From the President

June 24, 2021: Reopening with Resolve

Posted on December 11, 2023 at 12:00 AM

Dear Club members and friends,

I take up the role of President at a specific moment of opportunity for the Woman’s National Democratic Club: a moment when those of us privileged to live in an economically vibrant city and benefit from superpower-driven access to vaccines, can take off our masks, check our privilege, roll up our sleeves, and get to work.
As we move into the heat of summer and a new fiscal year, I am keeping in mind four streams of focus:

1. Reopening the WNDC as an awesome 21st century institution. Following COVID-19 shutdowns, the Club is economically extant thanks to bold advocacy by leadership to participate in funding programs, a creative and resilient staff, and a generous and patient membership base. Like any entity that has come through a tough time, we are depleted in some dull but essential ways—so I’ve got an unglamorous list of infrastructure maintenance (think: upgrading IT systems and Wi-Fi, servicing AC units, etc.) to shore up basic operations.

2. Re-engaging with our members (current and future!) and our community. We are all feeling a push to re- start our activities. As much as Zoom represented a lifeline for our programs, committees, and GOTV activism, we sorely miss the real connective tissue of regular face-to-face interactions. Progress is underway on this front, too: plans are afoot for “hybrid” events that can connect in-person speaker programs and meetings with remote participants, the Young Dem population is buzzing, and the clubhouse is seeing bookings tick up.

3. Innovating wisely and creatively. Beyond the restoration of amenities, where do we go next? What new ground can WNDC break as a social club, a networking hub, a space for working professionals, a voice in DC and national political discourse? There’s no reason not to dream big and pursue exciting ventures. I welcome your ideas!

4. Being the strongest ally possible in the challenges of our times. While we stayed physically in place in 2020, many expanded our consciousness to confront our roles in perpetuating systemic racism, and as a Board we must put the Club’s decisions and priorities in the context of a journey toward justice. I foresee discussions about partnerships, scholarships, accessibility, language, programming, and more. We can call for an honest examination of WNDC’s historical missteps so that we may enter our second century clear-eyed about our direction. Everyone’s participation in this work is invited and needed.

Let us re-knit the ties: no matter how awkward we all became during our long social hibernation, you are encouraged to step back into the Club for a weekday lunch, a summer brunch, a challenging committee discussion, a stimulating program, a stroll through the exhibits, or a productive afternoon working in one of Whittemore House’s upstairs spaces. The mission ahead will call for strength. Come for the regeneration and help inspire WNDC to reopen in the best way for you!

With warmest regards,

Laura Whitaker
President, Woman’s National Democratic Club

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