Three regions have met for lunch in the past several weeks. In addition to the natural networking that occurs when Forum members get together, each event has featured a speaker that has both informed and engaged. The topics were very different in each of the regions and all offered the opportunity for questions from the group.
The South East Region met on Saturday, February 4th at the Emerald Country Club. Hosted by Women’s Forum board member, Barbara Kornegay, the topic of the day was the status of women in Israel. Forum member Mary Peterson shared pictures of her month-long house and pet-sitting experience in Herzliya, Israel and then offered her insights on the status of women in that country. Mary’s summary of her presentation has also been posted.
The North Central Region met at 18 Seaboard Restaurant in downtown Raleigh on Monday, February 20th. The topic of the day was Amendment One – the proposal to amend the North Carolina constitution that will be on the ballot in May. The amendment reads: “Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.” We heard from Presenter Caitin Breedlove, co-director of Southerners on New Ground (SONG) and one of the leaders of Protect All NC Families. Caitlin shared the implications for North Carolina should the amendment pass. In addition to prohibiting same-sex marriage, as state statute already does, the amendment would prohibit civil unions, bar the state from instituting domestic partnership rights, and strip domestic partner insurance benefits currently offered to employees by a number of local governments. It leaves up in the air and subject to future court interpretation such matters as domestic violence protections, child custody issues, and a number of rights for committed couples, both same and opposite sex, such as medical decisions, and allowing second parent adoptions. It might even invalidate trusts, wills, and end of life directives by one partner in favor of the other. We learned that there are many open and disputed potential outcomes as a result of the ambiguity of the amendment.
Member Margaret Arbuckle hosted a luncheon at the Undercurrent restaurant in downtown Greensboro on March 1st.
There hasn’t been a luncheon in the North West region in forever and this was a wonderfully successful attempt to revitalize the Forum and the region. Attendees from Alamance and Guilford counties were treated to a presentation by Secretary of Cultural Resources, Linda Carlisle who has been fighting for the past 5 months to save funding for many of the state museums, historical sites, libraries and archives. Secretary Carlisle is a business women from Greensboro and told us about the collaboration that exists between the Department of Cultural Resources and the Department of Commerce. She talked about the “power of the creative industry” in North Carolina. She said that it employs about 165,000 workers and sustains over 300,000 jobs. North Carolina produces over $41 billion in creative industry goods and services a year. It is the cultural resources of the state that influences the quality of life in the state and creates the community infrastructure that encourages businesses to come and stay here in North Carolina.
North Carolina is one of the top ten states in cultural and heritage tourism. We are a secondary tourism market and she, as a member of the National Commission on Travel and Tourism, is leading a national effort to market North Carolina as a destination both within the US and in other countries.
Regional lunches are a great way to bring members together to network and to encourage others to join the organization. If you are interested in hosting a Women’s Forum lunch in your region, contact Pat Orrange at email@example.com and she will be happy to work with you to set one up.