About Toni

A Pledge to our Partners of Color To our sisters and brothers of the Black and Brown community please know of my commitment as a white woman, as a human being, to do everything in my power to define, recognize and call out privilege. Until we change the faces of the majority of people in the pictures of our mostly all white, all male lawmakers, we, none of us, will derive and benefit from the fruits of equality. We must continue the struggle to elect women and men of minorities to places of power. I believe we are winning. In the tide of time we have never advanced this far ever before. As each win adds another brick of reality to the mosaic of our vision of creating an enduring positive world of equality of opportunity, peace and security for all of us the inevitable next wave of overt backlash is crashing on our shores with destructive force. The killing and the fear of being killed by those who hold the power must end. It is up to us to call out, to witness, to use the tools available to us to end this horrific reality of the Black community. We have linked arms and stand strong and together, more and more of us, not allowing the storm to overtake our progress. We push back against the surge and forward one step at a time. We, the members of the National Organization for Women, hold each other’s hand, wrap our arms around each other’s shoulders, sharing in the grief and tears and vowing to stay strong and together in the struggle; understanding that although we may experience the oppression in different ways it is of one cloth, one piece that smothers us all. Those who would deny and limit the rights each of our communities; people of color, women, LGBTQIA people and unions have always tried to divide and conquer us. We must and will unite. We will succeed, because we persevere, because we demonstrate courage, because we love each other. In sisterhood and peace, Toni Van Pelt your ally and friend Spring, 2017
White Privilege November, 2014 by Toni Van Pelt It is with a heavy heart I read of the Ferguson grand jury’s decision today. I did not expect a different outcome when I learned of the makeup and racial divide of the jury. Racism lives within all Americans. We must learn to live together and see each other as human beings, not as others. As racism was called out and desegregation of the schools by busing and other steps were taken to remedy discrimination, some overt racism ended. With the ascendancy of the tea party and those they have worked to elect and put in power racism has, once again, become more openly expressed and demonstrated. From the unveiled attempts to destroy the public school system (please view Frontline’s piece “Separate and Unequal” July 15, 2014), the school to prison pipeline for black children, voter suppression, the incarceration for drug charges, the stop, risk, arrest and murder of members of the black community by the law enforcement community, to the denial of the restoration of voting rights and citizenship rights for felons who have served their time, the list of racist practices and tactics goes on in today’s America. Last night I spoke at USF Women’s Empowerment Club and shared the privilege exercise I discovered online recently.  I recommend you find one on-line and do the exercise yourself and share it with a group. All we can do is to keep on, keeping on until we become truly all Americans, as President Obama calls us to be.
Intersectional Feminism For Challenging Times Home About Toni Toni's Actions About Gilda Toni & Gilda's Vision Hotel & Supporter Info News Gallery Media Contact VOTE FOR   #ToniGildaNOWStrong    #AllFeministsUnitedNow   NOW President   Vice President  TONI&GILDA NOW STRONG
"The National Organization for Women needs leadership like Toni's" ~ Donna Slutiak, Former Florida NOW President
Like most of us Toni came to NOW for a reason. She had an illegal abortion in 1968. Assisting another woman, she later was arrested and jailed on a felony charge for aiding and abetting an illegal abortion.  After the Supreme Court Webster decision, Toni was fired up when Florida Governor Bob Martinez decided to be the first to place limits on abortion. She joined NOW.  She's been a member and fired up ever since! Her leadership includes continuous chapter and state office holder and national board Southeast Regional Director. She serves on the National Combatting Racism Committee, since 2010, and is State and Chapter Action Chairwoman. As a NOW leader Toni has: Joined chapter leaders in Pensacola in 1994 after abortion provider Dr. Britton and escort Jim Barrett were murdered she was instrumental in establishing the first buffer zones around women’s clinics. Worked with Equality Florida for the rights of the LGBTQIA community was foundational to her activism. "I am honored to be an active and outspoken ally."  Co-founded Floridians Representing Equality and Equity (FREE), a state-wide coalition to fight Governor Jeb Bush's efforts to end affirmative action. Initiated a Florida NOW mentoring program, resulting in the development of three high school chapters.         Flew to DC to meet with a top advisor to President Clinton to give advice on the political climate in Florida as he was gearing up for his re-election campaign.      As a long-time business-owner, non-profit founder, and board member, she knows what it takes to lead a well-run, multi-million dollar organization. Toni has been a registered Congressional lobbyist since 2006, advocacy she continues today. A passionate, feminist activist and successful coalition builder she is committed to women's self-determination and ending racism. Toni has a long record of working in coalition with major national progressive organizations and individuals.  The personal and professional relationships she developed continue today. Toni is determined, persistent, tough; she is the storm of Resistance. She will be an unwavering leader pushing back hard against the far-right's anti-equality initiatives and spearheading the drive to finally add the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. She is #NOWStrong Vote for TONI & GILDA*Vote por TONI a GILDA