The American Association of University Women of Laguna Beach
(AAUW-LB), a 501(c)4 organization founded in 1967, is a dynamic growing organization with many exciting programs, interest groups and opportunities to get involved in the community. Our diverse membership includes residents of Laguna Beach and surrounding communities, spanning a wide range of ages and professions.
Celebration of Artists, February 5, 2017
On Sunday, February 5 a large group of AAUW members and guests gathered at the stunning home of Johanna Felder in Laguna Beach. Before the presentations members and guests enjoyed feasting from a table primed with tasty treats and drinks.
The first presenter was Robin Riddell, of her own Coastal Eddy Gallery, who showed us “Sticks and Stones” represented by several of her unusual ceramic pieces.
Next, we heard the terrifying story of Shams Amoughi’s journey from Iran to the United States. At the conclusion of her talk, a short passage from her book was read by Lynn Weiser.
The third presenter, Amy Jackson, came prepared with a host of her paintings, some of which could be shared by passing them among us. Her message was “From the Heart” and her paintings reflected that sentiment.
Lastly, we were treated to Carol Reynold’s musical journey and her rich history on the french horn and piano.
The afternoon ended with a robust singalong with Carol Reynolds leading us on the keyboard, a delightful way to complete our celebration of remarkable artists.
An Eyewitness to Humanitarian Crisis in Syria
Many young Syrians have lost everything: their home, their normal life, their friends and often even family members. Their memories of screams, gunshots and bombs exploding are stored deep down. A lot of these children and young people are seriously traumatized. Experts already speak of a “lost generation.” But Kinda Hibrawi doesn’t want to give up on this generation. The U.S. artist has Syrian roots herself — of Syrian descent from Aleppo, she grew up between Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bahrain, Lebanon, and the United States. As the education Director of Karam Foundation, she organizes camps for Syrian refugee children. Kinda wants to inspire them with art and photography, creative writing, painting and sports.
Kinda Hibrawi is an acclaimed artist, strategist and creative director with marketing skills in the non-profit sector. With over 5 years experience in branding, development, advocacy and outreach, she has worked on various projects with the U.S. State Department, UNRWA, and UNICEF as well as local and national organizations. She co-founded and jointly ran 7 Innovative Education programs for displaced Syrian refugees on the Syrian-Turkish border starting in Atmeh, Syria from June 2013 to Reyhanli, Turkey in December 2015. The programs, under the Karam Foundation and featured on NBC Nightly News, served over 4,000 Syrian refugee children and youth in workshops led by over 130 international mentors.
Kinda says, “Artists have always been catalysts for social change and activism, they are tuned in to social issues, as their job is to interpret the human experience. The arts can bring hope, healing, and foster cultural awareness for the greater good. People connect through vulnerability—what better way to do this than through the arts.”
The United Nations named Kinda a 2012 Global Thinker and Influencer at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development. In May 2014, she was awarded the Ward Humanitarian Medal by the Williston Northampton School, in MA for her work with refugees. Prior to that, she was recognized as an internationally known painter in Arabic calligraphy using her artwork to bring awareness to non-profits on Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and local charity work in the US for children with cancer. AAUW-LB members and friends are welcome to attend this informational meeting – be sure to RSVP Bana Hilal (215-2674, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF) Luncheon
At the recent LAF luncheon involving Orange County AAUW branches, participants heard the compelling story of Nathalie Gosset, who is the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund 2016 litigant.n She was selected unanimously by the LAF Committee because the facts in her case, if true, are egregious and truly violate Title VII. She shared the vital impact of LAF and AAUW on her life.
Nathalie’s professional life represents a remarkable professional trajectory in the male-dominated industry of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). She has worked all her life on the cutting edge of discoveries. Her exemplary track record in a male-dominated field, has heightened the importance of LAF morale support to Nathalie in the case Gosset v Latch, Cooper, Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering, USC. Gosset is currently in arbitration hearings, claiming a hostile work environment and wrongful termination as well as sexual discrimination, harassment, and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.
On a final note, Pat Allgeier, a member of the AAUW Laguna Hills branch who chaired the LAF Luncheon again this year reported that the LAF Luncheons held since 2004 have made over $21,000 for LAF!
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Coming March 18, 2017
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News from National
AAUW and Federal Officials Call on DeVos to Enforce Civil Rights Laws
AAUW and other civil rights groups organized a “call-in day” on Wednesday to pressure Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to commit to supporting Title IX enforcement. The U.S. Department of Education’s phone lines were flooded for the entire day, and callers were eventually directed to full voice mailboxes or asked to send messages via email. Secretary DeVos has raised serious red flags for AAUW due to her lack of commitment to upholding critical Title IX guidance, in addition to recent statements that indicated she is looking for “unnecessary” programs to cut. Members of Congress also expressed similar concerns. When the website for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) resources became inaccessible the day after DeVos was sworn in, two Democratic U.S. Senators requested the restoration of the website and assurance that it will not be stripped down under her watch. Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Catherine Lhamon, claimed that she was “dismayed” that DeVos has not explicitly stated a position on the department’s enforcement role in campus sexual assault.
This year was action-packed for AAUW’s advocacy efforts. Our reach spanned from the White House to Congress to statehouses across the country. As the year comes to a close, AAUW would like to thank our members and supporters for carrying out our mission to empower all women and girls. Your advocacy and generous support have ensured that we continued many successful and exciting policy activities throughout the year. But the hard work isn’t over yet!
Looking for a New Year’s resolution? Help grow AAUW Action Network by sharing these successes with friends and family members and urging them to advocate for issues affecting women and girls as a Two-Minute Activist. In the list below, you’ll see how much we have done together throughout the past year — and the more our advocacy community grows, the more we’ll be able to do in 2017! If this election taught us anything, it’s that AAUW’s nonpartisan voice and research-based advocacy are needed now more than ever. You provide the voice, we’ll provide the megaphone in 2017 and beyond!
THE LEARNING CLUB: UNDERWAY AGAIN
AAUW-LB’s after school tutoring program at El Morro Elementary School – The Learning Club (TLC) – resumed on January 12 with an orientation meeting for tutors and participating teachers. Thirty-six members and volunteers from the community provide one-on-one tutoring twice each week to seventeen (17) students who have been recommended for the program by their teachers. We are currently serving 6-2nd graders, 4-3rd graders, 4-4th graders and 3-5th graders. We are extremely grateful to all the tutors and substitute tutors for volunteering their time to help these students. But we always have requests from teachers to enroll students in the program that we are unable to fulfill. So if you have the hours from 2:15 – 3:30pm on Tuesday and/or Thursday afternoons, or know of someone who does and would like to help a child learn, please contact Peggie Thomas (499-1817, email@example.com) or Barbara Antonacci (215-5553, firstname.lastname@example.org). The students need your help!