Legal Advocacy Fund News

Save the Date:  Supreme Court Wrap-Up Call: Tuesday, July 19, at 8 p.m. ET. This is a members only event where Mollie Lam, Sr. Mgr., LAF, analyzes the court’s most important cases. Want to make sure you know when to register? Check your LAF Express. If you have not yet subscribed to the  LAF Express there is no better time than NOW.

The June LAF Express includes articles on: 

CHECK THIS OUT:  Ever wondered what LAF is all about?  

The National LAF Website has fantastic information about 

Tobi Balma,
National LAF Committee Member

Give a Grad a Gift

College graduation season is upon us, so now is a great time to share AAUW membership with new graduates.  Any AAUW member may GIVE A GRAD A GIFT of FREE national AAUW membership by simply filling out an online form on the national AAUW website.

UPDATE 2:30 pm, May 13:  Kathy’s comment posted below is quite right, and should have been mentioned in the original post. (Thanks, Kathy!).  If you forward your “Give a Grad a Gift” form to the AAUW CA office, the new member will also be given a free one-year membership in the state organization.  All that’s left to do to make it a *REAL* gift is to fork out the $10 to pay for the new member’s CA Online Branch dues!

May Book Selection: The Divers Clothes Lie Empty

Our next discussion will begin May 25, led by Sandy H. — The Divers Clothes Lie Empty by Vendela Vida.

“From the acclaimed author of Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name and The Lovers comes a taut, spellbinding literary thriller that probes the essence and malleability of identity.

In Vendela Vida’s taut and mesmerizing novel of ideas, a woman travels to Casablanca, Morocco, on mysterious business. While checking into her hotel, the woman is robbed of her wallet and passport—all of her money and identification. Though the police investigate, the woman senses an undercurrent of complicity between the hotel staff and the authorities—she knows she’ll never recover her possessions. Stripped of her identity, she feels burdened by the crime yet strangely liberated by her sudden freedom to be anyone she chooses.

A chance encounter with a movie producer leads to a job posing as a stand-in for a well-known film star. The star reels her in deeper, though, and soon she’s inhabiting the actress’s skin off set, too—going deeper into the Casablancan night and further from herself. And so continues a strange and breathtaking journey full of unexpected turns, an adventure in which the woman finds herself moving further and further away from the person she once was.

Told with vibrant, lush detail and a wicked sense of humor, The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty is part literary mystery, part psychological thriller—an unforgettable novel that explores free will, power, and a woman’s right to choose not her past, perhaps not her present, but certainly her future. This is Vendela Vida’s most assured and ambitious novel yet.” (From the publisher’s website)

If you would like to join us, contact

Onliners at State Convention

For the first time, our branch social gathering at the AAUW CA convention was scheduled during a workshop session rather than during free time, and the conflict probably kept a number of our branch members from joining us.  But we took the opportunity to present Sandy Hansen with a certificate honoring her as this year’s Branch Named Gift Honoree — an honor richly deserved!

Sandy Kirkpatrick (left) presenting Branch Named Gift Honoree certificate to Sandy Hansen (right)

Sandy Kirkpatrick (left) presenting Branch Named Gift Honoree certificate to Sandy Hansen (right)

CA Online Branch members at AAUW CA Convention on April 16, 2016

CA Online Branch members at AAUW CA Convention on April 16, 2016

2016 AAUW CA Convention Day 2

The second day of convention had four workshop sessions with six or more choices per session. CA Online branch members Kathy Andreini, Sallyann Berendsen, Jan Cook, Charmen Goehring, Judy Horan, Lynn Janeway, Susan Negrete, Kay Odgers, Carol Patrick, Dale Satake, Harriet Tower, and Jo Turner were among the 43 presenters. I heard many positive comments about the high quality of the workshops. We all are leaving inspired to see AAUW grow during the coming year.

A highlight of the day was hearing the finalists in the Eleanor Stem Allen Speech Trek competition after lunch. The topic was “Gender Bias and Inequality.”  We heard many voice the opinion that they were glad they were NOT among the judges. Winner was Sharon Lu, a senior at Gabrielino High School in San Gabriel. Kudos to online branch member Cathy Foxhoven who organized the state-wide Speech Trek competition again this year. When Cathy recovers from convention, we’ll have our final branch program of this year, focused on the competition.

At the CA Online branch gathering, it was revealed that 26 members voted in our officer election. Elected were: President, Sandy Hansen; Program Vice-President, Cathy Foxhoven (2nd year); Treasurer, Sandy Kirkpatrick; Membership VP, Kathy Andreini; and AAUW Funds VP, Sallyann Berendsen.  I must thank the branch for honoring me as 2015-16 Named Grant Honoree. (Sandy Hansen). We shared ideas for the branch for the next year. We agreed that more of us should be contributing to this blog, which is the face of the branch. If YOU would like to occasionally post to this blog, contact for password and instructions. Blogging is NOT limited to officers.

Several of us dressed up for the evening gala and enjoyed a reception as members of either the AAUW Legacy Circle or the Mooneen Lecce Giving Circle. We all enjoyed the evening dinner which featured author Sheila Weller telling us about some of the female journalists and singers she has written about.

The evening was capped with AAUW Fund awards. Branch member Judy Horan was honored for her long-time involvement with AAUW as the California named grant honoree. This is usually a surprise, but Horan accepted the honor with a nice speech, quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and finally thinking her mother.

Sandy Hansen
Communications Chair

2016 CA AAUW Convention Day 1

Our state convention began on Friday April 15 with a focus on the pervasive issue of sexual assault on campus. We watched the film, The Hunting Ground in its full version then had a time for discussion with two of the students who had been raped as college students and one of our members who experienced harassment as a faculty member and lost her job after she filed a complaint.  Quite an opening to the day.

During the evening business meeting, the chair of our national board of directors, Patricia Fae Ho, told us that fighting such incidents on campus and related domestic violence are high priority issues for AAUW nationally.

Several CA Online branch members are attending the convention and have been invited to post their comments to this report to round out our report to the branch and those interested in our activities. Watch for a project among our members addressing alumni support to colleges and universities that are NOT maintaining safe environments for ALL students AND faculty.

A new statewide project focusing on the leadership models of Eleanor Roosevelt and Malala Yousafzai was also rolled out to us on Friday night, modeled on a similar project done by AAUW in New York and New Jersey. Check the link for a preview of what’s coming to California. All who attended the business session received materials. We expect to also be able to implement the ideas in our branch in the next year.

The slate of officers for election to lead AAUW of California was complete and there were no contested positions, so the candidates were declared elected. Details of the business meeting will be on the AAUW CA website and are on their FaceBook page and will be reported in the next AAUW California Perspective.

It was a full day.

Sandy Hansen, Communications Chair

November 2015 Program Summary

If you scroll down our blog, you’ll see that we had a November program on the AAUW Fund. The program summary is now available. If you missed the program – or participated and want to review the discussion, be sure to read the summary – which is actually a full transcript, with names changed to “Participant 1, Participant 2, etc. . Find it on our Programs page.

California Online places in 2016 Speech Trek

California Online’s 1st place winner, Sabrina Fleming, was awarded an honorable mention and placed 5th in the recent Speech Trek competition, where the speech topic was “Gender Bias and Inequality.” Sabrina was the branch’s 1st place winner last year and worked hard this year to improve. Two of the five judges placed her in the top three! We’re very proud of Sabrina’s tenacity and dedication to AAUW CA’s Speech Trek. Since she didn’t make the final three, she is eligible to compete again and we’re guessing that she will!

Our other competitor, Valentina Escobar, was such an amazing speaker but she was disqualified because her speech ran short of the 5 minute requirement. This is what Valentina wrote:

“I had to take the time to thank you for involving me in this competition. I’ve grown rather attached to this particular speech, as it reminds me so much of the mother I lost. I know she’d be happy to see me working with such amazing women as yourself and those in AAUW. I can’t put into words how overly excited I am to speak. I hope to advance in the competition so I can meet you personally and thank you more. I’m very grateful for your training and your help.”

Thank you to Jo Turner and the Riverside branch for providing an audience and filming Valentina.

Both competitors have agreed to be our guests for the May program so you will have a chance to ask questions and get to know these intelligent, poised, young women.

Here are their speeches:

AAUW Annual Art Contest

As noted on the AAUW website’s announcement about the annual AAUW art contest:

We hear about the gender gap all the time — in salary, in math and science fields, in leadership. But one of the most glaring and longstanding gaps is in the art world. For centuries, women artists were unrecognized, unencouraged, or even discredited simply because they were not men.  Today, things have changed … some. Still, in 2012, only 4 percent of artists on display at the Metropolitan Museum were women. There remains just one major museum in the world dedicated solely to women artists. That’s why we host an annual art contest to get women artists the equal attention they deserve.

AAUW members have until the end of February to vote on their favorites of the over 200 art submissions.  When you cast your vote, you will automatically be entered in a drawing for a gift certificate to Shop AAUW.

2015 Art Contest Winners

March Book Selection: Empty Mansions, Dedman and Newell

Empty Mansions : The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.


When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed a property listing for a grand estate that had been unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled into one of the most surprising American stories of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Empty Mansions is a rich tale of wealth and loss, complete with copper barons, Gilded Age opulence, and backdoor politics. At its heart is a reclusive 104-year-old heiress named Huguette Clark.

Our discussion will begin on March 25, led by Gail.  If you would like to join us, contact