Skidaway Abigails  l  April 2023

Abby says...

To help celebrate the tenth anniversary of Skidaway Abigails, we’re offering monthly quotes and fun facts from the original Abigail. 

To be good and  do good, is the whole duty of man comprised in a few words.” 

Abigail Adams ardently believed in the abolition of slavery, which she considered an evil that tarnished the American democratic model, and in equal public education for women..

Submitted by Patty Koch

President's Message

A few days before the March 8 celebration of International Women’s Day, I attended a concert featuring the all-female members of the Spectra Choir. They are a diverse group of vocal artists who only perform songs composed and arranged by women. I was particularly struck by their rousing rendition of the song, “What Happens When a Woman Takes the Power.” It was an uplifting reminder of the achievements that women have earned in education, the workplace, the arts, and in elective offices. Yet huge challenges remain. Women earn just 82 cents for every dollar that men make. And the right to control our bodies and to access contraceptive and abortion care is being steadily eroded, particularly in the Southern states. Worse still, a nationwide ban on abortion in all fifty states could soon be the law of the land. The compelling, on-the-ground testimonials given by the panel of staff members from Planned Parenthood Southeast (PPSE) for our March 9 program should alert us all to the need for vigilance and action. See the link below if you wish to donate to PPSE.

Remember to sign up for the April program offered by Sue Adler, the President and CEO of the Historic Savannah Foundation since 2020. She brings impressive leadership skills and energy to her position. Adler established the Savannah Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and served as executive director of the Savannah Chapter of the March of Dimes.

The 10th anniversary committee has been hard at work on the planning for our celebration on April 26. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to come together to reminisce and to celebrate the organization that we have built over the past decade. Plus, there will be excellent food and entertainment!

Sending you all my best wishes,


President, Skidaway Abigails

The direct link to Planned Parenthood Southeast is:

Upcoming Events

Historic Savannah Foundation 

April 13, 2023

Messiah Lutheran Church

1 Westridge Road

Co-ordinated by Carolyn DeFrancesco and Shanti Stone

 Susan Adler, MA, CEO and President

For over 60 years Historic Savannah Foundation has worked tirelessly to preserve and save the unique and fragile historic environment of Savannah.  HSF is the oldest and principal organization dedicated to historic preservation in the city.  Susan Adler, MA, the CEO and President of the Historic Savannah Foundation, will speak to the group about the history of the HSF, their mission, what they do and how they do it, and where HSF is today.

Susan is an experienced nonprofit professional who specializes in community engagement, communications, and fundraising.  She has many professional accomplishments in the local community including establishing Savannah’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and fighting for Savannah’s tiniest citizens as Executive Director of the Savannah Chapter of the March of Dimes.  She also directed community outreach events for Savannah’s Memorial Hospital, launching unique programs for the community.

She has served on several community boards including The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism, Horizons Savannah, and the Savannah chapter of Hadassah.  Currently she serves on the Visit Savannah board and is a member of the Downtown Rotary and the Chatham Commerce Club.  Sue holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Goucher College and a Master of Arts in elementary education and teaching from the University of South Carolina – Beaufort.

Program Re-Cap

Facing the Post-Roe Reality in the Southeast

March 9, 2023

Co-ordinated by Sheila Grossman

Planned Parenthood Southeast

On March 9th the Skidaway Abigails presented a program featuring a panel of staff and Board members from Planned Parenthood Southeast to a full house in the Azalea Room at the Palmetto Clubhouse.  The speakers were introduced by Board of Directors member Julie Wade, currently the Executive Director of Tharros Place.  Cecilia Tran Arango, a special guest from Planned Parenthood Southeast's Hell Hath No Fury storytelling event, spoke about facing an unexpected pregnancy while she was in college, the support she received from her mother and how that experience informed her own decision-making as a parent.  Vivienne Kerley-de la Cruz, the Georgia State and Campaigns Director, updated the group about the most recent legal cases affecting reproductive choice, including bans after six weeks of pregnancy and federal cases pending, as well as encouraging the group to have discussions within the community.  Aubria Hall, Patient Navigator, spoke passionately about her difficult job finding care for women seeking abortions in the restrictive environment of the Southeast, and raising funds when necessary.  She emphasized that loss of access is loss of choice.  Jessica Swanson, Community Health Educator, spoke about the role Planned Parenthood plays in providing crucial sex education in high schools and middle schools, training teens to be peer advocates and community workshops for children and parents on health issues such as menstruation and puberty.  She encouraged the group to sign up for newsletters and look for volunteer opportunities.  The speakers were uniformly impressive and engaging, providing a truly energizing program.

Anyone wishing to support Planned Parenthood Southeast may do so at:

Volunteers may visit:

Help Us Celebrate Abigails 10th Anniversary

Register for 10th Anniversary Celebration

Member Spotlight

Leslie Shields 

Leslie Shields grew up in Port Washington on Long Island, N.Y.  She studied at Michigan State University during the turbulent times of the late sixties/early seventies and met her husband, Rick, while participating in anti-war and anti-racism activities and organizations.  She graduated with a BA in English (focusing on creative writing) and moved to Detroit where she attended law school at Wayne State University while Rick attended medical school.  After achieving her J.D. degree, Leslie practiced law at the State Appellate Defender Office, handling appeals for indigent clients, and later at the Juvenile Defender Office, representing children in both delinquency and abuse/neglect cases.

In 1984, after the birth of a daughter and a son, Leslie and Rick relocated to Savannah and Leslie decided to focus on raising the children while turning her energies to volunteer work on several non-profit Boards.  Leslie’s passions are music and tennis, and she has worked actively for 35 years with the Savannah Area Tennis Association (SATA) and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Georgia.  During this time, she has held many positions in both organizations, serving on committees and on the governing Boards.  Leslie’s work with SATA included guiding the organization to status as a 501c3 non-profit and helping to build strong community outreach work aimed at bringing healthful recreation to underserved populations and neighborhoods.  This work culminated in 2013 when SATA won the USTA National Award for Community Tennis Association of the Year.  In 2019 Leslie was awarded the Ruth Ryner Lay Award from USTA Georgia for “Lifetime Achievement”.  

Leslie and Rick have lived at The Landings for ten years and love the outdoor activities offered.  Leslie has been able to revive her interest in music and is in a local duet group called the “Music Makers”.  In addition, she sang with the Savannah Philharmonic Chorus for over ten years.  When Leslie heard about the Abigails through a friend she immediately began to attend meetings and events and, in particular, engaged in the Tuesday afternoon “video chats”.  “They were really a lifeline for me during Covid.  I had health issues at the time and found supportive, like-minded people who made me feel so much less isolated and more able to focus outward once again.”

Thank you, Leslie, for your participation in Abigails, and your tireless work for the Savannah community.



On March 1, we welcomed 9 new members to our third New Members’ gathering, hosted at the home of Sheila Grossman, our Board’s IT Co-Chair. These cocktail events are designed to get everyone acquainted and learn about the wide variety of Education, Social, and Advocacy activities available to get involved in.  There was rich sharing of interests and great excitement about becoming part of the Abigails community. 

Join the 80 Abigails members who have purchased one of our new logoed metal name badges.  The name badges are $10.00 each (including tax and shipping) and you can get more details and order online by clicking HERE.  

If you know other progressive, liberal women who might be interested in joining Abigails, please refer them to our website for information or have them contact us directly to learn more.  We welcome anyone from the Savannah area with like-minded interests.  You can also introduce your friends to Abigails by bringing them as a guest to one of our monthly events for only $10. 

Elizabeth Cowell and Sue Stephenson, Membership Co-Chairs


Abigails Advocacy

Submitted by Sue Stephenson

Over the past three months, our Abigails Advocacy Committee has been investing time in support of Housing Savannah.  This 501(c)3 non-profit organization was incorporated in 2022 as an outcome of Mayor Van Johnson’s Housing Savannah Task Force, with the goal of building community partnerships to help make housing available, accessible and affordable for all Savannah residents.  Through a series of meetings with Executive Director, Laura Lane McKinnon, the Abigails Advocacy Committee is helping her to develop Housing Savannah’s Mission and Vision statements, key talking points and logo.  Laura Lane has described this long-term collaboration with the Abigails as “invaluable and inspirational”.  We look forward to providing more updates on the progress of this critical initiative.

Abigails Video Chat

February 28

March 14 & 28

3 PM  Zoom Meetings

Coordinated by Sheila Grossman

Now that people are out and about more frequently, we are scheduling our Abigails Video Chats on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. We hope you'll consider this easy and fun way to check in with other women and take an hour to talk about everything that's going on in our crazy world!

The America We Need

May 19 9:30AM

16 Robert Reid Court

Coordinated by Annette Carnow

In August of 2019, the New York Times devoted its entire magazine section to the 1619 Project. There was no doubt to anyone who read that issue that it represented a shift in the way US history would be viewed and taught.

Likewise, an article in this past March in The New York Times, taken from the recently published book Poverty, by America written by Pulitzer Prize winning sociologist Mathew Desmond, promises to have a similar effect on how we look at the economics of our society. Our America We Need Discussion will focus on the issue of why poverty in America is so intractable when we meet on May 19 at 9:30a.m. at 16 Robert Reid Court.  

Read the article:

print article - New York Times Magazine, March 12, 2023, “A problem We can’t seem to fix”, Matthew Desmond

Or onlineNew York Times, March 9, 2023, “Why Poverty Persists in America”, Matthew Desmond

In addition, please read Alex MacGilles' review of Desmond's book in the NY Times: click HERE to access the review.

Or take a deeper dive and read the whole book: Poverty, by America, Matthew Desmond.

The America We Need Registration

Reel Time

April 24 at 3:30

16 Robert Reid Court

Coordinated by Annette Carnow

Stone Mountain is the most visited tourist attraction in Georgia but it is a symbol of the Jim Crow South and the hateful legacy of racism in America.  The recent documentary Monument: The Untold Story of Stone Mountain looks at the history of this enormous memorial to the Confederacy and what it represents today.  On Monday, April 24, at 3:30 at home of Annette Carnow, 16 Robert Reid Court, we will watch this recent film and grapple with the issues of living in a society that still reveres the treasonous leaders of the “War of Northern Aggression”.

Abigails Cocktail Hour

Coordinated by Diane Hartley

Take in the view with us at Bar Julian April 26 5-7pm.  It arguably the best roof top view in the city! 

Bar Julian, on top of the Thompson Hotel at 201 Port St. Savannah

Limited to the first 16 Abigails to sign up.

For more information contact Diane Hartley

New Monday Canasta Group

    Our Friday Abigails Canasta group continues to be active and meets on Fridays from 1-3 PM.  This group is coordinated by Sue  Kantor.

    We have a new Monday Abigails Canasta group.  We play the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month from 2-4pm. If you are interested in playing please contact Diane Hartley. ( 

    Subs needed:  We are often looking for subs at our regular Abigails Canasta. If you're interested in being a sub or learning how to play contact Diane Hartley at

    Regular Groups:  

    Fridays 1-3pm

    1st and 3rd Mondays 2-4pm

    Book Clubs

    The AM Book Group meets at 10 AM on the third Wednesday of each month. There are now three openings.  If you'd like to join this group please contact Sheila Jannino at

    The PM Book Group will meet on April 26.  They will be discussing "Meet Me at the Museum" by Anne Youngson.  The reviewer will be Dina Burke.

    If you would like to join this group, please contact Phyllis Aaron at 610-203-4393 or  

    Message From Your Board of Directors

    Your 2022-2023 Board of Directors, like you, are proud Abigails members.  We are committed to serving the mission, and the members, of Skidaway Abigails.  We look forward to a great year with our Abigail friends and sisters in action!


    Susan Terrio


    Susan Kurtain


    Diane Hartley


    Betsey Andersen

    Programming Co-Chairs

    Shanti Stone

    Carolyn DeFrancesco

    Social Co-Chairs

    Nikki Berdy

    Sue Kantor

    Membership Co-Chairs

    Elizabeth Cowell

    Sue Stephenson

    Activities Chair

    Pat Wallace

    Communications Co-Chairs

    Shari Panitch

    Sheila Stallings

    IT Co-Chairs

    Sheila Grossman

    Susan Kurtain

    Advocacy Chair

    Sandi Parshall


    Betsy Beekman

    Mission Statement

    The Skidaway Abigails is a nonpartisan organization of progressive, liberal women whose purpose is to provide engagement opportunities for social, educational and advocacy activities to its members. We welcome women who support our values to join us, regardless of residence, race, ethnicity, age, religion or gender identification.

    What We Value

    A strong commitment to women's health and safety including family planning; health education, screening and research; and protection from domestic abuse and the full range of offenses against women, from harassment in the workplace to sex trafficking.

    A society that provides services for its poor and its children including basic shelter, food, physical and mental healthcare, quality fact-based education, childcare, pre-K development and college opportunity.

    Fair and equitable treatment for the working class including a livable minimum wage; pay equity for women; reducing the gap between the average employee's compensation and corporate executives'; affordable health care; a future in our country for working immigrants; and equitable treatment under the criminal justice system.

    Fair and equitable treatment for our Lesbian/Gay/Bi-sexual/ Transgender population in all aspects of our society. We support their right to marry and create a family,

    Regulation that respects individual freedom while protecting the community including the licensing and control of firearms; and eliminating unwarranted surveillance, personal data collection and criminal profiling.

    Protecting our planet from mankind's impact on earth's climate and precious natural resources ranging from fresh water to the honey bee. We want to better understand opportunities to enhance sustainability.

    Being informed and represented on political issues related to our values including voter registration and the right of citizens to vote; the stated positions of local, state and federal candidates; and access to articles and subject-matter-experts on value-related issues.

    Current Elected Officials Contact Information

    Governor Brian Kemp
    206 Washington St, 111 State Capitol. Atlanta, GA 30334

    (404) 656-1776

    US Rep. (Dist. 1) Earl "Buddy" Carter

    6602 Abercorn St, Ste 105B, Savannah, GA 31405

    (202) 225-5831

    US Senator Jon Ossoff

    Hart Senate Office Building, Suite 825 B&C

    Washington, DC 20510

    202-224-3521 (DC)

    US Senator Raphael Warnock

    Dirksen Senate Office Building, Suite B40D

    Washington, DC 20510

    (202) 224-3643 (DC)

    State Senator Ben Watson

    320-B Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg, Atlanta, GA 30334

    (404) 656-7880

    State Senator Lester Jackson

    110-B State Capitol, Atlanta, GA 30334

    (404) 463-5261

    State Representative Jesse Petrea

    408-B Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg, Atlanta, GA 30334

    (404) 657-1803

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