Veteran Feminists of America
Veteran Feminists of America
October 21, 2014
VFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Muriel Fox.
“Memorable!” was the word used by all 225 feminists who attended VFA’s gala luncheon October 21 at the Harvard Club in New York City. The enthusiastic audience featured feminists nearly as prominent as the world-famous icons on the dais. This successful program followed by less than a month another history-making VFA event, its St Louis conference on “Labor and the Women’s Movement.”
Barbara Love, chair of the October 21 blockbuster, revealed that reservations had been sold out since July. In her opening remarks, Barbara stressed that is that we are in thhttp://vfa.us/SteinemPamBellaHat300.jpge women's movement for the long haul, over generations. She pointed out the table tent cards recognizing deceased feminists whose accomplishments give us courage. And that the histories of so many in the room, many documented by VFA could someday provide a young woman with the courage to make a difference
The incomparable Gloria Steinem then stepped to the podium and presented VFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Muriel Fox. The citation applauded Muriel, VFA’s chair of the board and co-founder of NOW, for a “half-century of history-making, inspiring service as Co-Founder, Leader and Activist in …organizations that have improved life for women and girls …Brilliant Publicist who introduced the modern women’s movement to the world’s media … Persuasive Ambassador to the business world for feminist organizations .. Role model in business, public affairs and humanitarian service.”
In Muriel’s acceptance speech she stressed that the feminist movement has succeeded because it comprises “not just a handful of famous leaders, but many thousands of leaders who have fought to eliminate the injustices that made each one of them mad.” She reminded critics of the movement that “we’re only in the middle of our revolution, and we know there’s lots more to get done.”
VFA president Eleanor Pam surprised Gloria Steinem, in gratitude for her untiring work for feminist causes, with the gift of a favored hat that had been worn by the late Bella Abzug. She presented VFA’s Inspiration Award to Rosie O’Donnell, “American’s Best Friend and Tireless Champion for Women and Children … Courageous Crusader for Feminism … Brilliant Star of Films, Television and Stage … Creator of Rosie’s for All Kids Foundation and Rosie’s Theater Kids … Writer, Producer, Actor, Activist, Visionary, Philanthropist.”
VFA’s Inspiration Award was also presented to Marlo Thomas, “Feminist Role Model and Bold Champion for Women and Girls of All Ages … Creator of “Free to Be You And Me …Pioneering Interviewer on ‘Mondays With Marlo’ … Courageous Fighter against sexism, injustice, bullying and stereotyping … Writer, Actress, Innovator, Feminist Activist”
Eve Ensler next received VFA’s Inspiration Award “in gratitude for her trailblazing play ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ … Her creation of the global movement of V-Day , and her brilliant, world-changing achievements … Innovator, Writer, Producer, Actress, Activist.” The award proclaimed that “Eve Ensler has courageously combated violence against women worldwide and fostered new pride and security among women and girls everywhere.”
The final Inspiration Award went to Carol Jenkins, “Distinguished Journalist, Author, Producer, Activist, Television Star … Host Of ‘Carol Jenkins Live’ …Award-Winning Anchor And Correspondent … Founding President Of The Women’s Media Center … Indomitable Campaigner For Feminist Ideals And Multi-Media Agitator Against Bias.”
In addition to their citation, the VFA medal of honor was presented to all honorees.
A lively one-hour discussion ensued, launched by Carol Jenkins asking the honorees why each of them had become a feminist. Marlo Thomas replied that she’d resented not having her opinions listened to. Eve Ensler confided that she became a feminist (and a crusader against violence) “when my father knocked me across the room.” Rosie O’Donnell said her consciousness was raised at the age of 11 after her mother died, when she suddenly became a mother to her five younger siblings.
The conversation ranged over a wide variety of topics including Monica Lewinsky, cyberbullying, domestic violence, and the plight of women in poverty. All of the icons endorsed the goal of Veteran Feminists of America: winning new converts to the women’s movement among young women and young men by telling the world about the inspiring experiences of feminist pioneers.
Fortunately, this discussion was videotaped. Everyone in the room expressed the hope that the video will ultimately be made available for public education.
Contact and Comments: Barbara Love: firstname.lastname@example.org
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