THE KAPLAN REPORT
April 6, 2002 -- Boca Raton
For Immediate Release
Judith Kaplan, SPBC NOW 561 -417-2649
Mary Cameron, FAU WSC 561 -297-0163
Feminism alive and vital at all age levels.
"Women Speak Out Now" conference held at FAU attracted all age groups
Judith Kaplan, organizer of the "Women Speak Out Now" April 6th conference, summed up the results, "We accomplished exactly what we wanted to. Our goals included celebrating the past 30 years in the advancement of women's rights and women's choices and creating an Agenda to continue to shape women's future rights and choices. Our format was 'talking circles' on 15 different topics. Veteran feminists from the Veteran Feminists of America and current activists from South Palm Beach County National Organization for Women and other activist groups described 'how it was before', and what they did to improve women's lives and choices. The young feminists, young women and men explained what they felt was important to them, what needed to be accomplished and most importantly worked on preparing an Agenda for Action in the 15 areas discussed. (photo: Sheila Jaffee, Judy Kaplan and Mary Cameron)
In keeping with the future focus all event profits benefit FAU's Women's Studies Center.
'We did something different. Old Oldsmobile ads touting a new line of Olds said their new cars were 'not your father's Oldsmobile', well, this was not your mother's or father's old conference. It was new and it was different. It was multigenerational and multicultural. And it was completely participatory.
The younger participants were ignited with a fervor to be more active, to join groups or set up groups and to work to carry out the Agenda they wrote. They will 'carry the torch' and will work on what they feel is still unjust; building on what their foremothers and forefathers in the women's rights struggle did before."
Kaplan said the 15 Agendas for Action, once compiled and readable, will be widely distributed in the coming month.
Nearly 200 people attended and participated in the daylong event. As Kaplan thanked her planning committee she noted: "We had young and old attendees, veteran feminists and people just curious about feminism. Mothers brought their young children, which was wonderful. About 10-15% were people of the other gender. We helped conceive an Agenda young feminists will work on as they pick up the torch and continue improving women's lives and choices around the state, around the nation and, actually, around the world." All participants received an attractive event journal and program which could become a valuable historic document for future historians and collectors.
It wasn't all work. The event began with a engaging theatrical performance by actress and author Elizabeth Perry of excerpts of her play "Sunflower - The Lives and Loves of Elizabeth Cady Stanton" for which she received a standing ovation fired up to continue the struggle Stanton started in 1848.
The event ended with the Radical Cheerleaders' rousing protest performance demonstrating the commitment, and the energy, of young feminists.
A reception and an awards ceremony honoring pioneer Florida feminists hosted by the Veteran Feminists of America concluded the "Speak Out Now" event.
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In addition to the sponsors of the event, South Palm Beach National Organization for Women, Florida Atlantic University Women's Studies Center and the Veteran Feminists of America many groups were represented. They included several different FAU student groups, the American Association of University Women, the Older Women's League, Planned Parenthood, Jewish Women's Coalition, the Broward Women's History Coalition. Attendees were Democrats, Republicans, married, unmarried, divorced, widowed, singles, faculty members, heterosexuals lesbians, students, teachers, social workers, stay at home moms, women business owners, lawyers, accountants, bankers etc. A complete list including contact information to reach the groups will accompany the Agendas.