Veteran Feminists of America, Inc.





7 PM -- February 27, 2013

The Pride Center at Equality Park
2040 N. Dixie Hwy., Wilton Manors, FL, 33305


A discussion facilitated by Dr. Eleanor Pam about the early days of the Women's Movement
and the personal experiences of the panelists whowere active during its formation

Co-Panelists: Marilyn Fitterman, Syd Beiner, Mary Vasiliades

Musical Performance: Sandy Rapp, singer/songwriter


 Sponsored by:

The Pride Center, Women with Pride, Women in Network (WIN), Palm Beach County National Organization for Women (NOW),
BLAST Women of WPB, Broward County National Organization for Women (NOW), Planned Parenthood of South Florida
and the Treasure Coast, Veteran Feminists of America, and 
the Boca Rap Group

DR. ELEANOR PAM was an early pioneer in the women's movement and is currently a vice president of the Veteran Feminists of America. Dr. Eleanor Pam is a biographee in the book, Feminists Who Changed America. She has been given multiple awards for her contributions to feminism (the most recent from Gloria Steinem), and frequently appears in newspaper, magazine and television interviews, including The Oprah Winfrey Show.

MARILYN FITTERMAN is a feminist activist, mother of five, and grandmother of nine. She served from 1988-1992 as President of the National Organization for Women - New York State. She was also National NOW Northeast Regional Director and currently serves as Long Island, New York's East End NOW President. An experienced lobbyist, Fitterman has often spoken on First Amendment Free Speech, Separation of Church and State, Abortion, and Reproductive Rights. She is a founding member and Vice President of the national free speech organization, Feminists For Free Expression.

 SYD BEINER is a retired teacher of English literature and film history. She was a reporter and book/film critic for the early feminist newspaper, Majority Report (1971-1974). In 1969, she joined the group, Radical Feminists, and in 1971 Beiner became a member of NOW "in response to the lesbian purge." She was the first editor of the NY NOW newsletter (1971-75) and Chair of its board in 1975.

MARY VASILIADES was part of the organizing committee for the 1970 Women’s Strike for Equality in NYC including the takeover of the Statue of Liberty with the banner, "Women of the World Unite!” In addition to her demanding, full-time job, she co-chaired a workshop at the famous 1971 NY Radical Feminist Conference on Rape, and started NY NOW's first anti-rape committee, which focused on changing the anti-women laws on rape. Vasiliades also ran with Flo Kennedy and Gloria Steinem to be a Shirley Chisholm delegate at the 1972 Democratic Presidential Convention.

SANDY RAPP is a singer/songwriter and grassroots activist who recounted her legislative battles with the religious right in the book, God's Country: A Case Against Theocracy. A veteran performer of the Stonewall-era Manhattan bars, Rapp's venues include the 2004 March for Women's Lives, hundreds of national and state rallies, and the Gay Millennium March.

This event was free of charge.

Contact the Pride Center at: 954.463.9005


Eleanor Pam




Eleanor Pam, Marilyn Fitterman, Syd Beiner, Sandy Rapp singing"Remember Rose: A Song For Choice."

The reviews are in and the accolades keep coming! Our VFA sponsored panel discussion, ON THE FRONT LINES OF FEMINISM was a smash hit! The event either provoked or satisfied some hunger for programs like this because there was an instantaneous clamor for more of the same.

The rain that had been coming down all day and evening on February 27, 2013 in Ft Lauderdale seemed not to have dampened the spirits or depressed the attendance of this South Florida audience. Most heard about the panel by virtue of membership in one or more of the seven other sponsoring local women's organizations--activist groups that included Broward County NOW, Planned Parenthood, Palm Beach County NOW. They crowded into the room, eager to hear four Veterans speak about their experiences as pioneer feminists in the early Women's Movement. There was no charge for the event and refreshments were served.

The panelists were Eleanor Pam, VFA Vice President for Media Relations (who organized and facilitated the event), Mary Vasiliades, Syd Beiner, and Marilyn Fitterman. All are members of VFA and biographees in FEMINISTS WHO CHANGED AMERICA. Each spoke in chronological order--starting with Pam who was the earliest among them to join the feminist movement and ending with Fitterman who was the last. This provided an interesting and valuable timeline for early feminism and its important foremothers. The panel regaled the audience with some fascinating stories of early actions they planned and/or took part in. Each described the reasons and personal circumstances that precipitated and inspired their respective activism.

These presentations were warmly received by the audience who sat in respectful silence throughout the two hour event that also included two videos--Al Sutton's EQUALITY and VFA Board Member Martha Wheelock's ONE FINE DAY--as well as musical performances by singer/songwriter Sandy Rapp. At one point, three of the panelists joined Rapp and sang back-up for the final piece, "Remember Rose: A Song For Choice.". Eventually, the audience joined in too.


Mary Vasiliades and Eleanor Pam

All five presenters wore their VFA Medals Of Honor which set the stage for the Medaling ceremony. Ample time was left for a Q&A and the audience participation was robust and comprehensive. Although the panelists had talked extensively about historical events that took place decades ago, none of the questions probed this past. Instead every query or comment was prospective--looking forward at future possibilities, focusing on the next generations of females, worrying about the prognosis for the ERA.

At the conclusion of the event, the audience rose spontaneously and applauded the panelists. It was a very long and enthusiastic standing ovation. Later, there were many private expressions of gratitude and pride.

Stimulated and palpably reluctant to leave right away, most in the audience lingered, talking excitedly to each other and to the panelists. Security finally arrived to turn out the lights and suddenly, it was over.



Comments: Eleanor Pam

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