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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976
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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976 - Page 3. May 1976. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. September 25, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2571/show/2557.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(May 1976). Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976 - Page 3. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2571/show/2557

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976 - Page 3, May 1976, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed September 25, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2571/show/2557.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date May 1976
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
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Title Page 3
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File Name femin_201109_517c.jpg
Transcript Focus on Ellen Mendoza Homemaker campaigns for ERA ELLEN MENDOZA and sons By Marsha Recknagel "Life is made up of priorities," says Ellen Mendoza. "And my priorities are my husband and children." These are not the words of an ERA opponent. They are the words of the ERA Chairwoman for the League of Women Voters and one of the most articulate advocates for the ERA. Ellen Mendoza, one of Houston's most knowledgeable persons on the Equal Rights Amendment, considers motherhood a full-time career. Yet she has become a key figure in the community, launching herself into the highly emotional issue of defending the ERA during the legislature's 1975 recession effort. Mendoza wasn't always an ERA expert. In 1974, the magna cum laude graduate of the University of St. Thomas attended an ERA debate to help support a friend who was speaking. Mendoza knew nothing of the issue, but went away from the debate dismayed at the tactics of the anti-ERA speakers. She looked further into the SILKWOOD continued from page 1 Kerr-McGee was pleased with the AEC report. It charged that Silkwood was only trying to embarrass the company and strengthen the union ''S bargaining position. "Supporters of Silkwood" dismiss the AEC report as another link in a chain to coverup what was actually occurring at the Kerr-McGee plant and also as an attempt to say that Silkwood was emotionally unbalanced. A union spokesperson testifying at the hearing Monday said that the agency and commission reports took a non-investigative approach. He pointed to the report submitted by A. 0. Pipkin, an independent accident investigator from Dallas. Pipkin inspected the skid marks and he said he found a telltale dent in one of the Honda's rear fenders. He concluded that a second car had forced Silkwood's car into the culvert wall-thus implying that Silkwood was murdered. During testimony April 26 Sara Nelson NOW's Labor Task Force Coordinator, raised the contention that there appears to be collusion between the "regulators and the regulated " facts. Were all ERA supporters really anti-babies and anti-men as the ERA opponents claimed? Mendoza's own sons were ages three and six when she began reading up on the issue, studying from 9 p.m. til one or two in the morning. Her penchant for research led her to law reviews, law cases, ERA organizational material and a workshop on the ERA 'attended by pro-Era organizations. "The ERA is for individuals and individual needs," she says. "I never expected such a reactionary backlash pitting housewives against career and working women." Mendoza, who classifies herself as a "suburban, middle-class housewife," feels the ERA will make the career of housewife more respected. "The ERA will point out that women have a choice in life," she says. "If women choose homemaking as a career, it will be an active choice-not one they just drifted into because of social pressure." Time management and compensation have enabled Mendoza to combine two full- time jobs-homemaker and ERA worker-"and do both well." "Things I consider crucial-like meals, beds made, laundry, and time spent with my children - these things I still do," *she stresses. But needlepoint, recreational reading and some of the less appealing household chores were given up. Mendoza averages one speaking engagement every two weeks. The majority of her ERA work can be done at home, so it doesn't conflict with her lifestyle as mother and wife. One of her speaking appearances was on "Issues and Answers" with Dave Ward. Mendoza surprised her opponent, Wanda Schultze, a member of the One of the Congressional investigators said there had been a "lack of follow through" by the FBI and other agencies and to him, that raised the question about the ability of the government to respond to health and safety violations at nuclear facilities. Additionally, Jacke Souriji, a reporter for the Nashville Tennessean, testified she had seen over 1000 communiques between Kerr-McGee plant officials and the FBI, documents that were refused the Congressional subcommittee. "The testimony so far clearly indicates what Karen was saying regarding the health and safety hazards at the plant was correct," Nelson said to Breakthrough "Karen was an elected union leader who had every reason to be concerned" Although Rep. Dingell appears to be willing to complete his House investigation, "Supporters of Silkwood," NOW and OCAW leaders are fearful that Kerr! -McGee officials the nuclear industry lobbists, the regulatory agencies and the FBI will attempt to thwart the investigation. anti-ERA John Birch Society. "For the first time Schultze was up against a housewife, armed with facts and a way to present them," Mendoza said. After her television debut, her husband sent her a dozen red roses ~ "the perfect masculine gesture that I appreciated in a feminine way," she smiles. Mendoza stresses that, like her own ERA work, volunteer work should accomplish something. "Community work can leave you flexible when you still have young children," she says, "and it can often lead to jobs after the children begin schoool." Dedicated to actively raising her sons Christopher and David, Mendoza stresses that she will not box herself in "as so many women do." She realizes that mothers must make adjustments when their children go to school or leave home. Her way of spending her time is in meaningful volunteer work. Ellen Mendoza's volunteer work and community contributions led her to be honored last year as one of the "Outstanding Women of the Year" by the Houston branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Looking ahead, she plans to actively back the ERA until it's ratified. And when it is, she plans to "throw the biggest party for anyone who has ever spoken up for the ERA." Theatre group alive and well Its members span all walks of life and all age groups. Some are professionally trained. Some are not. Some have spent years in the public's eye and some have ventured before strangers only last year. Off stage they live very differently from one another. But on stage they have one thing in common: a commitment to expressing the women's movement through total entertainment. The name of this Houston theater group is "Stand Up Sisters", a group of "closet performers" ranging from age five on up. Talented they are, but in addition to their talent, they've brought to the stage a whole new concept in theater. Organized last year by singer Julie (J.J.) Hendrix and music director Sharon Cook, "Stand Ud Sisters" is an effort to portray the "joys of the women's movement" through music and humor. Describing the group as "Project Outreach", Hendrix says that group serves to educate the public and to entertain feminists. The group's 20 members don't rely on ready- made scripts, however. They do their own, using personal statements, readings, music and whatever material they feel like adapting. "It's a new concept in theater," Hendrix says. "We don't need dictators, which I associate with patriarchy and authoritarianism. We have a democracy, creating our own show and growing with it. We're really an extended family." Hendrix, a former professional singer, describes "Stand Up Sisters" as both democratic and communal. The group's structure allows members to vote after one year and this approach, she says, helps not only in the group's performances but also in the members relationships with one another. Problems are talked out among the group and differences are both aired and encouraged. "The women's movement is total diversity," Hendrix explained. "And we consider diversity a precious thing. We talk about our problems with each other, working on the theory that I count-you count." The result of this off-stage honesty is an on-stage closeness. As Hendrix says, "It's obvious we love each other." Apparently audiences love them too. Although members of "Stand Up Sisters" are generally too busy preparing the show to advertise it, word-of-mouth has been a promotional asset. "We're a little self- conscious about doing our own PR," Hendrix said, "but when people see us, they know how good we are. We haven't played anywhere we weren't asked to return." In fact, the audience itself plays a role in the group's performances. According to Sharon Cook, "Stand Up Sisters" holds a dialogue with the audience at the end of every show. "This dialogue is very important," Cook said. "It's important for us to get feedback from them-not just have them take from us." The dialogue is especially important because of the controversy of feminism itself, Cook said. By using satire and humor, "Stand Up Sisters" is able to deliver the message of feminism more effectively than, say, angrier performers. As one man in the audience once said after a performance, "I didn't agree with everything you said, but I liked the way you said it." "Stand Up Sisters" figure the agreement will come eventually. The important thing, they feel, is being heard. "Teaching is one of our functions," Cook said. "We're acceptable" to middle America, having made our message musically and humorously palatable." Palatable it is. The group has played for churches and conventions as well as for women's groups, and they hope to spread out even further. No doubt they will. And so will their message. They may be playing to an audience in which sits the most rabid and unreasonable opponents of everything feminism stands for. But even these people are vulnerable to humor. RHONDA BOONE