Veteran Feminists of America


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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