to steer this incredible organization. The last three years included rallying our supporters to fight against a Trump White House, electing Joe Biden and our first female Vice President Kamala Harris, dozens of important local elections, and of course navigating our continued work through a global pandemic. I was able to enjoy one Cosmopolitics in person – and two stellar virtual events. I look forward to safely gathering for future events in person.
I couldn’t have worked these last three years to represent this organization without the constant support of our powerhouse Board. The SBWPC Board is a treasure of institutional and local knowledge, of important new voices, and of local leaders who help amplify our message. It is a Board where we challenge each other, we learn from one another, and we are always striving to work towards our Vision.
It has been my most sincere honor to serve in this leadership role and to now join the incredible legacy of Past Presidents of this organization – another dedicated group that continues to work to support the organization and that has been a wonderful source of support, wisdom, and guidance for me.
Cheers to closing out 2021 – I look forward to fighting alongside you in 2022 and beyond!