Female elected officials, peace activists speak in ‘Women Inspiring Hope and Possibility' panel discussions

March 3, 2004
Karen B. Eldridge, Director of News and Public Information
865.981.8207; karen.eldridge@maryvillecollege.edu

In honor of Women's History Month, Maryville College will host two panel discussions – one on March 9; another on March 23 – that explore the ways in which women inspire hope and possibility through political processes, peaceful protests and activism and commitments to social justice.

Female elected officials and peace activists have been invited to serve on panels to share their opinions, challenges and personal stories.

The theme of the discussion series, "Women Inspiring Hope and Possibility," is a message being celebrated across the nation this month by the National Women's History Project.

In 1987, the National Women's History Project petitioned Congress to expand a national celebration of women to the entire month of March. Approved with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, the National Women's History Month Resolution has translated into programs and activities surrounding the celebration.

According to the National Women's History Project website (www.nwhp.org), "[The 2004 theme] celebrates the hope and sense of possibility that comes to our lives from the inspirational work of women. Hope comes in many forms from laws challenged and changed, new medical research, stories of compassion and courage, and watching women stand tall against great odds."

Local female elected officials will gather at 7 p.m., March 9, in Lawson Auditorium of Fayerweather Hall to discuss "Women and Political Participation" in an event co-sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the College's chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa.

Panelists for the March 9 discussion include Johnelle Jackson, member of the Alcoa School Board; Mae Owenby, former state representative and Blount County Superintendent of Schools; and Madeline Rogero, former Knox County Commissioner and candidate in the 2003 Knoxville mayoral race.

On March 23, the topic turns to "Women Working for Global Peace." Invited panelists include Brenda Bell, an activist with "Women in Black," an international peace network; Lissa McLeod, an activist with the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance; and Carol Nickle, a legal professional devoted to issues of social justice. The Rev. Ann Brunger, former minister of Highland Presbyterian Church in Maryville, will moderate.

The March 23 discussion is co-sponsored by AAUW and the College's Peace and World Concerns Committee.

Refreshments will be served immediately after discussions to allow attendees a chance to talk with panelists.

"We are very excited about these two panel discussions," said Dr. Kathie Shiba, associate professor of psychology and one of the coordinators of the series. "All three of the panelists scheduled for March 9 have been very involved in local politics and will be able to discuss issues regarding participation, campaigning, support and the role of women in politics. There currently are few women in leadership positions in local government, and these panelists will discuss their visions for expanding the participation of women.

"The panel speakers on March 23 have experiences working and meeting with women from various regions internationally and will be able to compare and contrast local issues with issues on a more global perspective.

"We are very fortunate, indeed, to have women in our community who are making such strong contributions and demonstrating passionate civic responsibility in the ways that these women are doing!" she added.

The discussions are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Shiba at 865.981.8270 or kathie.shiba@maryvillecollege.edu.