Madalyn Schenk fought for significant political change both in Louisiana and in the nation as a whole. Schenk orchestrated the first pro-choice rally in Louisiana, and was Louisiana contact for the Million Mom March in 2000, a national mobilization for gun control. She held leadership roles in six major Democratic campaigns, including the elections of President Bill Clinton and Senator Mary Landrieu. As an education reformer, she helped to initiate the National Council of Jewish Women’s Home Instruction Program for Pre-School Youngsters, helping parents with limited education prepare their children for school. She also chaired the Louisiana Serve Commission, evaluating AmeriCorps competitive grants for Louisiana. After Hurricane Katrina, Schenk served on the fundraising boards of two exemplary public schools, and in 2010 she was appointed to the board of directors of the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. She chaired the public policy committee of United Way's Women's Leadership Initiative and advocated for quality rating systems to improve childcare and early childhood education. She also advocated for changes in the law protecting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Madalyn discusses her journey towards becoming an activist, beginning when she joined the National Council of Jewish Women, where she later became vice president. She describes how she worked in the NCJW to build economic partnerships between the US and Israel. Madalyn recalls organizing the first pro-choice rally in Louisiana. She recounts her work for Edwin Edwards' campaign and her work on the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign. Madalyn has helped to support several pro-choice and women politicians through her work on campaigns. Finally, she details her experience as a Jewish woman helping with these political campaigns and how that has affected her work.
How to cite this page
Oral History of Madalyn Schenk. Interviewed by Abe Louise Young. 11 January 2005. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on December 5, 2023) <https://jwa.org/oralhistories/schenk-madalyn-0>.
Oral History of Madalyn Schenk by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.