Veteran Feminists of America
“Labor & the Women’s Movement: The untold story and why it matters” was a VFA event held at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in St. Louis, MO,
VFA Treasurer Pam Ross lives in St. Louis, and she suggested a VFA event focused on the labor movement to be held in St. Louis. The VFA events committee worked with Pam on the planning and execution of the event. That committee is chaired by Sheila Tobias and includes VFA board members Mary Jean Collins,
As we began work on the event, we learned of leading historians who had studied and written extensively on the subject of women and labor. We were able to secure several of them with payment of their expenses only – we paid no speaker fees. We created a program that was designed to interest both feminist and labor audiences.
A complete agenda for the event is included in this report. But some of the highlighted speakers include:
There were three panel discussions:
See the agenda and the event program book for more information about all these outstanding speakers and panelists.
The evening cocktail reception and dinner were a salute to local and national feminists and labor activists. Sheila Tobias presented them with the VFA medals. Honoree biographies were provided at the table. The dinner speaker was Maggie Ellinger-Locke, a local third wave feminist.
We designed a distinctive logo for the event. We created a special website: www.vfa-midwest.org. We used the site to update event details and as the major vehicle for event registration. We also created a unique email address for contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We were eager to have good attendance at the event, especially given the caliber of speakers we had, so we put forth a good deal of effort in recruitment:
We obtained media lists from two labor contacts and sent several news releases about the event to a wide range of media contacts throughout Missouri. We sent a media alert the day before the event.
We wrote and produced a 48-page program/ad book that was distributed to all attendees as well as donors. We produced a bibliography of key books on our subject, including the speakers’ books. We arranged for the event to be videotaped and photographed. A set of five DVDs containing all the presentations is available for $25 from Pam Ross.
Based on our outreach, news about the event appeared in the following:
Feedback from Event Speakers
I was honored to be invited to speak to such an amazing group of women. Emily Zuckerman, panelist
Thank you for including me in the wonderful conference. Veteran Feminists of America is an amazing group of women and it was wonderful to have labor women remembered and present. I was also very impressed with the young scholars and loved the combination of real life stories and on-going research. Brigid O’Farrell, speaker
I very much enjoyed the meeting. Thank you for making everything so smooth—this was an inspiring group. Alice Kessler-Ross, speaker
Thanks for inviting me. It was a great conference. Karen Nussbaum, panelist
That was easily one of the most inspiring conferences I've attended. I met many amazing women and learned a great deal. Mary Ziegler, panelist
Congratulations on a well-organized, fun and inspiring conference – no easy task, I know. Thank you for including me. Carol King, panelist
First let me say what a great conference. I enjoyed every minute. GOOD JOB! Katie Jordan, panelist
Thank you! I enjoyed it immensely. Emily LaBarbera Twarog, speaker
Selected attendee comments:
Good speakers, great information, very well-organized.
Thank you for an inspiring day!
Excellent content – very inspiring!
The speakers, topics and content were interesting and thought-provoking.
It’s so great to hear all the history and to hear from the women who paved the way for me!
All the speakers were excellent and well-versed on their topics.
This was an excellent opportunity and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here. It was so eye-opening and motivating as a young scholar focusing on the challenges women face in the labor market.
Fantastic speakers, wonderful organization, substantive discussion.
Broadened my knowledge and understanding of our history (labor and feminism), which will help in planning for the future in a combined effort for social justice.
Great to bring together activists in the feminist and labor movements, groups that don’t always have a lot of interaction.
As a student given the incredible opportunity to attend this conference, there is a lot of imperative information I can not only apply to my own platform but spread at my school.
The agenda for the day follows, along with selected media coverage and event announcements.
RENAISSANCE GRAND HOTEL – ST. LOUIS, MO
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2014
9:00- 9:15 am
Introduction of keynote speaker – Mary-Ann Lupa, VFA Board member
Keynote address – Brigid O’Farrell, author, Rocking the Boat - Union Women’s Voices, 1915-1975 and She Was One of Us: Eleanor Roosevelt and the American Worker
Bringing the history to life: the stories of Dorothy Haener, Catherine Conroy, Caroline Davis, Rev. Addie Wyatt, Millie Jeffrey
Moderator: Muriel Fox, VFA Chair, NOW co-founder
11:45 am - Lunch
Introduction of lunch speaker – Kathy Rand, VFA Board member
Lunch speaker - Alice Kessler-Harris, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History, Columbia University; author, Gendering Labor History
1:15-2:45 pm – Using the courts and the law in the fight for equality
Moderator: Mary Anne Sedey, St. Louis employment discrimination attorney
3:15 – 4:30 pm – Connecting the movements: organizing for justice at work
Moderator: Heather Booth, activist/organizer, VFA Board member
4:30 – 5:15 pm
The future for labor and women’s rights
Introduction of closing speakers – Mary Jean Collins, VFA Board member
Cocktails and Awards dinner - honoring national and local labor leaders as well as local and national feminists
Presentation of VFA Awards – Sheila Tobias, VFA Vice President
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