Tuesday, May 4 at noon
Riverside Nature Center
150 Francisco Lemos Street, Kerrville
Gathering outdoors with masks and social distancing, the Hill Country Chapter of Texas Democratic Women will wind up its 2020-2021 year with an action-packed program. In addition to installing officers for the 2021-2022 year,, members will celebrate victories, recognize leaders and look ahead to a very consequential election year.
The May 4 meeting will be held at Riverside Nature Center in the Pavilion beginning at 12 noon. The Pavilion allows outdoor seating that can be moved to a distance that is comfortable for members. Everyone attending will be wearing a mask, and there will be no food or beverages served.
In addition to our speaker, Royce Brooks, the program will be jam-packed with other activities.
Royce Brooks, executive director of Annie’s List, will bring an exciting message about the future of Democratic women candidates in Texas elections to the May 4 meeting of HCCTDW. Under Brooks’s leadership, Annie’s List plans to build on phenomenal success in the 2020 election cycle, including a record of 1,000 Texas women trained to be candidates or to work on campaigns, thirty-eight endorsed and thirty-one elected.
Brooks has enjoyed an impressive career encompassing both policy and electoral politics. From her childhood in Ft. Worth, Brooks had many achievements as a graduate of Rice University and Harvard Law School, as legislative counsel and subcommittee staff director in the U.S. Senate and as a policy analyst with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
At the time she joined Annie’s List in 2018, she was serving as the first chief equity officer for the City of Atlanta, Georgia, working with elected leaders, community groups and researchers to address inequality in the city.
On the campaign side, Brooks worked for Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston and on the Wendy Davis campaign for governor of Texas in 2014. Her many awards include the Texas Legislative Black Caucus’s Barbara Jordan Leadership Award and the Black Austin Democrats’ Beacon of Light Award. Annie’s List, named for Texas Governor Ann Richards, was formed inn 2003 to respond to Karl Rove’s targeted efforts to reduce the number of women in the Texas legislature. The purpose of Annie’s List is very simply to do everything it takes to elect Democratic women who will advocate for women and families to local, district and state offices.
The meeting will include a special tribute to Anna Osborn, a leader in both the chapter and the Kerr County Democratic Party, who died from complications of surgery earlier this month. The current Board of Directors will review milestones achieved by the Chapter during the pandemic lock-down.
Membership Chair Barbara Young will point to the chapter’s maintaining its membership level despite having to meet virtually, outdoors or in food lines. Legislative chair Judy Ferguson will alert members to critical legislation that must be supported or opposed during the final weeks of the 2021 Session. Finally, incoming president Stephanie Ertel will make a presentation anticipating future events for the Chapter, which hopes to resume monthly luncheon meetings at the Salvation Army Kroc Community Center in September 2021.
Dedicated Democrat Anna Osborn
Anna Osborn, a leader in our Democratic community in Kerr County, passed away in the hospital on April 15 after complications from surgery in March. Anna loved to talk politics with her Democratic friends. She often responded to objectionable letters to the editor in the Kerrville Daily Times. Her sharp wit and sense of humor will be missed.
Anna was a long-time member of HCCTDW and served on the board as secretary in the 2014-2015 year. Prior to the pandemic lockdown, Anna and her husband, John, hosted the monthly Evening Without Tea potluck dinner, a tradition started by former HCCTDW President Brenda Harrison. Everyone looked forward to Anna’s latest dessert and John’s pork tenderloin. Anna also took a lead role in Democratic Party fundraising efforts. Her most recent effort involved a lot more baking than she bargained for
“Thanks for the Memories” was Bob Hope’s theme song. I can’t set my memories to music but I can share memories from this past year as your president.
Thanks for the memory of our 2020-2021 term of office which was certainly a different experience for our Hill Country Chapter of Texas Democratic Women. We were able to have our regular luncheon meetings until the pandemic hit us in March. Our annual meeting in April had to be canceled and the election of officers done electronically. The board decided we would not meet in person until it was safe for our members to do so. That meant looking for other ways to connect and conduct meetings.
Thanks for the memory of webinars in September and October that allowed us to get to know candidates we supported. The venue allowed us to connect with each of these candidates in a more personal way. We owe these brave men and women thanks for their willingness to run for office. Some have said they will try again so we look forward to supporting them in the future.
Thanks for the memory of “Our Evening with Molly” fundraiser that was canceled. Items for the silent auction had already been collected so we held an online auction. It proved to be very successful as we raised over a thousand dollars to send to candidates. Big thanks go to Sue Sommers and her committee who had planned the evening and collected the auction items. Thanks to those who donated items, those who bid and to Kathleen Keller who delivered the items to the lucky winners. Thanks to you who saw the need and made separate donations.
Thanks for the memory of the board members who delivered goody bags to each HCCTDW member. It was a fun time for us to decorate our cars and ourselves as we made these special deliveries. Some recipients did not quite know what to think about these masked delivery ladies. Our goal was to remind our members that they were important to us even when we couldn’t be together.
Many thanks for the memory of those of you who joined our campaign to help Mustard Seed Ministries as it provided needed food for the community. It was rewarding to greet members at Mt. Wesley-Light on the Hill as you drove by to deliver money, food and supplies. You gave our Christmas and Valentine’s Day meetings new meaning.
Thanks for the memory of the changing guidelines for dealing with the pandemic which allowed us to change too. We met face mask to face mask, following distancing requirements, outside at the Nature Center pavilion for special events. First to celebrate Women’s Suffrage and the election of Joe Biden,, Kamala Harris, Chief Justice Rebeca Martinez and Rebecca Bell-Metereau (State Board of Education.) We gathered to watch on TV as President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were inaugurated. We felt we were almost there as we joined together with our applause. In April we met for the annual meeting to elect new officers.
Thanks for the memory of a board willing to learn to zoom for our meetings. It was quite a challenge when my internet would go out and the members kept going. Thanks for the memory of the work Stephanie Ertel did as vice president. The programs she arranged and the logistics for meetings, our goody bags and donations were outstanding. Thanks to Linda Stegall for keeping our minutes for board and general meetings. It was quite a challenge understanding everyone on those zoom meetings. Many thanks to Julie Sentell for taking on the job of treasurer. We are grateful she completed the challenge to correct charter details that had been neglected. Thanks to membership chairman Barbara Young for the 100 members, we have this year. What a special achievement to have that many members when we haven’t been able to have our luncheon meetings. Thanks to Judy Lundquist who took reservations when needed even though she had to resign from the board. Thanks to Judy Ferguson who took the position of legislative chairman. Judy kept us informed of the issues facing the Texas legislature. Thanks to Judy Campbell and Jana Colgate for keeping the HCCTDW website and Facebook page up to date.
Thanks for the memory of a very special lady, Jeannie Berger, who has gone above and beyond the call of duty with the newsletter. Jeannie made sure the newsletter was out in a timely manner with a follow up reminder before each meeting. She sent announcements to the newspapers. When we had the auction, Jeannie sent out the offerings each week. Jeannie designed the ad HCCTDW had in the paper’s special edition celebrating Women’s Suffrage. She and Barbara Young put the yearbook together and it was mailed to each member. Thank you Jeannie.
Thanks for the memory of having served for two years as president of HCCTDW. It has been an honor. I was blessed to have a hard-working board that was determined we would continue to be an active relevant association no matter the circumstances. Thank you members who stayed with us and understood our challenges. We have a special group of officers for 2021-2022. I look forward to their leadership.
Thanks for the memories — I thank you so much.
ONE MORE THING
We have all heard the phrase: “Before you judge a woman (man), walk a mile in her (his) shoes.” Too many times we assume if we can do something other people can too. We assume others are treated as we are treated. We like to think we are treating others following the Golden Rule.. It is sad to realize that isn’t the world in which we live
In 1991 I was given insight many are just now understanding because of the events we have seen on TV in 2020 and 2021. I was a participant in Leadership Texas. One of our sessions was on education. We were in Dallas and heard from a panel of students enrolled in magnet schools. During the question-and-answer period a young black man, who attended the medical magnet school, was asked what his future plans were. His answer stunned us all. “I just want to finish high school and not be killed.” We thought he meant from gangs but he explained “the talk” we have heard so much about since George Floyd’s death.
Race relations seem to be a topic like religion and politics we don’t talk about in polite society. We talk politics because we are members of Texas Democratic Women. Most of us are well informed as to what is going on in the legislature and in Washington, D.C. Some of us are involved with the immigration situation. Few of us are aware of the day-to-day challenges black, brown and Asian citizens face. As we have become more aware of life outside our personal bubble, we are realizing we can’t avoid the topic. It seems we must face systematic racism.
There are many books and programs we can read and watch that will help us have a better understanding of this problem. One I suggest you read is Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. Perhaps you know others our members should read. I hope you will share those titles with friends. As we close this year I challenge each of us to examine our attitudes on this issue. I hope we can work to make the hill country a little closer to that more perfect union written in our Constitution. Working together I know we can make a difference.