Woman's Suburban 
Democratic Club                                
   of Montgomery County, Maryland

November Newsletter  - Volume 2, Issue 3



Upcoming WSDC Events

Upcoming Obama Campaign Events 

The Board Report: Endorsement of Marriage Equality 

Nancy Grace Roman, Astronomer Extraordinaire  

Jeffrey Slavin Named 2011 Philanthropist of the Year 

WSDC Lunches with Montgomery County Council Members 

Journalist Gayle Lemmon Enthralls WSDC Members at November 14 Dinner  

Political Book Club - December  

Suggestion Box 

It's Time to Renew Your Membership 


You may click on one of the above titles to go directly to that subject, or simply scroll down the newsletter.     


Thanks to Sybil Cantor, Sheila Fyfe, Marian Kisch and Bonnie Wicklund for their contributions to the newsletter.




Mark your calendars now for these upcoming events. For more information on locations and registration, watch for future e-mails and daisy cards - or visit our website at www.mcWSDC.org.



Saturday, December 3


Annual Holiday Membership Tea: Eleanor Clift      

2 - 4 p.m. 

Courtyard Marriott, 5520 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase  

Cost: $20


"2012: A Story without a Script?"

Is the 2012 election shaping up to be the most unusual on record? Pundits are wondering if Barack Obama can be the first President to win a second term with 9 percent  unemployment rate, and whether the Republican Party will ever find the answer to "Anybody But Mitt." Renowned political journalist Eleanor Clift will attempt to answer these questions at our annual holiday membership tea. You won't want to miss her insights. It's also a great way to introduce potential members to WSDC. Bring a guest or two!


WSDC will continue our tradition of collecting monetary donations for a non-profit at this event. This year, we will contribute to Manna Food Center, which strives to eliminate hunger in Montgomery County through food distribution, education and advocacy. We urge everyone to support this effort.



Thursday, December 8  


Happy Hour    Girls

5:30-7 p.m.   

Redwood Restaurant and Bar, 

7121 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda  


Happy days are here again!  Please join us at our Democratic happy hours - always featuring lots of fun and great political conversation. Members and potential members are welcome, so bring your friends. Happy hours are held the second Thursday of each month. See you there!



Saturday, January 21

 Congressman Van Hollen

Luncheon with Congressman Chris Van Hollen
Courtyard Marriott, 5520 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase


Congressman Van Hollen will provide insight into the work of the Super Committee and what lies ahead.  


The luncheon will be preceded by a general membership meeting at which members will vote on the proposal to drop the word "suburban" from our name as recommended by the Board of Directors. 



Friday, February 10

Luncheon with Dee Dee Myers
Courtyard Marriott, 5520 Wisconsin Avenue, Chevy Chase       


Hear the former White House press secretary's perspective on the role of women and the media in today's political climate.





Obama 2012 HQ

3750 University Boulevard West, Kensington



Monday-Thursday, 12 noon to 8:30 p.m.

Friday, 12 noon to 6 p.m.  


All hands on deck! Help out in the Obama campaign headquarters. Make calls, conduct in-person and telephone interviews, enter data and help prepare for upcoming events.


Wednesday To Win Phone Banks

Wednesday evenings until 8:30 p.m.


Step Up Saturday Phone Banks

Saturdays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. (December 3, 10 and 17)


The calendar says it's still 2011, but make no mistake - the 2012 election is in full swing. Which means your expert help is needed at the Obama campaign headquarters. Join other Obama supporters in making calls to organize for victory next November, and to recruit additional volunteers.


Holiday Volunteer Appreciation Party

Saturday, December 10, 2 - 5 p.m.

Obama headquarters, 3750 University Boulevard West, Suite 303, Kensington


Nothing happens in an election campaign without the contributions of volunteers, and the holidays are a great time to take time out to say "thank you." Come enjoy delicious potluck with your fellow Democrats. If your last name begins with A-G, please bring an appetizer; H-P, a dessert, Q-Z, a drink.


Obama House Party for the Continental African Community
Saturday, December 10, 7 - 9 p.m.
11200 Lockwood Drive, # 705, Silver Spring    


Obama House Party for the Jewish Community
Sunday, December 18, 2 - 3 p.m.
10101 Grosvenor Place, 2nd floor lounge, Rockville


Meet your county's Obama organizers at the house parties and hear what's planned for 2012.  Your help is needed to re-elect President Obama and this is your chance to make a difference.  See you there.


MDP Luncheon
WSDC members and Governor Martin O'Malley at Maryland Democratic Party Luncheon honoring Senator Barbara Mikulski.





Director Chair

The Board voted to support the Marriage Equality legislation that will be re-introduced in the 2012 session of the General Assembly. The legislation will simply allow gay and lesbian couples to get a government-issued marriage license and includes important safeguards that ensure religious marriage would not be changed in any way. Clergy and religious authorities would never have to perform a marriage they did not agree with.


Governor O'Malley made the following statement when announcing that he will sponsor the legislation next year: "Marylanders of all walks of life want their children to live in a loving, stable, committed home - protected under the law. As a free and diverse people of many faiths, we choose to be governed under the law by certain fundamental principles or beliefs, among them 'equal protection of the law' for every individual and the 'free exercise of religion' without government intervention...The legislation we plan to introduce in the 2012 legislative session will protect religious freedom and equality of marital rights under the law."


Marylanders for Marriage Equality is the coalition working to bring civil marriage equality to Maryland. The coalition includes the NAACP-Baltimore Chapter, SEIU, ACLU-Maryland, Progressive Maryland, Equality Maryland, Human Rights Campaign, National Black Justice Coalition, Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Family Equality Council, Catholics for Equality, Maryland Faith for Equality, PFLAG and Maryland NOW.


During the General Assembly session we will provide guidance to those of you who would like to get involved in supporting this legislation.  



                                                                                  by Marian Kisch


Known as the "Mother of the Hubble Telescope," Nancy Grace Roman has received many awards and accolades throughout her life, but this latest one is really special. NASA, where she worked for over 20 years as chief of astronomy and relativity programs, has established the Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowship in Astrophysics to foster technologies that advance scientific investigations in the origin and physics of the universe and future exoplanet (planets outside our solar system) exploration.


Nancy's modesty is only surpassed by her scientific achievement; she serves as a model for future generations. This is only the fourth fellowship NASA has established. The other three are named for Edwin Hubble, Carl Sagan and Albert Einstein.


Ever since she was a child in Nashville, Tennessee, Nancy Grace was fascinated with what she saw in the sky. "I always wanted to be an astronomer and never grew out of it." After earning her doctorate in astronomy from the University of Chicago, she taught there for several years. When NASA was established, Nancy Grace became its first chief of astronomy. She brought together astronomers from all over the world with NASA engineers; together they designed the Hubble Space Telescope which was launched 25 years later aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Hubble revolutionized nearly all areas of astronomical research.


After retiring from NASA, Nancy Grace continued as a consultant, teacher and lecturer throughout the country. She has also received a lifetime award from Women in Aerospace and the American Astronautical Society's 2011 William Randolph Lovelace II Award.  


Nancy is a longtime member of WSDC.




The Community Foundation for Montgomery County (CFMC) recently named Jeffrey Slavin the "2011 Philanthropist of the Year." An article by Amy Reinink recently appeared in the Bethesda Magazine that provides the basis for this story.    


Jeffrey credits his parents with teaching him and his sister the Jewish principle of tzedakah, or charitable giving. But he claims it wasn't until the late 1970s when he worked in the District office of U.S. Representative Gladys Noon Spellman while on break from Tufts University that he became truly attuned to community needs. According to Slavin, "I spent a lot of my time working one-on-one with her low-income constituents...It was very rewarding, and very enlightening." Later, as a student at Georgetown University Law Center, he volunteered with Legal Counsel for the Elderly.


He moved from D.C. to Friendship Heights in the late 1980s which is when he started getting serious about philanthropy in Montgomery County. Jeffrey has since served on the boards of several Montgomery County nonprofits, and has been active in several more. While many of us know Jeffrey, currently the Mayor of Somerset, through his political activities, he acknowledges that while "I love politics...philanthropy is how you change people's lives."


Jeffrey is another longtime member of WSDC.  Congratulations, Jeffrey!


To access the full article, click here.






County Council VisitHans Riemer, elected at-large in 2010, led a group of WSDC members on a tour of Council offices in Rockville on Tuesday, November 1, and explained the workings of the Council.  "This is a great job," he said enthusiastically.


He stressed that a great deal of information is available on the County Council's website. Staff members prepare memorandums on issues coming before the Council prior to votes, and these memos, and how the Council members vote, are posted there. The public can email individual Council members about these issues, and it is even possible to send text messages to them during debates. "I read every email," he said.


After the tour, all the Council members spoke individually to the WSDC group during lunch, emphasizing their backgrounds, their work on committees, and talking about "what they are passionate about." Several commented on two of the main issues currently getting lots of attention: redistricting and "big box stores."


To learn more visit  the website at  www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council.




The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon's popular 2011 book, and how she came toLemmon Event write it, was the subject of her dynamic talk at the November evening meeting.


Lemmon said she went to Afghanistan in December 2005 as a writer for the Financial Times to try to find an "underreported story" about economic development, to answer the question "what changes societies"? She was introduced to Kamila Sidiqi, who had created a successful sewing business during the Taliban years, overcoming tremendous difficulties and dangers.


When the Taliban came to power in 1996, life changed for Afghanis overnight, especially for women and girls, who were no longer allowed to go to school, to work outside the home, or even to leave the house unless accompanied by a male relative. The Taliban's draconian rules created economic collapse: many men were killed, lost their jobs, or had to flee, fearing for their lives, as Sidiqi's father did. Desperate to find ways to earn money to put food on the table for their families, women with no male support came to work for Kamila Sidiqi at the "house with the green door" - sewing inexpensive dresses for the local market, because under the Taliban rules, male tailors were no longer allowed to make female clothing.


Lemmon spent five years going to Afghanistan, interviewing the women who worked in seclusion, always in fear of discovery by the "vice and virtue" squads - armed, fanatical Talibanis who roamed the streets looking for rule breakers - to become breadwinners for their families. Lemmon asserted that these women were not exceptional in Afghanistan.


Asked about the future of Afghan women after the United States leaves the country militarily, the author challenged the audience to take an active interest in how our country disengages, to urge our leaders to try to protect the gains women have made. She also encouraged WSDC members to think about how we consume media in our own society, recounting how an editor told her that "women's stuff doesn't get clicked." You are being "watched" online, she said; you are voting on what issues are important every time you click on an article, buy a book or watch a video.


For more information, visit the website www.gaylelemmon.com.




The December 21 selection is The Majesty of the Law by Sandra Day O'Connor, a backstage glimpse of a lifetime in the law by the Supreme Court's first female justice.  


The book club meets the third Wednesday of every other month, 10:30 a.m. at members' homes. A facilitator leads the discussion for each book. Want to join the conversation? New members are always welcome. Contact Estelle Stone at estelles@webtv.net.  

If you're interested in seeing what other books have been discussed, please go to www.mcWSDC.org and click on Political Book Club.  



 Suggestion Box

Do you have ideas for future programs? Do you know someone who would be a great speaker at a future WSDC event? Or would you just like to get more involved with the overall work of the Club? If so, please send an e-mail to  wsdc44@gmail.com or visit www.mcWSDC.org and click on "Volunteer" to complete the "It Takes a Village" volunteer form.





If you have not yet paid your $35 dues for 2011-2012, please do so as soon as possible. You may send your check, along with the form that was included in renewal package,  to Judith Heimann, 6900 Marbury Road, Bethesda, MD 20817 or go online at www.mcWSDC.org and click on "Renew Now."  We will be publishing a new directory shortly and only members whose dues have been paid will be included  




 Keeping members better informed, better connected and more politically effective since 1957   


Woman's Suburban Democratic Club
Jane Merkin
Woman's Suburban Democratic Club
Sybil Cantor
Email Coordinator