Veteran Feminists of America celebrates
FEMINISTS WHO CHANGED AMERICA 1963 - 1975
POMPANO BEACH, FLORIDA · APRIL 20, 2009 · A SMASHING SUCCESS!
PHOTOS - Click Here For: DROPBOX SLIDESHOW
Ireland to Florida Feminists: "Our work is far from done"
Yes, we did it! Again! What was to be a small event to honor pioneer and contemporary activists in Florida showed early signs that the caféreserved for 35 would not be adequate. It turned out that 170 showed up! We owe this sensational success to Eleanor Pam and to her friend and co-chair Barbara Love, editor of the fabulous Feminists Who Changed America 1963-1975.
Eleanor, a snowbird from Long Island, emceed the event and from the first welcome established an air of celebration. And indeed, the guests acted as if they were at a joyous reunion--proving once more how important VFA events are to keep feminists together and actively involved in our great cause.
The room was decorated with great memories. Two slide shows flashed pictures of early feminist actions and heroes on the wall next to the podium in a continuous loop; the famed Women's quilt made of T-shirts from early demonstrations hung near the stage; memorabilia from the 1960s and 1970s was arrayed on tables. And special guest , Elizabeth Cady Stanton ( actor Elizabeth Perry) inspired us as she recited the Women's Bill of Rights she‘d given at the first women‘s rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1948.
“Our work isn't over,” said Pat Ireland, the longest-term president of NOW who served from 1991 to 2001, inspiring all with her exciting talk. "Two out of nine is not half," she'd told President Bill Clinton at a White House reception in reference to the sorry makeup of the Supreme Court. “Clinton got it," she said.
VFA'S MEDAL OF HONOR FOR exceptional contributions to improving the lives of women and girls was given to 40 women and one man, Barry Silver, a lawyer and rabbi, who served in the Florida Legislature and successfully sued Jerry Falwell and his Operation Rescue to stop the blockading of health and abortion clinics.
Barry Silver with Barbara Love, Eleanor Pam
In an important departure from the past VFA honored contemporary feminists , an important departure from the past which was much appreciated by activist leaders of today.
THE JOYCE WARSHOW AWARD, presented by her partner, Dorothy Sander in memory of the late psychologist, author and filmmaker was given to Barbara Love for her work in feminism and feminist history, and especially for her chef d'oeuvre, Feminists Who Changed America.
It was a very emotional moment when Ryan Cox stepped forward to accept an award for her late mother, Linda Cox, founder of Broward County NOW and member of the Florida House of Representatives. Among guests were former state representatives, who'd remembered that Ryan was the first baby born to a Florida legislator while in office.
a quilt made of feminist tee shirts from former demonstrations
CALLS TO ACTION-- A petition was circulated to save the Women's Studies program at Florida Atlantic University. Josephine Beoku-Betts, Interim Director, was one of the honorees.
A "PASS THE TORCH" CEREMONY was emotional as Eleanor called for the oldest and youngest woman in the room to speak on behalf of their respective generations. To great applause, 90-year-old transferred a blazing candle to her 26-year-old counterpart, along with the symbolic responsibility for carrying forward the feminist agenda.
WELL-KNOWN GUESTS included Rep. Elaine Bloom, former Speaker, Pro-tempore, Florida State Legislature; Janet Canterbury, three time president of Dade County NOW and Florida state NOW; Sally Heyman, County Commissioner, Miami-Dade; and Gwen Margolis, former Florida State Senator; Ann Fonfa, co-president, North Palm Beach County NOW; and Pam O'Brien, Executive Director of Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, Palm Beach County.
Closing Moments with Barbara Love and Eleanor Pam
This was VFA's second outstanding showing in Florida. In 2002 we co-sponsored a conference at Florida Atlantic University with Atlantic's Women's Studies Department and South Palm Beach NOW.
VFA's primary goal is to document the history of the Second Wave and to honor all who made it happen, which we've been doing for the past 19 years, mostly in major cities. This was one of the few celebrations given in “the interior.” Why? Because no one from a smaller town has ever came forward to handle the event. But this one may have been a good sign. Two more are being planned, one in Stockton, CA with Beverly McCarthy at the helm; and another in Dallas (certainly a major city) hosted by Bonnie Wheeler. See articles below for progress on these.
VFA made a nice little profit from this event, in spite of the low cost of the luncheon, thanks to Eleanor's planning. And again our thanks to her and Barbara Love and the inspirational “Feminists Who Changed America” for keeping VFA alive and lively!
Medal of Honor Recipients
Aagerstoun, Mary Jo One of the first to see poverty as a feminist issue; co-chair of NOW's Women in Poverty Task Force, 1974-1976.
*Armstrong Jr., Toni Producer, women's music; publisher of HOT WIRE Journal of Women's Music and Culture, 1984-1994.
*Beiner, Syd Writer, Majority Report, an early feminist newspaper, Editor, Board Chair, New York NOW 1975
*Bloom, Elaine Member, Florida State Legislature; elected founding chair, Dade County Commission on the Status of Women, 1971; Speaker Pro-tempore. Florida House of Representatives,1992-1994.
Bodiford, Robin Broward Women in Network "Woman of the Year" 1999, Executive Director, Berkeley (CA) Women's Center, 1970s, raised money for the Berkeley Women's Health Collective.
Burch, Vivian Held strategic weekly meetings at Planned Parenthood in the 1990s; "Feminist of the Year," NOW South Palm Beach County, 2003.
*Canterbury, Janet Three times president of Dade County NOW and Florida State NOW; currently (1992-present) co-chair with Eleanor Smeal and Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun of the Advisory Committee of National NOW.
*Etelson, Doris A founding member of International Alliance of Women's Networks; joined board of Florida Women's Alliance ; served as president of the Women's Equity Action Alliance.
Flack, Sandy Joined NOW Rape Task Force and set up a 24-hour hotline, 1979; Director, Union County Rape Crisis Center, 1983; secured permanent funding for New Jersey rape centers.
Fonfa, Ann Co-president North Palm Beach County NOW; Chair Women's Empowerment, President Annie Appleseed Project.
Ford, Gonzalee President and Vice President, local board, Aid to Victims of Domestic Violence; President and Vice President, local NOW chapter; Liaison for women's rights issues, Democratic Executive Committee, Palm Beach County; Executive Council, Emily's List.
Friedman, Meryl C. Member, New York State Delegation to International Women's Year Houston Conference, 1977; co-founded Gay Teacher's Association and advocated for gender parity in its leadership; worked to improve self image and lives of lesbian students.
*Gerber, Barbara Founder of Women's Center; first female dean, graduate studies, SUNY campus, 1971; one of the founders of National Women's Studies Association, 1977.
*Gordon, Rusty Producer, mainstream music industry and women's music festivals.
Head, Marjorie Chosen Feminist of the Year by Broward County Commission on the Status of Women for "work to eliminate sexism in the school system and involvement in women's political groups."
Heyman, Sally As a crime specialist, created a "Street Safety for Women" program; Florida State Representative, wrote legislation to protect women from domestic violence and children from sex offenders.
Hosto, Karen Chair, Broward ERA Coalition, 1976-1982; organized and board member of first women's caucus in Florida State Teachers Association.
*Ireland, Patricia President of National NOW, 1991-2001; co-founded the ERA Countdown Campaign office in Miami with Janet Canterbury, 1981; helped revitalize the Florida Association for Women Lawyers.
Jaffe, Sheila Chapter President and presently, board member, Feminist Scholarship Fund.
*Kaplan, Judith Created, Kaplan Women's History Collection, donated to Florida Community College.
Krzewinski, Eva Past President, Florida Business and Professional Women; promoted Equal Pay Day.
Laxer, Tara SE educator for Florida Equal Rights Alliance.
Lynn, Patti Current President, Broward County Women's History Museum; Member, The Listeners , matching volunteers withgirls who have beeen incarcerated; Member and contributor, Broward Women's Emergency Fund.
Margolis, Gwen Former Florida State Senator, and first woman senator president; Member, Florida House of Representatives, 15 years. Passed legislation requiring insurance policies to include mammograms at no additional cost. Inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame, 2009.
Miranda, Barbara Lobbies in Washington, DC regularly for funds for breast cancer research.
O'Brien, Pam Executive Director of Aids to Victims of Domestic Abuse, Palm Beach County; Member, Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence; served on the Coalition's legislative committee.
Osborne, Nancy A founder, National Women's Studies Association, 1977; Editor, editor of NWSA Perspectives; New York NOW's Feminist Educator Award.
*Pam, Eleanor Co-founder, NOW's first Education Committee; directed and founded City University of New York Domestic Violence Center and Women's Resource Centers; Member, Giuliani's Mayoral Committee to Combat Family Violence; advocate for incarcerated women
*Perry, Elizabeth Actress and playwright; widely performed as Elizabeth Cady Stanton; also produced a women's concert series and a two-act play that explores single motherhood.
Riedel, Mary President and CEO of Women in Distress of Broward County; founded (1974) Women in Distress domestic violence center.
Segall, Judith Founded and has run the Florida Women's Caucus for Art for 14 years.
Silver, Barry Served in Florida legislature; successfully sued Operation Rescue and Jerry Falwell to stop blockading of health and abortion clinics; Board, Planned Parenthood; as a Rabbi he proclaims the bible supports a woman's right to choose.
*Spencer, Kappie Worked to change sexist laws and language of Wills and Trusts that discriminate against women; Published pamphlet, "Whose Money is it Anyway;"Founder and Director, National Gender Balance Project.
*Star, B.J. Feminist leader in Michigan and Florida: convened Dearborn chapter in 1980; currently President, West Pinellas NOW.
*Stellman, Mandy President and legal advisor to Wisconsin Women's Coalition, 1971, offering pro bono legal training.
*Vasiliades, Mary Helped organize the August 26, 1970 March for Equality down 5th Avenue in NYC, and takeover of the Statue of Liberty; political columnist for Majority Report in the 1970s
Williamson, Barbara Founding Board Member and Chairperson Teaching Profession-NEA Women's Caucus; State Women's Leadership Cadre; 2002 Broward County Women's Hall of Fame.
* Asterisks refer to Honorees listed in Feminists Who Changed America, 1963-1975 (University of Illinois Press). A more extensive biography for each of these awardees appears in the book.
Pat Ireland to Florida Feminists: "Our work is far from done"
Pompano - "Two out of nine is not half," Patricia Ireland, the longest-term president of the National Organization for Women, told President Clinton when she stood in front of him at a White House reception. Clinton "got it," she said to an attentive audience of nearly 200 Florida feminists Monday gathered at the Palm Aire Country Club in Pompano.
The event to honor pioneer and contemporary activists was sponsored by the Veteran Feminists of America. Forty were awarded the VFA Medal of Honor for their exceptional contributions to improving the lives of women and girls.
Among the honored guests were well-known local leaders, including Rep. Elaine Bloom, former Speaker, Pro-tempore, Florida State Legislature; Janet Canterbury, three times President of Dade County NOW and Florida state NOW; Sally Heyman, County Commissioner, Miami-Dade; and Gwen Margolis, former Florida State Senator; Ann Fonfa, Co-president, North Palm Beach County NOW; and Pam O'Brien, Executive Director of Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, Palm Beach County.
One male was honored for his feminist work. Barry Silver, a lawyer and Rabbi, Boca Raton, served in the Florida Legislature, and was recognized for successfully suing Operation Rescue and Jerry Falwell to stop the blockading of health and abortion clinics.
An atmosphere of celebration was established by Master of Ceremonies and Co-chair Eleanor Pam of Delray Beach. Actress Elizabeth Perry performed as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in the garb of her day; a quilt made of feminist tee shirts from former demonstrations hung near the stage; two slide shows in a continuous loop, flashed pictures of early feminist actions and heroes (or "sheroes") on the wall next to the podium; and memorabilia from the 1960s and 1970s was arrayed on tables.
The event was sparked by the publication of the book Feminists Who Changed America, 1963-1975, which includes biographies of over 2,200 feminists, including many from Florida who attended the luncheon. Attendees contributed or are contributing to improve women's lives through legislation, social services, publications, sports and the arts.
Barbara Love also received the Joyce Warshow award from VFA for her work in feminism and feminist history. The award was given by Dorothy Sander in memory of Joyce, a psychologist, author and film maker.
There were calls to action, as well. A petition was circulated to save the Women's Studies program at Florida Atlantic University. Josephine Beoku-Betts, Interim Director, was one of the honorees.
Pam created a "Pass the Torch" ceremony for the oldest and youngest woman in the room, and asked each to speak to the other on behalf of her respective generation. Then, to great applause, a 90-year-old feminist transferred a blazing candle to her 26-year-old counterpart, along with the symbolic responsibility for carrying forward the feminist agenda.
For more information call Eleanor Pam, Master of Ceremonies and Co-Chair 561-278-1967; cell 516-526-2689
E-Mail Eleanor Pam: email@example.com
MORE FROM POMPANO BEACH
JUDY KAPLAN REPORTS
Not a luncheon; a feminist love fest
I was there! And it was all Eleanor wrote & much, much more. Crowded, excited, motivating, exuberant are a few of the words I can think of. The food was very tasty, reception and literature/FWCA book/button table laid out
attractively, staffed w/friendly and efficient people...think of it 162 + people!
Passing the Torch
From Oldest to Youngest
Barbara & Eleanor created a truly class event. Patricia Ireland mixed the personal with the feminist, the serious, the
message with humor. The award ceremony went smoothly, though due to the number of honorees each had but a moment on stage – but were very pleased to have been recognized for their work. Literally the entire event was well planned and executed even better. And a few bucks were made too!
Elizabeth Perry performs Elizabeth Cady Stanton
To me there were 2 highlights – one of which was the “Pass the Torch” ceremony; it should be a part of every future event: Ever person in the room was involved as Eleanor sought and found the oldest attendee (at 90!) and the youngest at I believe she said 22 – but had been active since the age of 8!... This part gave encouragement to all of us who wonder who will carry on after we are gone.
The other highlight to me was the attendance of Elizabeth Cady Stanton as she read and acted to a spell bound audience the moments of her momentous and earth shattering “Declaration of Sentiments” which she originally read in Seneca Falls in July 1848 PLUS a part of her speech at her 80’th birthday celebration! Where she too linked the past to the then upcoming future...Actor Elizabeth Perry is wonderful.
Past – Present – And - Future were there in that dining room in Pompano Beach Florida on April 20 2009.
Very much earned congratulations to Barbara J. Love and to Eleanor Pam. Congratulations too to all their helpers and to the first time awardees – veterans as well as contemporaries! The awardees in particular felt thrilled as they were so honored in front of their families, friends and other active and veteran feminists.
I am sure much good will come to VFA as a result of this event – I hope we can take this “gig” on the road all over the United States.
FROM JACQUI CEBALLOS, VFA PRESIDENT TO ELEANOR PAM AND BARBARA LOVE
Eleanor, this brought tears to my eyes. This is a model for future events. Members can do this all over the country-- well, those still in their 60's and 70's. The women out there are delighted to be honored as they NEVER ARE, unless they've written books, taught at universities, or were in public office. But the ordinary foot soldier -- and that includes most of us -- who worked around the clock and accomplished near miracles -- very few are recognized or remembered by anyone, including their home towns!
NO way to thank you and Barbara for this!
Contact Jacqui: firstname.lastname@example.org
PAT IRELAND COMMENTS...
"......Everyone was singing your praises as the organizer who turned out such a wonderful group of feminists for the event. The program for the lunch was great. The passing of the torch was handled so well by calling from the group the oldest and youngest there....Once again, thank you for your work in putting together a terrific gathering."
Best to you,
B. J. STAR COMMENTS...
Dear Eleanor, It was such a pleasure to meet you last Monday. The luncheon was a lovely event, and the new friends I made and the conversations I shared with other attendees, were real highlights. Everyone on your committee is to be complimented, but I know that your personal input was part of every decision. The entire day was just perfect ..... brava, syster !
I would also like to thank you for the honor of receiving one of your Medals of Honor. I was thrilled to receive the compliment of the award and you have no idea how proud I am to have been chosen. It was one of the highlights of my feminist career and I will cherish the memory always.
Again, thank you for a lovely day filled with loving feminist energy and good woman spirits. Hope to hear from you soon. BJ