Who is EMILY? The folks at Emily's List are asked that question all the time.
EMILY is not a famous feminist, elected official, or the nickname of it's founder. EMILY is an acronym for "Early Money Is Like Yeast" (it helps raise the dough).
The people who founded Emily's List knew that early money made women credible candidates and gave them the best shot at winning. That is still the organization's goal: to help elect pro-choice Democratic women.
But, a few of years ago, a candidate delivered a speech about what EMILY meant to her — and to women all across the country.
That candidate was Jennifer Granholm, who is now the governor of the state of Michigan and one of the rising stars in American politics. This is what she had to say:
Here is the transcript from a few excerpts of then-Michigan Attorney General Jennifer Granholm's speech at the EMILY's List Majority Council Conference in June 2002.
"EMILY is every woman who has ever sat at a business meeting while someone else took credit for her good work.
EMILY is every young professional who's been told to wait her turn and every seasoned one who's been told she still has to pay her dues.
EMILY is every working mom who's managed to balance a checkbook, who's managed a clean house, a corporate budget and a 12-year-old's basketball tournament in one day.
EMILY is every stay-at-home mom who has ever been asked, 'No, I mean, what do you do? What do you really do?'
She is every woman who's ever had to defend her right to be pro-choice. She's every woman who's ever had to explain her choice not to have a child.
She's every woman who has ever demanded a raise because she's been doing the same work as the man in the next cubicle for the same number of years, and she's still not getting the same pay. She's every woman who has ever wondered why the company won't cover her contraceptives, but will cover that same guy's Viagra.
EMILY is every working mom who has ever fought for quality day care or family leave time. She is every woman who has given up a single day of vacation to care for a sick child or a sick parent.
EMILY is every girl in every classroom whose hand was still in the air after the boys got their questions answered.
She's every athlete who's ever been told, she 'throws like a girl.'
She's every candidate who's ever been asked how she can run for office and have a family at the same time.
She is every African American woman who has had to work three times as hard to be considered as good as her white male colleague.
She is every Jewish woman who has ever been called a princess.
She is every Hispanic woman who has been asked how long her family has been in this country.
She is every woman who has been called too soft or too strong or too aggressive or too nice or too ambitious to get the job done.
She is every woman who has ever been measured against a glossy picture in a magazine.
EMILY is the seamstress who has sewn the graduation gowns for years but has never worn one. EMILY is every woman who helped set up this room today and who will clean up after we leave … and that same woman who only wants her daughters to dream big dreams, because EMILY knows that young girls cannot be what they cannot see.
She is you. She may be your next governor … she may be your next vice-president ... she may be your next president.
And EMILY doesn't get mad — she gets elected!"
Emily's List is a dynamic, important organization.
Their primary function has been the same since it's founding in 1985. In 24 years they have been instrumental in electing Democratic Pro-Choice women to offices at every level in the country except the Executive Branch and it won't be long till they reach that goal, as well.
And it's time, now, to begin our donations to this worthy cause to be sure we hang onto both houses in 2010. Please go here to check it out.