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August 2020 BPWNC Newsletter


Wednesday, August 19

6 p.m.



(Use Zoom link and password below)

Professor Janet Rankin will be our featured speaker on Wednesday, August 19 as we meet virtually on Zoom. She will both enlighten and lead us in discovering more about our foremothers. Professor Rankin teaches history and Women’s Studies at Sierra College through regular courses as well as through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) programs. Don’t miss this timely program!


Also, included in this issue of your newsletter are profiles of four scholarship awardees and the essays they wrote on “A Woman’s Issue That Concerns Me Most.” While we cannot be together in person to honor the recipients, we want the membership to share in their stories. The work goes on. But the Scholarship board can use your help. The financial awards come from you, the members. This year it is highly unlikely we will earn anything through “Good Dollar, Bad Dollar,” or our monthly wine sales. Further, it is quite doubtful we will be able to have a holiday party where the money we raise from the auction goes to scholarships. Knowing this, we ask you to give anything you can so that we may continue to raise women up by assisting them to finish their education in their chosen field. Thank you for all you do.

Your Scholarship Board: Judith McCarrick, Lynn Wenzel, Lindy Horwitz, Susan Rogers, Deb Armanino, Beth Volz


Use the link and password below to join us at 6 pm
(meeting room will open 10 minutes ahead)

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:

    Password: 151035

Or Telephone:   +1 669 900 6833 (US Toll)    Meeting ID: 930 2416 0299

If you need help with Zoom, call Susan Rogers, (530) 271-1311

Mark your calendar and keep this email for the Zoom link.



All kinds of activities were excitedly planned for this centennial year. Unfortunately, as we all know, COVID-19 brought a halt to almost everything that had been long in the planning. Still, the celebration must go on, virtual or not. History and the women who made it cannot be forgotten!

Throughout the long and difficult struggle not only for the vote but for civil rights, suffragists were laughed at, divided, attacked and dismissed. Still, they persisted for over 72 years. They attained their goal by courageously asserting their rights, recruiting allies, building coalitions, winning elections and, finally, convincing lawmakers of the “rightness” of their cause. At the same time, each woman’s drive was personal. Each had to find her own voice and her own courage. Interestingly, a large number of American men supported women’s cause, In more than 50 electoral campaigns a large number of men, often above 40%, voted to support equal suffrage.

At this juncture, we proudly recognize women from all cultural backgrounds who laid the groundwork for changes that followed. Values such as building community and reducing violence catalyzed many to join efforts to establish justice and defend the struggle for rights that continues today.

Most women’s rights supporters had been introduced to reform efforts through the abolition movement. Still, we must also recognize and acknowledge the racism inherent in the early struggles for equality. It can be difficult to accept historical facts and rewrite historical narratives. Many white suffragists shared the outlook of their times regarding race and did not or would not speak out against flagrant racism and exclusion. Many movement leaders refused to condemn white supremacy despite repeated pleas from black suffragists for fear they would lose support among their white allies.

Before the 1913 suffrage parade in Washington, D. C., Ida B. Wells, an activist for suffrage and against the lynching of black men, applied to march with the Illinois delegation. She said, “If the Illinois women do not take a stand now in this great democratic parade, then the colored women are lost.” Grace Wilbur Trout, who headed the state suffrage organization said no. Defiant, Wells went to D. C., waited on the sidewalk until the delegation came by, squeezed in between two friends and marched the rest of the parade route with them. She was only one among many. Such women as Lucy Wilmot Smith from Kentucky, Georgianna K. Offutt from California, Mary J. Johnson Woodlen of Delaware and Gertrude Elzora Durden Rush of Iowa are only a few of the hundreds of women of color who continued to fight for equal justice after the 19th Amendment was passed. Many still- disenfranchised minority women, including and especially black women in the south, were barred from voting. These women produced works and writings that give us new insight into their motivations, struggles and accomplishments today.


The Women and Social Movements project ( now offers to libraries nationwide more than 2,000 writings by nearly 300 black women activists in their Black Woman Suffragists Collection as well as thousands of biographies of activists from all walks of life, all colors and religions. Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 brings together innovative scholarship, primary documents, books, images, essays, book and Web site reviews, teaching tools, and more. It combines the analytic power of a database with the new scholarly insights of a peer-reviewed journal. Published twice a year since 2004, the database is edited by Kathryn Kish Sklar and Thomas Dublin of the State University of New York at Binghamton, with an editorial board of leading scholars from around the country. Altogether, the database includes one hundred-sixty thousand pages of documents written by more than 2,450 primary authors. Each update adds new material offering the latest historical scholarship and related primary materials. (Yours truly as well as BPWNC member Judith McCarrick have written biographies for this collection.)

Although we are celebrating an historic achievement from history, the work did not end with the passage of the 19th amendment. It was a long road to victory and we all must continue to devote our energies to fighting for civil rights for everyone, a struggle that continues today.

Inez Milholland Boissevain was an American suffragist and labor lawyer. She traveled endlessly and tirelessly all over the United States to agitate for the vote despite the fact that she suffered from pernicious anemia. Cautioned to stop her work or she would die, she chose death. During a speech in Los Angeles, she fainted on stage and died soon afterward. The vintage poster was created after the 1913 march to honor and remember Milholland-Boisevain as she led the great event just before her death. (in the collection of Lynn Wenzel)

Join your BPW sisters, friends and guests as we hear how women won the battle for the vote, the internal and extern
al struggles and about the women who gave their health, their comforts and even their lives to attain.

As you all know, August is always the month when we celebrate our newest scholarship awardees as well as hear from past winners who bring us up to date on their activities and achievements. Unfortunately, this year we will not be able to honor these women in person. But the scholarship board wanted members of BPW to know about the women to whom BPW has awarded scholarships and to hear about them and from them. Below we feature the essays of four women who have all been awarded scholarships or encouragement awards over the past six months. Here they are:

Velina Herrenkohl received her Helga Rohl Encouragement Award (HREA) in November. We weren’t able to meet her as PG & E cancelled meetings due to fire. Velina found us through an internet search of organizations granting scholarships in Nevada County. She particularly appreciates that our scholarship is for reentry women as most are not. Velina, a farmer and business owner and former Dental Assistant, has volunteered with FREED for the past three years. She is beginning the Ayurvedic Health Counselor Course and plans to become an Ayurvedic Healthcare professional. Her essay:

“I care about many of the issues that women today face, but the issue that is nearest and dearest to me and hits home right now is age bias in the workplace and the pressure society places on women to all ages with body image. Also, with regard to what it means to age gracefully, to stay active and viable in both society and the workplace in general. There is so much pressure placed on women of all ages these days that comes in messages from all aspects of the media, as well as from each other, it feels to me. I see women of all ages, but particularly women in my age group struggle with body image, with issues of self-esteem and I observe women struggling to compete to keep their jobs as they age. It breaks my heart. Personally, I have endured, overcome and moved away from 40 years of marital emotional abuse and verbal battery. This caused me to suffer with self-esteem and body image issues. I am so very grateful for all the support I have received from some truly caring women in my journey. Now, as I approach the age of 64, I am excited and grateful to “start over.” I am going back to school. I hope to be a living, walking example of “aging gracefully.” I pray to be an example of the affirmation, “You’re not too old and it’s never too late” to realize a dream, to be a viable part of the community and the workplace. I plan to use my certification as both an Ayurvedic Health Counselor and the treatment modalities that I am becoming proficient at, both as a ministry to others, but to also (with hope) inspire others and particularly women who may struggle with the same issue as I have already overcome. It is my desire and plan to pay it forward. I hope to be a guide for women who long to achieve better health, to reduce their stress and to view themselves in a positive light.

Devin Eliason is currently attending the California College of Ayurveda in a program that will ultimately allow her to serve as an Ayurvedic Health Counselor (CCA). She received a HREA to help her realize her dream of owning her own clinic in cooperation with other health care professionals. She is currently an integrative nutrition health coach as well as a baker/barista/prep cook at both Meze and Brew Bakers Café in Grass Valley. In her letters of recommendation, she was variously described as having integrity, intelligence and grace with a firm internal compass, and as a natural teacher and leader. Her essay:

To choose one women’s issue that rises higher than all others in importance is a challenge. However, most relevant in my own life, is the issue of women supporting women. Honoring what it is that the feminine brings to the table and acknowledging and applauding each other’s strengths is an ability that needs to be emphasized and nurtured.
 From an early age, I noticed how the boys got along and supported one another (most of the time). Their dynamic seemed easy and drama free. Meanwhile, I found my female relationships to be quite the opposite. Jealousy tended to take the reins all too often. We were so preoccupied with our looks and how we were perceived that the things that really mattered i.e., character, creativity, ability, gifts, imagination, and innovation, were set on the back burner. Through high school and in to college, I found myself devoting unnecessary time to looking good out of fear of being judged or not being wanted. In addition, comparing myself to other women was an all-day occurrence. There was always some aspect of myself that wasn’t quite as good as theirs. Sadly, female friendships often ended when one felt lesser than another. I noticed in many female dynamics, rather than feeling inspired by one another, envy would take over, and solutions full of support and compassion were often not the ones taken. It was common for women to gather and speak poorly of other women. I noticed many of my friends had mothers who also didn't believe in themselves, who also carried envy and self-neglect. This lack of support between women has been present for a long time. It is the area where I carry the most sadness and the most trauma.
I think about the amount of time I have spent worrying about my looks and how I compare to other women. I think about how much time every other woman has spent doing the same. What would my life look like if I had spent all that energy and time elsewhere? Reflecting over this, a couple questions come to mind. Is this behavior inherent among women? Have we always been so judgmental and competitive? Have we always worried so much about our looks and how we are perceived? One would think that if it is so common, there would be some sort of benefit to this behavior. Perhaps there is benefit, but it is not beneficial to us.

Having women worry about their looks and compete with one another is of great benefit to a patriarchal nation. As Ashley Judd recently said, “Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both men and women participate.” We have unfortunately bought in to this system, unknowingly supporting the very battle we are up against. The more time and energy we devote to worrying about how we compare to other women is that much less time devoted to rising to the same level as men. It is that much less time devoted to anything that truly matters.

Judy Griffin received her HREA to help her attend her Women’s Functional & Integrative Medicine Professional Training Program. Classes include Immunity and Autoimmunity and Gyne Protocol I: PCOS, PMS, Endometriosis and Fertility. Judy, a nurse practitioner, currently works with Women’s Health Specialists (WHS) at the Citizens 4 Choice Clinic in Grass Valley and is a member of the Institute for Functional Medicine and Integrative Medicine for the Underserved. She volunteers with One Source Empowering Caregivers and is working to create a volunteer group called Haven to provide end-of-life support to homeless people. She was described by her supervisor, Cindy Xiong, Director of Health Services for WHS, as an excellent team worker with good communication skills as well as a person always looking for new opportunities to educate the community. Her essay:

The women's issue I care most about is access to healthcare. Whether by political or economic means, when access to healthcare is limited for women, morbidity and mortality rates rise and women are less able to live autonomous and productive lives. Historically, women have been prevented from practicing and receiving healthcare. In the 15th to 17th centuries, many women midwives, herbalists, and local healers were labeled 'witch' and imprisoned or killed. When my mother attended medical school in the 1980s, she was routinely ridiculed and punished by attending doctors for advocating for women patients. Although she finished medical school and residency with honors, she did not go on to practice medicine because she did not feel capable of practicing ethically within this medical system. By intimidation and force, women have been removed from medical practice and their women patients have been left with inadequate healthcare.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, women like my grandmother were commonly diagnosed with 'hysteria' and sent away to institutions. While 'hysteria' is not an official medical diagnosis today, medical providers continue to tell women that what they are feeling is not real or is all in their heads.
Women often experience different symptoms than men and have different patterns of disease than men, but much of conventional medical practice for both genders is based on studies of disease and treatments in men. These practices can lead to delayed diagnoses, unnecessary suffering, and sometimes even premature death.
The biggest barrier to healthcare for women is financial. Currently, more than 10 percent of women in the United States are uninsured. Women who are uninsured or underinsured have inadequate access to healthcare, receive deficient care when they do seek services, and are less likely to seek preventive services like routine PAPs, mammograms, and blood pressure checks. These factors result in worse health outcomes. Finally, new laws continue to be written to limit women's access to contraceptives and abortion services. Because the health risks from unplanned pregnancies are greater than the risks from contraceptives and abortions, limiting these services further increases morbidity and mortality rates for women.
As modern medicine evolved, women have faced limitations to providing and receiving adequate healthcare. We have made improvements through activism, but we still have more work to do. To improve access to healthcare, we must advocate for women providers and patients. We must advocate for medicine that listens to women and provides care based on the experiences of women.
We must advocate for economic equality and equal access to healthcare for all. We must protect women's rights and access to contraceptive and abortion services. These improvements will lessen suffering, lower premature death rates, and give women freedom to live fulfilling and healthy lives.
Shauneen Deschaine received a Dolores “Dee” Eldridge scholarship as she attends Sierra College, having recently completed Principles of Microeconomics, English IA and Elementary Statistics. She joined the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society in March. Her goal is to earn an AS-T in Business Administration and then to transfer to William Jessup University in Rocklin to earn a BS in Business Administration. She has been working in the Nevada County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office for eight years and is intending to move up to the Assistant Treasurer-Tax Collector position. Shauneen’s goals are clear—she plans to be the next county Tax Collector and, like Tina Vernon, wants a long career with the county. She serves as the treasurer for the Rutiger Foundation. Vernon, Nevada County Treasurer and Tax Collector, describes Shauneen as having positive energy, intelligence and commitment, and as creative and flexible. Her essay:

Thirty-seven thousand girls who are younger than 18 years are married each day, meaning 1 in 3 girls in the developing world become wives before adulthood (International Women's Health Coalition 1). This trend indicates that more than 140 million young females will become underage brides within the next ten years. The reasons for this phenomenon are diverse, but many of them depend on the girl’s parents and their community’s customs. Many who encourage this practice believe they are protecting these young women and expanding their opportunities since most of the unions happen between an impoverished female and a wealthy man.
Nonetheless, encouraging such a tradition exposes the girls to numerous health issues, domestic violence, and an inability to enjoy childhood. Child unions perpetuate a cycle of helplessness and victimhood among women, which widens the gender inequality gap. Such a system ends the girl’s childhood, interrupts her education, and minimizes her chances of attaining economic independence. Additionally, child brides have little access to birth control, nor can they negotiate safe sexual habits. According to the International Women's Health Coalition, “girls who are younger than 15 are at an increased risk of dealing with birth-related issues by 20%'’. All these consequences appear to be beyond the victim’s control, meaning large-scale intervention measures are needed to curtail this harmful practice.
Efforts that address child unions must be at the forefront of the current global agenda because the freedom to choose one’s spouse at the appropriate time with no coercion or violence involved is a human right. However, forcing young girls into marriages leads to adverse impacts on their development and stability by promoting illiteracy and poor health. Therefore, a focus on eliminating this threat will boost the realization of the objectives concerning topics such as health, education, gender-based violence, and economic autonomy for women, their families, and communities.

From Our BPWNC President:

What is your legacy? How do you want people to remember you? What causes or movements do you support? This Covid 19 has give me the time to reflect. Having spent lots of time at home and reviewing photo albums and videos I am thinking of what is really important to me and what I’d like to share with my progeny. My vacation photos are meant for me and the people with whom I was with on our trips. I remember dumping all of my parents slides after they died. We gathered for family slide shows but the pictures just didn’t hold a connection for me past the initial viewing with my family. I don’t expect my offspring will keep my vacation photos either.

We do keep birthday cards, personal notes, and photo CD’s or sim cards but do need to make sure the technology keeps up with our tools. Our video camera has quit on us and we didn’t have the chance to copy the tapes before hand. So very sad…..

So, what do you cherish? Do you have a journal or diary? How would you feel if someone else read them? I do enjoy reading memoirs but those experiences have been specially selected and not to shame or humiliate the readers.

When gathering with friends or relatives what stories or photos do you share with them? Have you made copies in case of a disaster? Are they kept in a fire proof safe or safety deposit box? We hope we won’t lose our possessions to any unfortunate event but now with the time we have staying at home it is good to think of just what is truly important to us and find ways to share our treasures or promote our causes for the future!

Moving Forward, Mary Sivila, President

Do you want to help get out the vote on November 3rd?
Here’s a safe way to reach voters all over the country.
Vote Forward is a well-organized, non-partisan effort to mail letters to preselected potential voters. It’s easy to sign up, to print out letters, address them, put a stamp on each envelope and send 5-20 letters (your choice) to people in the state(s) you choose. A great way to participate in the electoral process!
Here’s where to register to help out:
Our advocacy has had to take account of the new reality in the CA legislature: less time to consider bills, reduced revenues and a focus on addressing the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as the highest priorities.  The 2020-21 budget enacted at the end of June funded few initiatives, while many substantive policy bills have prematurely stalled.
Yet, a number of the proposals we support are moving forward.  Several would improve workplace leave and compensation policies. Two would help address gender-based discrimination in the workplace and in education. And one would improve reproductive healthcare for some of our most vulnerable populations, pregnant women who are incarcerated.
Let me highlight those high priority bills:
  • SB 1383 – Providing job protected family leave and pregnancy leave for more employees
  • AB 3216 – Expanding sick leave and family leave to more workers
  • AB 196 – Providing essential workers with w
  • SB 493 – improving sexual harassment and assault processes on college campuses
  • SB 973  - requiring employer annual reports on pay data by gender  
  • AB 732 – ensuring better pregnancy and abortion care for incarcerated women
I constantly monitor our bills to assess their progress and send support letters to the legislature to let them know of our support.  So, the committees that decide whether to vote “Aye” and move the bills to the next stage know where we stand and why.
I’m proud of BPWNC and proud to be your voice in the CA legislature, helping advance our pro-woman agenda.  Together, we are “promoting equity for women in all aspects of their lives.”  If you have any questions about our advocacy program or about specific measures we are supporting this year, drop me an email.  I’d love to hear from you.
Elaine L. Sierra
Advocacy Chair
Club Business
Now that we have more home time help get the word out. Please send names and email addresses of your friends and family to Phyllis to receive the BPWNC monthly newsletter. This will give them a great idea of our organization that you are involved with.
Thank  you
~ Membership, Deb Armanino 415-786-1160
*** Please add Phyllis Orzalli e-mail ( to your address book to ensure it does not go to junk!
Mission Statement
The mission of the Business and Professional Women of Nevada County
is to support and promote equity for women in all aspects of their lives.
~To promote personal and professional development for working women.
~To advocate on National, State, and Local legislative issues of importance
to working women.
~To support the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.
~To promote the education of our members and the community in matters of women's equality as it relates to economics, employment, health, education, housing, civil rights, and other issues of equal opportunity.
Interested in joining our dynamic group of women?
Want to take on a lead role in our organization?

We need active members who have time and interest
in being a board member: president, vice president, secretary,
treasurer or program committee.

For only a few hours a month you can guide future endeavors of our great group. Please contact Mary Sivila at 530-346-7192 or email her at to discuss the great possibilities!
Our meetings are now held via ZOOM the 3rd Wednesday of every month.
Mary Sivila - 530.346.7192
Vice President
Shirley Hall - 916.826.8944
 Shirley Zeff - 530.273.3010
Deb Armanino LeBlanc

Our members - Submit an idea to the board.
Lynn Wenzel - 530.477.0746
Judy McCarrick - 530.478.0677
Elaine Sierra - 530.274.0738
Phyllis Orzalli - 530.913.8473
Phyllis Orzalli - 530.913.8473
Patricia Wolf - 530.273.0605
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Business & Professional Women of Nevada County · P.O. Box 2642 · Grass Valley, CA 95945 · USA

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