In the Beginning . . .

Inez Casiano, our namesake

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has hundreds of thousands of contributing members and more than 500 local and campus affiliates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since its founding in 1966, NOW’s goal has been “to take action” to bring about equality for all women. Both the actions NOW takes and its position on the issues are principled, uncompromising and often ahead of their time. NOW is a leader, not a follower, of public opinion.

Our Chapter Namesake: Inez Casiano 1926-2011

By Zeitel Gray

Despite her passing in 2011, Inez Casiano is still very much a part of the Central Phoenix • Inez Casiano NOW Chapter. Not only in the obvious way she is reflected in our name, but her dedication and passion for civil rights is carried on by her surviving husband and daughter. With a breath of new life and energy drawn into the Central Phoenix Chapter, we would like to take a moment to highlight our beginnings and thank a woman who paved the way for so many of us.

Inez Casiano was a member of the first National Board of NOW, elected in October 1966. Her passion for Human Rights led her to forgo her career in Market Research and dedicate herself to the empowerment of marginalized communities in the U.S. Most of her career was spent in the Department of Labor. From her position here, her career and volunteer activities centered on improving opportunities for women and minorities, and recognizing that stereotyping diminishes everyone regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity.

In the late 1980s, she worked in the Arizona Government, first serving the Department of Economic Security and ending her career with the Governor’s Office of Women’s Services, where she developed and produced “Arizona Women’s Guide,” a first in any state at the time.

Casiano lived in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband, daughter, and grandchildren, where she continued to be an active member in the local Phoenix NOW chapter until her passing in 2011. She loved to travel and experience the world, immersing herself in others’ perspectives. We as a chapter embrace and continue the efforts for civil rights in her name and all the other passionate feminists and human rights activists that came before us. In the name of Inez Casiano, NOW is the time to take action and join us in the fight for equality and freedom.