Monday, February 25, 2008

New MOMA show in time for AAUW March 8 trip

New Color Show at MOMA
From The New Yorker, February 25, 2008
MOMA's upcoming show "Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today" identifies a broad shift in artists' approaches to their palettes, away from the spiritual (a la Kandinsky) and theoretical (a la Josef Albers), and toward ready-made sources and random systems. On view will be nearly a hundred works by dozens of artists, including Bas Jan Ader, Daniel Buren, Damien Hirst, Yves Klein, Sherrie Levine, Gerhard Richter, Frank Stella, and Andy Warhol.

Seats still available for March 8 trip. Member discount available. Email to reserve with Garnette

Friday, February 22, 2008

Reflecting on Rabbi Heschel's Question

Contributed by Victoria Reiss

Every morning when The New York Times arrives my habit is to peruse the front page and op-eds, then turn to the obituaries. I realize that sounds like a gloomy way to start the day but obituaries tell me more about our famous contemporaries than I knew, and I'm always curious about the paths that led to their success.

Recently it was a "Connections" biographical article about Rabbi Abraham Heschel, not an obituary (he died in 1972) that caught my eye because I had been on one of the anti-war marches he led. It was 1967-68, a march from Central Park to the United Nations that he led along with Martin Luther King,Jr., Dr. Benjamin Spock, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Paul Moore of St. John the Divine, and William Sloane Coffin among others.

My ten-year-old son Tom was with me and when he got bored with the slow pace, I suggested that if we walked faster we could be right behind Dr. Spock, and that's how, in one slice of archival footage that is shown on TV occasionally, there is Tom's face in the first row behind the leaders.

Heschel was an important ecumenical leader who asked "What way of living is compatible with the grandeur and mystery of life?" To me, one perfect question.

I thought of the mysterious chemistry of our bodies. This week a report was announced that may finally explain muscle fatigue; that it is caused by stored calcium leaking into muscle cells. Scientists live constantly with "the grandeur and mystery of life" and hopefully the rest of us share in the wonder.

But now I find myself reflecting every day on Heschel's speculation on how we should live to be "compatible with the grandeur and mystery of life."

Photograph by Benedict Fernandez. Published in: Kasher, Steven. The Civil Rights Movement: A Photographic History, 1954-68. New York: Abbeville Press, 1996. Found on the Stanford University Lesson Plan: Martin Luther King, Jr's "Beyond Vietnam."

Note: we thought the 3rd man in this photo with Dr. Spock and Dr. King was Rabbi Heschel, but another off-line photo identifies Rabbi Heschel, with beard and beret, between Dr. King and this unidentified fellow.

Branch Historian Interviews Mary Gelhaus

This month Bernie Carpino interviewed Mary Gelhaus. Mary has been a member since 1963 and has served in a variety of capacities including branch president from 1989 to 1992.

Mary Gelhaus is a wonderful source of AAUW information. Mary’s mother had been an AAUW member so Mary was quick to join the Kingston Branch when she moved here. She has been a member of our branch since July, 1963.

Adelaide Van Wagenen gave her rides to meetings which were then held at the YWCA.

In her second year of membership, Mary was asked to be Treasurer. She remembered that National began using spreadsheets to track membership dues during that time.

Communication also underwent changes. The newsletter was originally churned out on a mimeograph machine. In the 80’s it was done by a non-member for a nominal fee until Mary began doing it on the computer. Due to postage costs, it was decided to print bi-monthly rather than monthly. Among other contributions, Mary did the Directory for three years, finding it often difficult to get all the necessary information.

In the late 80’s leadership became a problem – younger women were not joining and some members had dropped out because of National’s very aggressive pro-abortion ads.

Jean Guzewich agreed to be president to keep the organization alive. (1987-89) Next Mary took over the position (1989-92) with Veronica Rafferty helping with programming. Mary instituted Saturday morning membership coffees; membership gradually increased and new leaders emerged.

Mary recalls AAUW’s involvement in community affairs.

  • As an advocate for the Library, a film was made to be shown to community groups at the time the library was moving to its present location.
  • Members assisted Ulster Literacy with a project in which members would rewrite a news story so it could be used as a teaching aid.
  • A panel and study on child abuse chaired by Edna Vickers was a catalyst for awareness and change.
  • Members visited the homeless shelter and prepared and served a meal to the residents.

Social connections are important to AAUW members and Mary is no exception. She speaks fondly of June picnics, the Christmas potluck dinners with spouses attending and doing the clean-up. Fellowship was generated in attending performances at UPAC and other venues.

Mary feels AAUW is doing well locally. Nationally membership has dropped and Mary thinks there is too much emphasis on a mission-based approach.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Diversity Report - Feb. 2008

From Arlene Bruck, Diversity Chair

In December I presented $50 Walmart give cards to 10 deserving families in the Kingston School District. We presented the cards as rewards for their hard work and progress at school.The families were selected by the Family Care Worker and the ESL Teachers. The families were able to use the cards for food, clothing,holiday gifts or anything else they needed at Walmart. The families are very grateful to AAUW for our generosity and interest in helping them.

These students must pass the same New York State Regents Exam given to all students. I am happy to report that all the ESL students who took the January Regents passed. This success is a tribute to the students and their teachers. Since many of our students born in the United States have difficulty with this exam, we can appreciate the extra effort the ESL students and teachers put forth to achieve this result .

The deadline for the Diversity Scholarship is April. The $700 scholarship will be awarded to the student whose essay demonstrates a commitment to promoting understanding and harmony among the diverse groups comprising our community. In the past applicants have volunteered in the community, organized walk-a-thons, sponsored panel discussions and benefit concerts and even set up new support groups in Kingston.

Last year we received 75 applications from excellent candidates which made it very difficult to choose a winner. I will have the applications available in May for any member who would like to read the them. On June 2nd I will present the scholarship to the winner at the Awards Presentation.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

FaceBook 101 for AAUW members

If you're feeling left out of the social networking revolution on the web and want to explore Facebook, help is here.

The AAUW Facebook strategy group has created 'Facebook 101', a good how-to get started on Facebook document.

If you join, you can learn a lot by watching what your friends are doing. Who are your friends? Well, there are at least four Kingston AAUW members you can connect with: Garnette Arledge, Susan Holland, Jeanne Townsend, and me (Ruth Wahtera). If others of you are members, please reach out to us. We'd be delighted to be your Facebook friends.

You also learn by joining groups. There's every kind of group imaginable. Here's the link for the main AAUW Facebook group (currently 212 members) or plug AAUW into the search box.

There's also a specific group for AAUW Younger Members & Student Affiliates.

So, even if you think you get plenty of AAUW here, this can be a fun way to learn about social networking. You can join at

Voter Registration: Unequal Access

One of our mission-related areas of focus this spring is voter registration. Here's a new report that will help inform our planning.

Unequal Access: "Unequal Access: Neglecting the National Voter Registration Act, 1995-2007

Although millions of citizens have taken advantage of voter registration opportunities created by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), key provisions of the law meant to reach populations with low voter registration rates have been poorly and inconsistently administered in many states. Specifically, states have failed to adequately implement — and the Department of Justice has in recent years failed in their duty to enforce — NVRA provisions that require states to offer voter registration in government agencies providing public assistance benefits.

Download the full report: Unequal Access: Neglecting the National Voter Registration Act, 1995-2007."

This information comes to us from Project Vote. Hat tip to Rokki Carr.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Kingston AAUW Joins the Woodstock Time Exchange

From Garnette:

At the most recent Kingston AAUW board meeting I presented information about the Woodstock Time Exchange.

Community time banks are growing across the USA, and some dedicated Woodstockers have started a site for our area. From the website:

Neighbors helping neighbors is as old as our species yet in the hustle and bustle of modern life we are losing touch with the pleasures of being in community. So we're using that touchstone of modern life - the Internet - to reintroduce neighbors to each other and the joys of doing things for each other in reciprocal relationships.

The board decided that AAUW should join as a club, thereby reaping and giving community service hours for the organization. I have already posted a request for what we call 'the trip treasurer,' someone to just balance the checkbook.

As we need outside help, we can post our needs on the WTE web site -- driving people to meetings, help setting up the bridge tables, putting up trip fliers etc.

AAUW earns hours to spend on these services by doing community activities, e.g. our Pay Equity and Voter Turnout programs which serve the whole community.

If you want more details I will be happy to have a chat with you. A bonus is that many more in the area can learn about AAUW and what we are up to.

When I enrolled AAUW, I found out we get 25 hours for signing up. So we have time 'money' in the bank already!

Can individuals join?

Some people at the board meeting wondered if they could join as individuals, as I did. The answer is YES. No matter where you live in the area, you can join.

Need pet sitting, drive to the airport, someone to organize your files, paint your porch? There's someone in WTB who is offering to do this for you. Janine Mowers quickly revamped my creative writing files. She got hours, I got order and we had fun. WTE also holds networking and community meetings, a further opportunity to talk about AAUW.

So please check out the link: for more information. To join click on the 'find time banks' button and scroll down to Woodstock (at the bottom of the alphabetical list). Just click the various links for more info. Also mention my name when it asks you how you found out about this.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Welcome AAUW Webinar Participants!

The Kingston AAUW board members welcome our colleagues from across the country to our website/blog at Wednesday night's webinar -- An introduction to Blogger for hosting AAUW websites.

We're delighted that you chose us as your sample blog/website to discuss and hope you can benefit from our experience. We've certainly learned a lot since last June when we launched the site.

Read our comments to see some of the things we like about our two blogs, some of the things we've learned, and some of our hopes for the future. And, of course, our advice and best wishes!

Have a great webinar. Leave us a comment on a post or two so we know you've been here.

We hope to visit your branch website/blog soon.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

How did women vote on Tuesday?

AAUW DIAlog is the brand new blog brought to you by the AAUW staff at National. I encourage you to take a look. Here are some interesting stats from DIAlog blogger Seth Chase's post on Super Duper Tuesday.

  • Women were more likely to vote Democratic than men, who were more likely to vote Republican.
  • 80% of African American women voted for Barack Obama.
  • 64% of Latinas voted for Hillary Clinton.
  • 59% of white women voted for Hillary Clinton.
  • Women over 60 were most likely to vote for Clinton (55%).
  • John McCain held a small lead over Mitt Romney among women voters.
You can read the headlines for their posts in our sidebar. And you can subscribe to their updates via email or RSS feed. Pay them a visit and welcome them to the 'blogosphere.'

Goldberg Piece On Display Through Today (Thursday)

Bad weather kept many of us away from the opening reception at Bard, last Friday, but here's a photo of Doris Goldberg's piece "Danger Alert for the Hudson River." You can read about Doris' creative process here.

This piece was assembled for the "Focus the Nation" teach-in held on college campuses across the country last week to address climate change.
Photo by Jane Sunshine

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Bluest Eye - Book Club Feb 19th

Tuesday, February 19th, 1pm, at the Kingston Library.

Updated 2/5/08
The Bluest Eye
by Toni Morrison. This is Ms. Morrison's first novel -- the story of an 11 year old girl named Pecola Breedlove who prays for blue eyes so she will be as "loved as all blue-eyed, blonde children are loved in America."

Written in 1970, this is Ms. Morrison's first book.

In my 1994 edition there is her Afterword, in which she explains where she got the idea for the story, why she included certain things, and how she found it difficult to find the right female voice for parts of this story. She says she "attempts to transfigure the complexity and wealth of Black-American culture into a language worthy of the culture."(page 216)

There are many characters, each illustrating a different facet of black identity which can help the reader become more understanding of the culture.

I plan to show a short film (18 minutes) called, The Psychological Residuals of Slavery. I have shown this before but each time you see this you remember some different aspect and it is well worth our time in Black History Month.

Marjorie Regan,
AAUW Book Club Moderator

This is a Book Club in a Bag choice so you can arrange to pick up a library copy from Marjorie Regan.

1/15/08: literary group tackles Triangle

Update - 2/5/08: Some members have asked about our January meeting.
We discussed Triangle, The Fire That Changed America.
This non-fiction book about an event in NYC in 1911 could be compared to the historical fiction we read in September: Paradise Alley, the book about NYC in 1863 during the Civil War draft riots.

The beginning Labor Movement was helped by the devastation of the fire. The cooperation of women socialites who came to the working areas,Socialists, Immigrants, laborers joined in a common cause effected changes. Most important, though was one, young, immigrant, working girl who was beaten by thugs hired by management. She still gave lectures on the necessity of workers organizing themselves.
From, Marjorie Regan,
AAUW Book Club Moderator


The next monthly meeting of the literary group will be held on Tuesday, January 15 at 1 PM, upstairs at the Kingston Library at 55 Franklin Street. We'll discuss Triangle: The Fire That Changed America by Dave von Drehle. Do join us, even if you haven't finished (or read!) the book.

Which Countries Set the Best Examples?

Jeanne Townsend, our Branch International Chair, sent along a link she received from Peggy Kelland, NYS International Affairs Director. Jeanne commented in her request that we post a link, "This references a very interesting paper with lots of statistics that members might find interesting. "
Which Countries Set the Best Examples?: "International political organizations count about 193 countries. Which ones set the best examples to the rest of the world? Which ones would we do best to copy, to emulate and to admire for their foresight, hard work and long-term conscience? Which countries would have humanity survive gleaming into a clean, happy, bright future? Who are tardy on humanitarian issues, science or development?"
The charts provide interesting browsing. For example, on the Gender Equality Scale, the US isn't even listed among the top fifteen countries. We're 29th in Quality of Life, and dropped from second (2004-5) to sixth (2006) in the list of Most Competitive Economies.

Do take a look. And, consider the way each of the indices is constructed. See whether you agree.