Skidaway Abigails  l  March 2021

In This Issue

President's Message

Upcoming Events

Feb. Program Recap

Member Spotlight



Board of Directors

Mission Statement

Elected Officials

n This Issue

President's Message

Upcoming Events

Member Spotlight

Communications Update


Announcements: The Glorias

A Message from your Board of Directors


Mission Statement

Contact Information



President's Message

Hello everyone,

I hope you survived our rainy, awful weather without too many doldrums. As I write this, the sun has returned, and I remember why I moved here!

This month I just want to say how grateful I am for our terrific organization, and also to the members of the Abigails Board, who work tirelessly to ensure that we have multiple ways to engage with one another. Our Program Co-Chairs work hard to find the inspiring people and organizations that are part of our larger community.  Our Activities Chair, and the leaders of the various activities, work to keep us connected through shared interests.  WAG, our largest activities group, keeps us informed about opportunities to advocate for the liberal, progressive policies that matter to us, as well as  bringing us compelling speakers.  Our Communication and IT team keeps us informed about all that is going on in the organization.  Our Social Co-chairs have had a challenging year trying to find ways we can engage socially and safely. Our Membership Chair works hard to manage our growing numbers. 

I would be remiss too, if I did not mention our gratitude for our growing and mutually beneficial collaboration with the Hamiltons who generously invite us to all of their programs.

And finally, and most of all, I am grateful for each and every one of you, and  for the engaged community we are building together.

With gratitude,

Betsy Beekman

 Upcoming Events

The Lasting Challenges for Savannah after the Pandemic

Mayor Van Johnson

Monday, March 8

3:30 PM Zoom meeting

Coordinated by Pat Wallace and Betsey Andersen

Van Johnson, II

Skidaway Abigails is honored to welcome Savannah Mayor Van Johnson on Monday, March 8, 2021 (not our normal meeting date), for our Zoom Program at 3:30PM. Please join us for this unique opportunity to meet our mayor.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, II, is driven by the core principles of Purpose, Passion and People. He has used these principles to lead the City of Savannah during these unprecedented times over the past year dealing with COVID-19, and Black Lives Matter protests.

Mayor Johnson will address questions that face the citizens of Savannah, and what he sees as some of the ongoing challenges. What will be the economic fallout for Savannah from COVID-19? Have many small businesses closed?  How will we attract new businesses?  What are the implications of lower tax revenue on the City? Have residents lost jobs that will never return? How will we help them find new jobs?  When will we get all the school children back in school and how do we plan on helping them make up lost time and lost ground? How can we make Savannah a more equitable city? 

Mayor Johnson convened a number of Task Forces in 2020 that he hopes will help Savannah get back on track. For example, The Racial Equity Task Force will make recommendations on how Savannah can become more equitable for all; The Read Savannah Task Force will focus on getting our students where they need to be educationally; and The Police Reform Task Force will make recommendations to the Police Department.

Recap of February Events

The Family Justice Center After One Year 

Sheryl Jones, Executive Director

Coordinated by Pat Wallace and Betsey Andersen

On February 11, 2021, Abigails welcomed Sheryl Jones, Executive Director of the Chatham County Family Justice Center, to hear how this organization is helping the county’s most vulnerable citizens, while also facing the challenges of being a brand-new entity that opened just a few weeks before Covid-19 changed everyone’s life.

A little over four years ago, Abigails learned from then District Attorney Meg Heap about the need for a one-stop shop for families in crisis due to domestic violence, and usually a host of other problems. SAFE Shelter, The Savannah Police Department, The Rape Crisis Center, The Children’s Advocacy Center, and The Mediation Center, all joined forces with the DA’s office, as did other organizations, and a good many Abigails, to bring this idea to fruition.

The CCFJC now provides help and hope to all who come in seeking safety and resources, to extricate themselves from a violent situation with an intimate partner. Traumatized victims no longer need to visit the 10-15 agencies required for their immediate basic needs.

We were reminded that over 35% of women and men are victims of partner violence and that this horror happens everywhere, including Skidaway Island.

If you are interested in finding out more about volunteer opportunities or other ways you can help, contact the FJC: 

(912) 659-5282 or

Member Spotlight

Nikki Berdy

Nikki Berdy was born and raised in different areas of New York. She went to college to become a Dental Hygienist, and worked in the field for two years. Her husband, Andy, joined the Army and after his training, their first assignment was in Germany for four years, where they started their family; two sons. As a military wife for thirty years, Nikki became responsible for thousands of military wives and families, and volunteered on many levels to make everyone's experience stronger and better.

Nikki worked in an administrative position at a County Rape Crisis/Sexual Assault Center, and became a Sexual Assault Counselor, which had a huge impact on her. She later developed a career in Marketing, Sales, and Advertising with her first job in Hotel Marketing/Sales, and her last as Corporate Marketing Coordinator for an Environmental Consulting and Engineering firm.

After the military, they relocated a couple of times for Andy’s civilian career and ultimately moved to San Diego, CA. Nikki volunteered with an organization, representing 50,000 people in their section of the city, as the Marketing Chair, and over nine years became President, working with the city, county, and state representatives. Her husband called it her “full-time unpaid job”.

Nikki and Andy have moved 22 times, and their 23rd move was from San Diego to The Landings. After Nikki’s introduction to Skidaway Abigails, she joined the Board as Secretary. She has initiated Abigails Community Service projects, and with Rebecca Walling, developed a team to work with Girls on the Run, an organization that helps young girls become strong women. Nikki is currently Abigails Social Co-Chair with Sue Kantor, and post-pandemic, she looks forward to getting back to in-person Community Service.

Thank you, Nikki, for your commitment and service to Skidaway Abigails.


Well, we’ve made it to March and things are looking better.  Although our ZOOM meetings have been helping us connect with each other, hopefully we will be able to get together in person soon.  

We have 26 new members, and of course, would like to see more people joining and taking advantage of our various programs, offered through ZOOM.  So, I’m hoping that all of you will help spread the word about the Abigails. Some of you have still yet to renew your membership.  Remember, you won’t be able to take advantage of the programs that are offered unless you are a member.

Be sure to check our website for all upcoming programs.  Not only will you be able to join in with the programs offered by the Abigails, but the Hamiltons also invite us to participate in their ZOOM programs. There’s always something for everyone.  So, JOIN and/or RENEW.

I’ll be waiting for those renewal/new email notices! Keep them coming!!

Until next month. . .

Adele Packert

Membership Chair


Click to Join or Renew

Skidaway Abigails Gift Membership

Looking for a gift for that special friend?  Skidaway Abigails Gift Membership is a great way to welcome new members to our organization.  A Skidaway Abigails coffee mug filled with chocolates will also include a card that tells your friend about our organization, our mission and the many opportunities to engage with fellow members (on Zoom for now, but hopefully in person later in 2021).

There are two ways to purchase a gift membership:

1)  Send the name of your friend(s) and email address(es) with a check for $25/person made out to Skidaway Abigails and your email or phone number to:

Adele Packert  16 Tanaquay Court  Savannah, GA 31411

Adele will contact you to arrange a time for you to pick up your gift.  OR

2) Make arrangements with Adele to drop off you check with the recipient(s) information and pick up your gift.

If you have questions call Adele's phone at 702-445-5790 or email her (button below).

Adele's email


Abigails Video Chat

March 2, 9, 23, 30

3 PM  Zoom Meetings

Coordinated by Sheila Grossman

Are you missing being able to connect with other like-minded women? Please consider joining us for our next Abigails Video Chat. With everything that is going on locally and in the world, from the fall out of the recent insurrection at the US Capitol to the pandemic that has upended our lives, it's great to be able to talk freely about what we are learning and how we are feeling. The group continues to explore how we are dealing with the unique and stressful time in which we are living. 

The America We Need Discussion Group

Friday, March 12 (not our normal date)

9:30 am Zoom Meeting

Led by Susan Terrio

This monthly discussion group continues its study of  the international bestseller by Ibram X. Kendi, How To be An Antiracist.

This book has been described as a 21st century manual of racial ethics and a critical guide at a time of persistent racial injustice in employment, schools, housing, policing, and government. Dr. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. He is the youngest recipient of the National Book Award for his 2016 nonfiction book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. In 2020 Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

This month's assignment is to finish the book (Chapters 13-18).

Stay tuned - the film for March will be announced soon!

Reel Time

Wednesday, March 24

4 PM Zoom Meeting

Coordinated by Annette Carnow

At this time a film is yet to be selected for March's Reel Time meeting but we will let you know the title soon.

It is our goal to find films that are interesting as well as entertaining that deal with social issues, history or science. We hope that these films will be of a timely nature and will provoke thought and discussion. At this time since we are restricted to viewing films in our own homes, we are limiting our selections to streaming venues which most people have - Amazon Prime or Netflix. We welcome your suggestions. Please contact: if you have any recommendations. 

WAG at Work!!

In February the WAG team sent out two Advocacy Alerts; one dealing with Moms Demand Action’s Advocacy Day efforts to  repeal Georgia’s Stand Your Ground law, and one dealing with voting rights being torn apart by our Georgia Legislature. Both alerts relayed our concerns, outlined actions that could be taken, and provided contact information.  Letters were also written, and calls made, to  our Georgia legislators about these issues.  In addition, letters were sent to the members of the Higher Education Committee in support of House Bill 120  making in-state tuition available to DACA  students  who enroll in Georgia public universities.                                                    

February 23rd saw a joint Abigail/WAG presentation by Rebecca Rolfes, President of the League Of Women Voters of Coastal Georgia, entitled Election 2020: Democracy is Never Done, in which she discussed ramifications of the election.


Coordinated by Sue Kantor

Over the last year or two we have gathered a great group of women for Abigails Canasta. Our lives are different now. Five of us have formed a group and we have been playing online for the last few months.  

If forming a group sounds good, gather your own group of Abigails and/or send me your names, and as soon as there are 4 or 5 women, I will form the group and you are off and running.  Each new group will function autonomously.  Choose your own day and time; no shopping for snacks or wondering if you have the cards, the shuffler, the tray or the extra table!

If any of you are interested in playing virtually please feel free to contact me and I will be glad to help with the process and share what we have learned from using Canasta Junction.

Book Clubs

The Abigails book clubs are currently full but we would be happy to start a new one if there is member interest. If you would like to participate in a book club, please email us at  The presenter for the February Afternoon Book Club will be Suzan Kiepper discussing "The Spy and the Traitor" by Ben Macintyre.

Message From Your Board of Directors

Your 2020-2021 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!


Betsy Beekman


Susan Terrio


Susan Kurtain


Iris Dayoub


Programming Co-Chairs

Pat Wallace

Betsey Andersen

Social Co-Chairs

Nikki Berdy

Sue Kantor


Adele Packert

Activities Chair

Bonnie Kelly

Communications Co-Chairs

Anne Boynton

Sheila Stallings

IT Chair

Sheila Grossman

Advocacy Chair

Cubby Plonchak


Sheila Grossman

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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