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Welcome to the Dearborn, MI Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW)!

AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. Founded in 1881, AAUW is open to graduates with an associate or higher degree from an accredited college or university, as well as students currently enrolled in college.  Dues support the operations of the Dearborn-Michigan branch, founded in 1933, as well as the state and national organizations.

“The Big Read” launches on October 8, 2015!


Come to Henry Ford Centennial Library on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015, for the launch of The Big Read — Dearborn, a community-wide initiative that will focus upon 19th century poet and writer of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe. This new initiative launches at 6:00 p.m. The Oct. 8 launch will include free activities for children and adults, inspired largely by the poem “The Raven,” Poe’s most famous work.

Craft-making for all ages as well as a screening of the 1963 film, The Raven, starring Vincent Price, will be featured. The activities planned for the October 8 launch are designed to help people answer the question, “Do You Know Poe?”, a tag line for the promotion of The Big Read.

Dearborn encourages people of all ages to read for pleasure and enlightenment. Engagement in interesting activities related to reading Poe is designed to increase interest and delight in reading.  The Great Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe  will serve as the centerpiece of the 2015-16 program.  Poe is also well known for “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” “The Black Cat,” and the poem, “Annabel Lee.” Although considered the inventor of detective fiction, Poe also wrote early versions of science fiction stories. His writing has inspired many films.

During the Oct. 8 launch event, light refreshments will be served in the Rotunda area of the library, and the evening will include brief remarks from Mayor John B. O’Reilly, Jr., Library Director Maryanne Bartles, and a representative from DFCU Financial, which is a major sponsor (Raven Level) of The Big Read — Dearborn.

Lots of fun and intriguing events centered on Poe are planned for February and March of  2016.

The Dearborn Public Schools and many Dearborn institutions, businesses, and organizations support The Big Read. AAUW-Dearborn is a proud community partner.  Other community partners include the Dearborn Public Library, Dearborn Community Fund, Artists’ Society of Dearborn, Dearborn Education Foundation, Dearborn Public Schools, The Henry Ford, University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Mardigian Library, Arab-American National Museum, Dearborn Heights Libraries, Dearborn Inn, Dearborn Library Commission, Dearborn Symphony Orchestra, Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter, Friends of the Library-Dearborn, Henry Ford Academy, Muslim American Youth Academy, Oakwood Medical Library, and Dearborn Historical Museum.

Visit <bigreaddearborn.org> or <dearbornlibrary.org> for updates.

This is the second Big Read experience for Dearborn. In 2014, the focus was on author Jack London and his, The Call of the Wild.

The Big Read is managed by Arts Midwest, and is a One Book, One Community program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

New Perspectives


Typically, college grads earn a million dollars more over their careers than high-school graduates.

The U.S. Department of Education has created a new website called “College Scorecard” which provides annual average costs of individual colleges, their graduation rates and salaries earned by their students after graduation.

Although attending college provides rewards beyond earning a salary, this website reveals how much money students borrow in exchange for their earnings after graduating.

In addition, “There is an earning gender gap at every top university. The size of the difference varies a great deal. At Duke, for example women earned $93,100 per year on average, compared with $123,000 for men, a difference of $29,900. At Princeton, men earned more and women earned less, for a difference of $47,700. Women who enrolled at Cornell earned more than women who enrolled at Yale,” states Kevin Carey who directs the education policy program at New America.

The website also explores financial aid for low-income students and the likelihood of their debt burden falling into default. For instance, at Wayne State University, over 40% of students had failed to pay back ANY of their student loans five years after graduation.

poses in the press room at the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

Kudos to Viola Davis

When Viola Davis won an Emmy last night for ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder,” she became the first African-American to win a best drama actress Emmy. Then she gave an acceptance speech that reminded all of us to cherish and honor opportunity for all in America.
“‘In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me, over that line. But I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.’
“That was Harriet Tubman in the 1800s. And let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.
“You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here’s to all the writers, the awesome…people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black.
“…Thank you for taking us over that line. Thank you to the Television Academy.”

Collette Cullen to Highlight Our Book Sale

154110_433204943419680_2033298350_n1Branch member, Karen Monroe has shared this:
Collette Cullen, AAUW-Dearborn member, Dearborn resident, and long-time educator is scheduled for a Meet and Greet to introduce her book, Annie Finds Her Magic: Helen Keller’s teacher tells her story.

Cullen has polished her depiction of Annie Sullivan through her own experiences as a special-needs educator, years of research, and from her dramatic monologue, “Annie Speaks.” In her newly released book, she tells the story of how Annie Sullivan unlocked the dark-silent world of Helen Keller.

Due to Sullivan’s perseverance and ingenuity, Helen learned to communicate with sign language and read and write in braille. Eventually she even conquered speaking. The bond between them opened the door to Keller’s lifelong learning and advocacy for the disabled.

Although the book is written for the young-adult market, its timeless message makes it appeal to a broad spectrum of readers. Collette Cullen, in the persona of Annie Sullivan, is scheduled for the Meet and Greet on September 17 from noon to 5:00 p.m. and on September 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Cullen’s book couldn’t be more in tune with the focus of AAUW-Dearborn’s biggest fundraiser.

Eighty percent of the money from the used-book sale provides scholarships for students at UM-Dearborn and Henry Ford College. Funds are also distributed to programs that support students and advance women’s issues. One portion of net proceeds is donated to the national AAUW organization to support its mission of education, advocacy, philanthropy and research. Ultimately, this local effort reaches locally, nationally and globally by providing avenues to gender equity.

Whether an individual is a book collector, an avid reader, or a casual browser, AAUW-Dearborn’s Annual Used-Book Sale is bound to have something of interest. The yearlong effort collecting and sorting books for the sale comes to fruition September 17, 18, 19, and 20 upstairs at the Dearborn Ice Skating Center. On September 17 from 10:00 a.m to noon there is an early preview available for $15 for those who want first dibs. The remainder of the sale has free entree and runs from noon – 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, from 10:00 a.m. — 7:00 p.m. on Friday, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.  Over 20,000 books have been sorted into 50 categories to assist those with specific areas of interest. Mysteries are alphabetized by author. Other categories include fiction, science, cook books, crafts, poetry, philosophy, spirituality, foreign language and travel. Other forms of media are also available including vinyl records (78s, LPs, and 45s), DVDs, and CDs. Bag days are scheduled for Saturday ($8 a bag) and Sunday ($2 a bag).

In addition, a special room holds Children and Young Adult books as well as board games. These books are sorted by reading level. The Premier Room offers special books: collectibles, antiquarian, photography and coffee table books, books about Henry Ford and more expensive children’s books. There are several Paper Art Books available for purchase including Harry Potter: A Pop Up Book based on the film phenomenon. Another book, Mythology: The God’s, Heroes, and Monsters of Ancient Greece, is a beautiful descriptive pictorial that offers fold outs to highlight additional information and detail. A section will be devoted to Henry Ford. A signed copy of The Ford Road: 75th Anniversary, Ford Motor Company 1903-1978 by Lorin Sorensen is available. Other interesting finds are books from the Folio Society that are printed in England and slip boxed for preservation, an Easton Press leather bound book of Huck Finn and a collection of books from Lakeside Press from the 1980s and 90s.

The branch holds a membership drive at the sale. This year’s theme is “Commitment and Camaraderie. ” Membership v.p. Rosa Scaramucci will be present to explain branch activities and goals. A special membership rate of $49 is available at this event. Further information will be provided about an Open House planned for October 27 for prospective members to learn about study and interest groups that meet for enrichment and conversation.

AAUW-Dearborn welcomes the community to “join us for this important fundraising event.” Judy Monroe, Book-Sale Chair declares, “If you are a part of the 64th Annual Used Book Sale, you are a part of the effort toward equality, lifelong learning and societal change. Whether you support the event by donating a book, browsing, or learning about AAUW, you are helping. Stop in and find something of interest. We look forward to seeing you at the sale!”

More information is available at < https://www.facebook.com/pages/AAUW-Dearborn-MI-Branch/161808680687461> or at <http://dearborn-mi.aauw.net/book-sale/> .

Can’t Afford to Miss It


The people who come to the AAUW-Dearborn Used-Book Sale are worth meeting because they are thinkers. They are often passionate about their interests in reading. They are often unusually intelligent. They are often on a personal mission. They realize there is magic to be found in books. They realize reading is beneficial in many ways. Although singular in aspect, many of these seekers fall into categories. They may well be educators, hobbyists, historians, travelers, crafters, spiritualists, romantics, poets, or detective wannabees. They share the ability to be carried away by the magical transport of words. Some arrive with lists, some arrive with children, some arrive with friends, some arrive with an obsessive- compulsive need to read. All leave having discovered great finds and incredible bargains! Most significantly perhaps is that when a customer exits this extraordinary-annual, used-book sale, that customer has gained benefits beyond saving money.

Consider that when you read, YOU:

Reduce your stress as you increase your tranquility. Research suggests reading is a great way to relax. Just six minutes worth can reduce levels of stress by two-thirds! Reading silently slows the heart rate and releases tension from muscles. It beats the effects of music, walking, or chocolate! “Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation. By losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author’s imagination. This is … an active engaging of the imagination as the words on the printed page stimulate your creativity and cause you to enter what is essentially an altered state of consciousness.” — David Lewis, cognitive neuropsychologist

Answer the big questions life has to offer. Who am I? Why am I here? What constitutes the good life? Is destiny predetermined? What is just? Books allow you to become part of the unending conversation from Greeks to Romans and ever onward. “To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations — such is a pleasure beyond compare.” ~ Kenko Yoshida

Learn from the past. Universal human experiences are nothing new. Human nature with its favors and flaws will always be with us. Problems persist, but those who are grounded in history at least can place them into wise perspectives after having explored what it is to be truly human. “Books are humanity in print.” – Barbara W. Tuchman

Explore possibilities. Books from many specialized fields are available at the sale: automobiles, biography, computer science, crafts, diet and health, history, and religion. Books invite you to expand your understanding of the world and how it works. “Books are the compasses and telescopes and sextants and charts which other men have prepared to help us navigate the dangerous seas of human life.” ~Jesse Lee Bennett

Shake off complacency. Reach beyond your comfort zone. When you tackle a tough read, your comprehension level is certain to increase. As you become a more competent reader, you’ll be a more confident one as well. “Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled “This could change your life.” ~Helen Exley

Share with the best minds ever. Challenge yourself to read a classic work of literature. Parents forever chide children to pick their friends carefully. Picking a book carefully can pay off in similar measure.“When you reread a classic you do not see more in the book than you did before; you see more in you than was there before.” ~Clifton Fadiman

Fight back against those who would deny you the right to read. Books worth reading often force us to question assumptions and conventions. “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” ~Joseph Brodsky

Commune directly with great minds who wrote in order to clarify and share their ideas, passions and insights. “Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.” ~James Russell Lowell

Disappear into your own world. Taking time to meditate upon your own views and perceptions is well worth doing. “A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.” ~Edward P. Morgan

Become excited by ideas while remaining calm and centered. Discovering passion is another reason to find happiness in reading. “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books… which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal. It wasn’t even that the book was so good or anything; it was just that the author… seemed to understand me in weird and impossible ways.” ~John Green

Books may well be the most glorious pastime humans have ever devised; and the AAUW-Dearborn book sale is the most glorious, local sale ever devised! Hope to see you and your brain, along with all those other neat brains and inquiring minds, at the AAUW-Dearborn Branch’s 64th Annual Used-Book Sale.

September 17, 18, 19, and 20, 2015, upstairs at the Dearborn Ice Skating Center (DISC) located at 14900 Ford Road just east of Greenfield Road.

  • Thursday, September 17 from noon to 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday, September 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 19 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. BAG DAY!  Only $8 per bag!!
  • Sunday, September 20 from 1:00 p.m to 4:00 p.m. LITERACY DAY!  Only $2 per bag!!


MER_432x260The World Bank studied 173 countries’s domestic laws that impede women’s work, prevent business start-ups by women, and block participation of women in civic affairs.
Amazingly, 155 of the 173 countries have laws that discriminate against women!
The Middle East has the most restrictive ones. There, many nations do not allow a woman to open a business or apply for a passport without first obtaining the permission of her husband.
France does not permit women to be employed where they may have to lift 50 pounds, the weight of an average 5-year-old!
Russia blocks women from many occupations, often based upon setting.
The United States of America has no federal law requiring paid parental leave.
The wage gap between men and women is likely to be lower in countries where there are no restrictions placed upon women’s job preferences.
Imagine how preventing employment and entrepreneurship by women stifles economic growth!
The one optimistic note is that 127 nations now have legislation against domestic violence. A quarter of a century ago, it was a commonly ignored problem.
It is expected that world leaders will pledge to achieve gender equality by 2030. Don’t hold your breath!

Happy Labor Day!

105479907_10-1Today many of us take for granted a forty-hour work week, benefits such as health, dental and optical insurance. We also expect our work places to provide common safety measures. In addition, many employees have access to an orderly complaint process. However, complacency and malaise have taken hold as well.

As the nation shifted from an agrarian economy to a manufacturing economy in the nineteenth century, the notions of work and labor shifted dramatically. Increasing numbers of women began to work outside the home. By 1840, one-in-ten women had left the home to work. The following decade grew that number to fifteen percent.

Factory owners began to hire women whenever possible. The reason? They could pay lower wages to women and children. Men were more expensive employees.

In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, two-fifths of city workers were low-wage laborers and seamstresses. As clothing factories rose, more and more children and women ran the machines. The jobs became known as “women’s work.” Mass production relied on a steep hierarchy between boss and worker; it paralleled the idea of the husband as boss of his family. Wages were dismal; working conditions were miserable.

Labor unions began to grow in strength. They forced improvements in wages and working conditions, and they changed the political landscape.


Today we celebrate Labor Day to honor the labor movement that fought to correct enormous inequities in the manufacturing world. The federal holiday became official in 1894, at the height of the Industrial Revolution.

Today as manufacturing has diminished in the United States of America andthe service sector has grown, again we see the country in difficult economic times for workers and a shifting political arena.

Organized labor has diminished significantly due to declines in manufacturing and changes in the workplace. Low-wage, foreign manufacturing challenges the American way of life as companies use more temporary and part-time employees. The notion of cultivating corporate loyalty based upon long-term employment has largely evaporated. Pay and benefits have spiraled downward in many sectors of the economy. Millennials tend to dismiss unionism as anachronistic. Unions no longer swing the political clout they did for the decades following World War II. Clearly, for the labor movement in America, “the times they are a-changing.”

Women’s Right to Vote Won 95 Years Ago


Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet States continue to impede voting rights.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet elected women equal less than 20% of Congress.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet gender bias is rampant in STEM fields.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet women continue to face sexist labels daily.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet one-in-five women are targets of sexual assault.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet States continue to introduce bills restricting reproductive health care.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet 22 million lack paid sick leave and are forced to choose between families and jobs.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet women are still paid less than men.
Today claims to be Women’s Equality Day; yet female athletes receive far less remuneration than male athletes.

Ways to celebrate?
Encourage women to run for elected office.
Educate others about Title IX.
Register to vote; then VOTE in each and every election!



Dr. Nancy Nelson will teach a memoir workshop in Dearborn this fall, beginning Tuesday, October 6, 2015, and ending November 10, 2015. Sessions are from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

The workshop is aimed at beginning writers or those who have done some creative nonfiction but wish to further their progress in crafting personal narrative.

Nancy Owen Nelson has published poetry and creative nonfiction as well as articles in several academic journals and anthologies. In addition, she has edited academic books. She earned her B.A. in French and English at Birmingham-Southern College and her M.A. and PhD in English at Auburn University.

She has taught composition and literature at a number of universities and currently teaches at Henry Ford College. Also, she has served as Assistant Director of the Hassayampa Institute for Creative Writing at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona.

She recently published her memoir Searching for Nannie B: Connecting Three Generations of Southern Women. Contact Nelson at <nelnan@aol.com> or 928-308-3785 or visit  <www.nancyowennelson.com>  for further details.