Voices United Zooms Through the Coronavirus Lockdown

Members of the Thursday Voices United discussion group on Zoom: top row (from left to right): Karen McDaniels, Jane Scholz, and Janet Scott-Harris; second row: Jan Lands, Margo Ways, and Kim Robinson; third row: Joan Wall and Frances Rolater

Members of the Thursday Voices United discussion group on Zoom: top row (from left to right): Karen McDaniels, Jane Scholz, and Janet Scott-Harris; second row: Jan Lands, Margo Ways, and Kim Robinson; third row: Joan Wall and Frances Rolater

Jane Scholz

Voices United, a Robson Ranch group of progressive women, has kept our fellowship and conversations going through the lock down through the use of Zoom, an online meeting application.

Our two monthly discussion groups—each with 10 to 12 members—first tried online meetings in late March. Although few of the discussion group members had used the application before, the meetings were so successful that both groups decided to meet more frequently than they had pre-lock down. One has been meeting weekly, the other bi-weekly.

“Zoom is really what has made this possible,” said Organizer Joan Wall. “Everyone is polite and makes a real effort not to talk over others, so everyone gets a chance to say all they want to say.

“It’s really great to get to see everyone more frequently now.”

With the Zoom application, a host sets up a meeting on the Zoom website or smart phone app, then sends an email invitation with the meeting date, time and topic and a unique web address that links to the meeting to all members of the group. At the designated time, members click on the email link to enter the meeting. The host controls who is admitted and, when the session is over, brings the meeting to a close with the click of another button.

Building on the success of the Zoom discussion groups, Voices United plans to hold its larger May general meeting online with speaker Kathy Dixon of the local chapter of Moms Demand Action.

“Response to the invitation has been very good,” said Tracy Olson, chair of the Voices United steering committee. “I think people are really looking forward to seeing all their friends after weeks of staying in the house. It’s also a good topic for us.”

Dixon will talk about the Moms national organization, a grassroots movement with six million members and chapters in every state that fights for public safety measures to protect people from gun violence. She’ll also talk about activities of Moms Demand Action in north Texas and statewide.

Dixon is an educator and volunteer with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She has been an educator for over 20 years, 11 as an elementary school teacher, and is now a university professor with Texas A&M University-Commerce who helps prepare future teachers.

Her background in education brought her to Moms Demand Action. What started as a concern about the growing number of school shootings expanded with the realization that gun violence in the U.S. is widespread and, while it touches almost everyone in our country, gun violence disproportionately affects women, communities of color, and our LGBTQ+ communities.

Kathy joined Moms Demand Action in Jan. 2018. Two months later, she helped form the Denton county local Moms Demand Action group, where she served as the legislative lead. In August of 2019, she accepted the role of local group lead for Denton county.

Kathy lives in Corinth with her husband, Mike, and their children, Michael (13) and Caroline (12).

Robson Ranch residents who want to learn more about Voices United should contact Tracy Olson at [email protected]