Interview by Savanah Mandeville
The Emily Newell Blair Women’s Democratic Club elected Nanda Nunnelly-Sparks as its new President on February 23. Nanda visited with Julie to discuss the club, her new role, and what’s on the horizon.
The Emily Newell Blair Club meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at A Woman’s Place, 809 Langston Hughes Broadway in Joplin. Meetings are open to men too!
Emily Newell Blair was an American suffragist, feminist, writer, national Democratic Party political leader, and a founder of the League of Women voters. She was born on January 9, 1877 in Joplin.
Savanah: How did it feel to be elected the new President of the Emily Newell Blair Women’s Democratic Club? Tell us why you’re passionate about the club.
Nanda: Well, first I’d like to thank all the members who voted for me. I’m so honored to have this opportunity. When I joined the club last summer, I had no idea that I would be chosen to lead it seven months later!
I became a part of the club because I believe in the power of women and the principals behind the Democrat Party. I was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in July, and although my candidate, Bernie Sanders, did not win the nomination, I returned to Joplin energized about the upcoming election and Hillary Clinton. Well, everyone knows how that turned out. But my passion for leading this organization comes not from winning every election; my passion comes from uniting people together for a cause and working to make positive change in our communities. As women, we have always been the change-makers. Look at our club’s namesake, Emily Newell Blair. It’s amazing how many times suffragettes walked away in defeat! But through their dedication we now have a seat at the table.
As President, what are some of your plans for the organization going forward?
I would like to see our organization be on the front lines of uniting our community. I plan to reach out to all faiths, all ethnicities, all sexual identities, and all social/economic backgrounds to bridge gaps and find ways to support each other. We are not just an organization for women; we are an organization for ALL.
Tell us a little bit about the purpose of the Emily Newell Blair and what some of the group’s goals are.
ENB Club is part of a larger organization The Missouri Federation of Women’s Democratic Clubs. The club as several objectives including:
- Build Unity
- Provide Educational Programs
- Contribute to Women Candidates
- Turn out volunteers for campaigns
- Improve government accessibility
- Recognize outstanding Democratic women
- Provide a greater voice for women
Why should people get involved?
We are going to get a lot done this year, but we are also going to have fun! My hope is that people will join because they identify with our principals and goals, but I’d also like for people to join because they are ready to expand on those goals and move forward. We are open to different viewpoints and ideas! As long as those viewpoints carry love and respect for all.
Our meetings are very informal. We have snacks and conversation before the actual meeting starts… and I’m thinking about including a wine tasting! There’s a reason most of our greatest thinkers loved wine, and I can think of no better way to relax and socialize. Our guest speakers will be from different walks of life but each with a connection to our local community. We are also planning to put on some educational programs within the community. So if you like to have fun, and enjoy serving your community—Join Us!
ENB meetings are held at A Woman’s Place. Tell us a little bit about the venue.
A friend and I decided to open A Woman’s Place last summer as a community center. It’s been such a blessing to see people coming together and offering free classes to the community! We have two different yoga classes, adult coloring classes, zentangle art classes, meditation classes, and Spanish classes. On Sunday mornings, a group gathers for a non-vocal religious service called, “A Quiet Time with God.” There is no charge for any class, although we will take a donation if you feel inclined. Check out our FB page or stop by!