OCTOBER 18, 2000 - VFA CELEBRATES the 30th
of WOMEN'S STRIKE FOR
A BRIEF STORY 0F STRIKE 1970
Jacqui Ceballos and Joan
moved mountains, changed the course of rivers-but we also lost a lot. We
lost high heels, tight bras and girdles and fashion-certified hemlines. We
lost the need to have a man cosign our leases and credit cards. We lost
the obligation to follow society's dictates about the kinds of careers we
could aspire to, at having to accept lower wages that compromised our
dignity. We lost being defined by our marriage-or-not state, by our sexual
orientation. We lost the fear of lawyers and courts who left us in poverty
after divorce. And, as Robin Morgan put it so well, "Goodbye to All
Goodbye to limited career opportunities, to quotas in
medical schools and other male-only domains. To men-only restaurants,
bars, executive airline flights, clubs, college libraries. To skimpy
support (if any at all) for women's sports. To disbelief, disregard and
disdain of sexual harassment in the workplace, to sexual abuse of young
girls and children, to wife battering. To back- alley abortion
To ridicule at our demand for equality, dignity,
independence and equal pay. To being accused of ruining our children. For
being blamed for every one of society's ills. That's a lot of losing. So
come. Come reunite with your sisters in joyful celebration of all the
things we unloaded in the 70s.
It is the decade of the 70's.
Watergate. The Beatles.
After which our small movement sweeps boldly
across the country. Women's Liberation groups and NOW chapters spring up
in cities and towns, colleges and universities. Caucuses form in every
field, in government, law, medicine, sociology, psychology. Throughout the
days and throughout the nights, in lofts, apartments, in mansions and
offices from east to west, from north to south, women find new strengths.
They are seen and heard on the streets, in houses of worship, in Congress,
in the courts and the clubs, hotel dining rooms, bars, doctors' offices,
lawyers' dens. They are out to change the world.
We celebrate these
soldiers of the 70s. Some are on longer with us; many have burned out.
While we continue to search, we honor all. As we find the missing, we add
them to the Directory of Pioneer Feminists and our symbolic Feminist Wall.
We urge you to send us the names and addresses of these women in the wings
so we can honor them front and center.
1970 NYC Fifth Avenue
BETTY FRIEDAN - THE
When in 1970 Betty Friedan completed her term
as president of NOW and announced she would lead a national strike on the
50th anniversary of suffrage, Aileen Hernandez, the new president, was
stunned. How could NOW take on this immense project? But unbeatable Betty
took it on, and while the Strike didn't paralyze the nation, it made us a
That is well documented. What is not
documented is the role played by a small group of women in making the
national Strike, especially the march and other NY events, the mindblowers
Most of these women are not here tonight. Being honored
is not such a big deal for them; the growth and development of feminism
was thanks enough. But VFNs goal is to write them into the history books
so future generations will know their names, and what they did, and
understand that serving feminism is as noble a cause as fighting for one's
country. And even better than apple pie.
We dedicate this evening
to these unsung heroes who helped make us a movement.
Betty was wise to name Karen DeCrow National
Strike coordinator. Karen handled the press and revved up the formation of
NOW chapters across the country.
But if the march was to happen, it
had to happen in the Big Apple. How would Betty do it? In 1970, she wasn't
too popular with most New York feminists in the city. Lesbians were
demanding their rights within the movement, and Betty didn't handle that
too well, She could bring in the YWCA, the League of Women Voters, the
Human Rights Commission, but no way could she do it without the feminists,
the passionate crusaders on a mission to change the world.
Liberation groups were hesitant to get on the bandwagon. Nor would New
York NOW's president cooperate (until just two weeks before the great day,
when Strike fever was raging). How could I ignore so spectacular a chance
to promote our movement? I knew just about everyone, and I knew
independent feminists, the Young Socialists and new members of NOW would
be the first to answer the call. I took things into my own hands and got
on the phone.
The first to answer the call were independents Anne
Haziewood Brady and Marjorie DeFazio, and Ruthann Miller and Rosemary
Gafney of the Young Socialists. Along with Ruth Chaney, they took the
reins as planners and organizers.
There were others, some there
from Day One, who came in as the excitement mounted: Jill Ward, Mary
Vasiliades, Joyce Vinson, Jo Hazleton, Mary Scully, Carole DeSaram. The
Strike Coalition was a going thing, so as its liaison to the Coalition and
Strike coordinator I concentrated on NY NOW. My enthusiastic committee
probed for ideas for demonstrations that would attract the 50,000 marchers
we'd quoted to the press.
"Let's take over the Statue of Liberty,"
Patricia Lawrence said. "The Puerto Ricans did it last year." With Marian
Gannet, Pat strategized the event. And so 40-foot banners-"Women of the
World Unite" and "March on August 26 for Equality"- --were hung on Ms.
Liberty's balconies a few days before the 26th, and the shot was heard
around the world.
A few weeks before the big day I had taken charge
of the press conference when Betty Friedan, stuck on the Long Island
Railroad, didn't show up. I told reporters (looking at their watches and
threatening to leave) that not only would thousands march, we'd distribute
our own newspaper, we'd place plaques around the city to mark where
statues of great women would be erected, give "Barefoot and Pregnant
Awards" to ad agencies for their sexist commercials. Now we had to make it
By now the excitement quotient had blown off the Richter
scale and every feminist group in town was planning actions. The NOW YORK
TIMES was done in less than two weeks by Deborah Beale, Nancy Borman, Ivy
Boftini, Tiffany Holmes, Jillian Mulvihill, Rose Atamian, Maria Malero,
Sharon Rost, Clara DeMiha. Some wrote articles under pen names like Judith
Capulet, who authored "Marriage Legalized as a Career." (Guess you know
Betty Barry of the Marriage and Divorce Committee was Judith!) The New
York Radical Feminists, The Feminists, Redstookings, Media Women, every
group in town planned demonstrations for the 26th and helped swell the
ranks of marchers.
All these great soldiers who ran the coalition,
planned the demonstrations, organized the march and the rally, we honor
them now and forever.
A SALUTE TO A FEMINIST
FUTURE AND VFA'S ROLE
LOOK WHAT WE
STARTED! American women are fighting to help women around the globe, to
ftee them from poverty, rape, genital mutilation, marital abuse, "honor
'killings, eternal pregnancies --you remember it, you name it. We will
continue until every woman has access to education, employment, marital
equity, birthcontrol, healthbenefits. We here know our movement can only
claim success when women around the world have human rights. And this
could take centuries.
Our vision is the VFA will be a support for
future generations of veterans. We are now reaching out to veterans of
1976 to 1985. Though I'll work with VFA as long as I'm able, my hope is
that we will have a New York office with at least one paid assistant, and
active committees to help with public relations, fundraising, membership,
etc. To do this we need to be set up on a solid footing, and we need our
members to help. What can you do?
E-mail Jacqui at address:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Get busy and put us on the
BROWNMILLER - A civil
rights activist in the'60s, Susan, a writer, was sent to report on women's
liberation in 1967. She joined the cause and became a member of the New
York Radical Feminists. A great orchestrator, she planned the Ladies Home
Journal Sit-in in 1969. She also organized a force against pornography and
probably is responsible for getting pom off Broadway. She s written for
many newspapers and several books. Among them "Against Our Will," about
rape, and her latest book "in Our Time," the story of the second wave of
the feminist movement.
CEBALLOS -Joined NYNOW
in 1967. headed the public relations committee and speakers bureau and
cofounded and did PR for Anselma Dell Olio's New Feminist Theatre. She
helped organize the Strike Coalition and was Strike Coordinator for the
chapter in 1970. She was the chapter president in '71 and Eastern Regional
Director in '72. She helped Befty Friedan found the National Women's
Political Caucus, ran as a delegate for Shirley Chisholm for President and
was a founder and Exec Director of the Women's Forum. With Jane Field and
Dell Williams, she ran a speakers bureau and PR firm. In 1990 she did
interviews for the Schlesinger Library's History of NOW project funded by
Mary Jean Tully and founded the Veteran Feminists of America in '92.
- Besides being National
Strike Coordinator, Karen founded Syracuse New York NOW, was Eastern
Regional Director and President of national NOW for two terms. She
organized the first political conference in Seneca Falls in 1971, is a
founder of the NY and National Women's Political Caucus. Karen has written
several books on feminism. She writes a syndicated column on current
issues and practices law in Syracuse.
CAROLE DESARAM - joined NOW in 1970 and helped carry the banner
"Women of the World Unite" down Fifth Avenue 8/26/1970 and with other
feminists climbed up the side of the NY Public Library with the banner at
the end of the march, and, in 1972 hung it on the Statue of Liberty. She
headed up zap actions, closing down the Stock Exchange, Citi Bank and
other institutions that discriminated against women. She created the FBI
poster (Feminist Bureau of Investigation) along with Nancy Borman and
Doris Rush with pictures of CEO's who discriminated against women. She
started the national movement to end discrimination in giving women
credit. She also chaired several committees locally and nationally, became
President of the NYC Chapter in 1974 and served on the National Board of
LAROUCHE - In 1969
Janice impressed three NYNOW members at the Albert Ellis Institute when
she refuted the allegations of the speaker (topic -"The New Woman"). they
invited her head the speakers-bureau. She joined NY NOW and was on the.
board. Aware of women's need to learn how to succeed in the business
world, she started a study group that developed into the Career Workshops
for Women. "Women were raised to be housewives- Strategies for success in
business was not on their horizon, they couldn't deal with money, and
needed assertiveness training. She studied psychology and added this
dimension to the Career Workshops. A founder of VFA, for the first year
she held feminist soirees at her apartment, where Kate Millett, Evelyn
Cunningham, Barbara Seaman, Phyllis Chesler, Letty Cottin Pogrebin and
other veterans held sway. Janice still gives career training classes and
does consulting for corporations and businesses.
KATE MILLETT - Was a member of NYCITY NOW since 1967. As head
of the chapters education committee she wrote Token Leaming, a booklet
which exposed the seven sister colleges - (to educate young women to be
wives and mothers). Her doctoral thesis was published as a book Sexual
Politics in 1970 and caused an immediate sensation. Among her other books
- Flying and The Loony Bin. An artist of note, her tree farm in upstate
New York is also an women's art colony.
JENNIE BATLEY - Princeton, NJ, NYC. After the events of 1970,
Simone de Beauvoir's "The Sex" become even more meaningful. Upon finishing
my Ph.D. at Columbia University in the Department of French and Romance
Philology, In 1977 I taught French language and literature at Princeton
U., a fierce bastion of male chauvinism. During my first year of tenure my
colleagues labeled me a 'feminist', a derogatory term. But some students
were interested in the new currents of ideas, and for them I compiled a
reading list of French women authors, tracing the roots of feminism to a
medieval French poetess. Thanks to what happened in 1970, 1 felt support
in my search for the feminine voice and gained enough confidence to oppose
some males of the Old Boy Network. Condescendence and arrogance was only a
cover up for their insecurity. Their common goal then was to control
women, neutralize our power and cancel our eagerness to be a vibrant part
of the intellectual community. But thanks to the sisters who opened a
breach in the stoned wall of male dominion, who courageously lead us, I
found the courage to become, in 1977, the isolated bearer of a feminist
torch in the underworld of Princeton University megalomanic
BRADY moved to the city
from New Jersey around 1969. A poet and writer starting a new life after
raising four sons, she became active at the Women's Center in Manhattan. A
freelance feminist, she was the first one to answer the call. At the first
meeting (somewhere in Soho), Anne plunked down the vital $1,000 for an
office. The exuberance of the march is captured in her beautiful poem on
our cover, We took to the streets like a river. She's published books of
poetry on her own and with Marjorie DeFazio. In the early 1970s, Anne
moved to Maine, where she continues writing when not climbing Machu Picchu
or canoeing through the Grand Canyon.
DOROTHY CROUCH - was an active member of NOW NY from 1969 to
1974, serving on the Membership Task Force, as chair of the board, in 1972
as president and later as a member of the Advisory Council. Today she is
DC Comic's vp of licensed publishing and associate publisher of MAD
Magazine. She is also the founder and president of Crouch International,
which provides publishing-related services to clients on three continents.
Previously, Dorothy had been vp, general manager and vp? International for
Warner Books and vp, International for Warner Publisher Services. Dorothy
is also active on the American Arbitration Association's commercial panel
of arbitrators, and is the author of the book "Entertaining Without
DEFAZIO - Living on the
Upper West Side with her husband and three sons, Marjorie heard the call.
Aware of the writer's need for "A Room of One's Own," she split her huge
apartment in two--her husband and sons on one end, she on the other-and
switched priorities; housekeeping time was now writing time.
helped out at the Women's Center and was one of the Strike's principal
organizers. A poet, playwright and director, Marjorie compiled and edited
with Anne Raising Our Voices, Women Through the Ages, poetry about women
by women. Later, with Patricia Horan she wrote, directed and acted in What
Time of Night It Is, the story of the 19th century feminist movement
performed for NOWs national conference in 1972. In 1975, again with
Patricia, she wrote and directed the story of women's progress in the US
as seen through their underwear; it was presented at the Hotel Pierre with
Colleen Dewhurst as narrator to an audience of distinguished feminists and
the press. Today she lives on a farm in upstate New York.
DIENSTAG -New York City.
The march was the first major step in my becoming an outspoken activist. I
had recently moved - reluctantly - from New York City to Rochester. Back
in New York for a visit, pushing my baby in a stroller, I came upon 'The
March', and absolutely had to be a part of it, so I handed the baby and
stroller over to my mother, told her I'd see her later, gota 'WomenUnite'
shoppingbag (now framed and on my wall)and marched. l had already
contributed to 'Ms.' magazine, but the event galvanized me to further
action. Back in Rochester I joined NOW and wrote, Whither Thou Goest: The
Story of an Uprooted Wife. The book made me 'notorious' in upstate New
York. My children and I even got hate phonecalls. So I would say that the
march was the first major step in my becoming an outspoken activitist. The
feminist movement, and my participation transformed my life as a wife,
mother, sister, writer and person, in every way. I think of the 1970s as a
golden age for women of my generation - a fabulous time to be a woman. It
was not only personally empowering but it began to change the workplace,
so that after leaving my marriage I could earn a living and support my
children (two boys), who have turned out to be wonderfully feminist
husbands and fathers.
BEINER-NYC - I joined
the NYCity chcipter of NOW (where it all began) in response to the '71
'lesbian purge.' I was an active reporter on the early feminist newspaper
Majority Report; was editor of the NOW-NY Chapter Newsletter from 1972to
1975 and was Chairperson of the NOW-NY Chapter Board in 1974. 1 was an
active NOW-NY member from 1971 until 1980. Since 1981 1 have been, and
still am, a NOW-East End Chapter member. 515 E 85 St 10G - NYNY
CONSTANCE COMER -NYC
Constance Comer was a
'housewife and mother' Manhattan style when she heard about the women's
movement and decided the "problem that had no name' was her problem, too.
She joined NYNOW and changed her life. She was soon lobbying in
Washington for the ERA, and sitting on the steps of the Capitol in an "all
night vigil' holding ERA signs.
In 1970 she was the .priestess'
who led the dedication of the park where statues of Susan B. Anthony and
Sojourner Truth would hopefully be erected. Her photo reading the
dedication is on this event's invitation. Connie is a teacher and a
partner in Business Training Seminars. 70 West 95 St NYC 10025
HENNESSEE - The movement
crystalized so much that I'd thought all my life, and the march was my
opportunityto do somrthing about it. It was the most thrilling thing in
the world. I joined New York-NOW and began working on a license challenge
to WABC-TV, a long project that focused on sexism in the media and forced
the station to sit down and deal with us and make changes. Thirty years
later I wrote a biography of Betty Friedan, 'Betty Friedan: Her Life'
published lost year by Random House. Recalling those wild, wonderful days,
I'm so very proud of the history we made.
TIFFANY HOLMES - NYC - Joining NOW just a few months before the strike,
I was soon caught up in the fever-pitch excitement of its preparations. As
part of that, I jined those who were producing the parody of the Times:
The Now York Times.
Some of us even went out at night to sneak
copies of it into newsstands' copies of the real thing, giving
unsuspecting buyers a bonus with their morning coffee. We also distributed
copies on THE day, August 26, 1970. In fact, we had so much fun with this
that we produced the paper for two more years! My other main contribution
to feminism; writing the book WOMAN'S ASTROLOGY-. Your Astrological Guide
to a Future Worth Having, debunking the sexist programming that SO many
horoscope articles - and individual readings! - provided. I am an editor
by profession and write mystery stories. 100 Beeker St 7G NYNY
JUDITH KAPLAN -
NYC, Boca Raton, FL -
Joined NYC NOW in 1970 and served as treasurer and fundraiser. She
organized a Monte Carlo night, was active on the Image Committee, lobbied,
demonstrated, created and sold a women's history collectible series, "the
Women's History Series of First Day Covers by NOW-NY." She salvaged
historic material from the 'Second Wave" including New York NOW
newsletters, announcements and magazines.
It is all cataloged and
listed and available to students and teachers. Since the mid 1960's she's
promoted women's history as the cornerstone to the advancement of our sex.
She's published articles on women in history, and women on stamps in the
philatelic and non- philatelic press. She wrote 'Women Suffrage on First
Day Covers" depicting how stamps told the story of the Suffrage Movement,
collected autographed letters, documents, books, memorabilia about women's
history, especially of the early feminist movement and donated the
collection to the Central Florida Community College in Ocala, Florida.
Called the Kaplan Women's History Collection, it is on permanent display
and is in a traveling exhibit yearly. Judith has had her my own business
since 1974. In 1980 she, her husband (also a collector) and two children
moved to Florida, where she offered her business facilities for the Palm
Beach NOW chapter. Her phone was the Rape Crisis and the Support ERA hot
line. In '85 she represented the state as the Small Business Person For
Florida. Today she is a Trustee of the Feminist Scholarship Foundation in
Boca Raton, an advisor to the Kaplan Women's History Collection and to the
National Museum of Women's History, which is establishing a comprehensive
Women's History Museum in Washington, DC.
ANN JULIANO JAWIN - My first real "action" was being part of the
l970 march in NYC. I felt exhiliarated by being part of the women
demonstrating for their rights. I was also sobered by seeing the anger and
hostile looks and words some on the sidelines threw at us. I joined the
Task Force on Education and Employment and the rest is "herstory!"
I stayed with the Task Force for almost ten years. During that
time, edited the last two of the NYC Reports on Sex Bias in the N.Y.Public
Schools Series l973 to l979. Report and testimony led to the Bd of
Education adopting policy for equal opportunity and appointing a Title IX
Coordinator for each school. Filed Class Action law suit against Bd. of
Ed. discrimination against women supervisors resulting in court monitoring
appointment practices. Designed and taught first Inservice Course in
Women's Rights required for new teachers.
Published one of the first full
resource books for women, A WOMAN'S GUIDE TO CAREER PREPARATION,
Scholarships, Grants and Loans, Anchor Press, 1979.
Ran for public
office of N.Y.S. Assembly and N.Y.S. Senate. Held Democratic Party office
of District Leader and State Committeewoman.
Women's Center, a full resource center for women in l987. Established lst
office in office space donated in Queens Borough Hall and in l998, granted
occupancy in landmark building in decommissioned Army Base at Ft. Totten,
Bayside, Queens to become the first women's full service women's center in
New York City.
Recognized by NOW, NYC, Susan B. Anthony Award.
Nominated to Hunter College Hall of Fame. Received the Ralph Bunche Award
for Human Rights, Queens Chapter of the U.N. Assn, Queens Chapter. Mayor's
Volunteer Service Award. Most of these awards were given in recognition of
the work I was doing for women.
JUDITH LORBER - I came into the women's movement in 1971 when I
finished my Ph.D. Women's rights and gender equality were the most
important questions of my time, as far as I was concerned. I'd been a
"latent feminist' since I was 14 years old (way before the movement was in
the public view).
I began to develop and teach women's studies
courses in sociology and then in the new women's studies program at
Brooklyn College in New York City. I was the first Coordinator of the CUNY
Graduate School Women's Studies Certificate Program
When Sociologists for Women in Society was organized
in 1972, 1 was one of its first members. I was president in 1981-82 and
Founding Editor in 1987 of its new official journal, Gender & Society.
All of my professional work has been in feminism - my books - Paradoxes of
Gender (Yale 1994) and Gender Inequality: Feminist Theories and Politics
(Roxbury, 1998), my research on women and medicine, published as Gender
and the Social Construction of Illness (Sage 1997) and Women Physicians:
Careers, Status, and Power (Tovistock 1984), and my teaching in the US and
in other countries. In 1996, 1 received the American Sociological
Association Jessie Bernard Career Award for my contributions to feminist
scholarship. I am just as proud to have raised a son (now 32 years old) to
be a feminist who is going to marry a feminist next June.
BARBARA MARTIN - Greenwich, CT - A librarian, Barbara joined NOW
in 1970, and was president of Greenwich NOW in '71 and Asst State
Coordinator in '75. She worked to repeal sexist legislation and on passing
the ERA in CT she wrote a book list on women's history which was
distributed nationwide; lectured and did general consciousness-raising,
especially among suburban women, for many years. She was active in
community affairs . Today she is still works part time at the Greenwich
library. She recently reunited with the son she gave up for adoption 36
years ago and says that is the most satisfying and important thing in her
life. Her son, his wife and their son are moving to Greenwich to be near
her. 54 Putman Park Greenwich, CT 06830
ELAINE MERKLIN, NYC - lt was the beginning of the'70s. Vacationing in
Provincetown I was on my way to the beach, when I saw a woman thumbing a
ride in my direction. That day, I picked up my one and only hitch-hiker -
Mary Vasiliodes - and this singular action changed my life forever. Mary
introduced me to NOW NEW YORK and all the wonderful women she knew;
eventually, this led to knowing Dolores Alexander's mother - Sally DeCario
- a dear and warm woman who helped me during a difficult time.
also gave a name and voice to thoughts and feelings I had had all my life.
Marching, picketing, attending (Can you believe it!) proud Lesbian-
feminist meetings, devouring womens' histories, and photographing events
became a way of life, sweetened by occasional dinners at Mother Courage.
It is nearly 30 years later, and my beliefs and values have only
strenghtened with time. I now live quietly on Cape Cod - knowing that I am
one woman among many women from countless generations of women - all of
worth cind with a story to tell. Blessed be Mary V. and blessed be you
all, Elaine Margaret (after my dear grandmother) Merklin. 61 Newport Rd.
Brewster, MA 02631
MICHEL - NYC - Guess you
could say I was sort-of like the wife.... did my thing behind the scenes,
never in the spotlight, never to the roar of the crowd. I helped the
beautiful (too-soon gone) Pat McQuillan organize the first-ever Marriage
and Divorce conference, which in effect legitimized the movement for a lot
of women-they called them housewives then-who were unsophisticated about
feminism. I remember that rainy night well .... it was early enough to
make the evening news, and excited women come running in off the streets.
My activist journey started in 1971, when I rode the bus from Riverdale-I
even had to borrow the $1 fare from Irma Diamond (Newmark) -to the NOW
office. Jacqui was president and swamped with paperwork (someone had to
stuff the envelopes) and inquires ('What is it you women want?') From then
on I did the desk (licked the stamps & answered the phones) and helped
with the Women's Forum, the Politcal Caucus and wrote press releases out
of Jacqui's apartment. Kept at it slow and steady since then, doing what I
could when I could to burn the sexism out of language (does everyone know
that Hero was a woman?). I was one of the founders in 1992 of the VFA and
have been VP of PR ever since. These days I help Jacqui with some big
do's. I'm a writer and editor (for Hadossch magazine) and a food writer
and editor (freelance) for several publications and cookbook writers. I
have three sons and twelve grandchildren so for. Not bad for a late
IRMA DIAMOND NEWMARK
-NYC, Pompano Beach, FL
- I was a suburban housewife when I first heard Jacqui speak and was
immediately galvanized to enter NYC NOW where I was active on the Image
and the Employment committees. I participated in the 'Fly Me' campaign and
delivered ' Barefoot and Pregnant' awards to advertizers on August 26 in
New York City. It was exciting, as we were trying to change womens
inferior image in the media. During this time drvorced, worked on my Ph.D
(in Sociology) and formed the first Bronx NOW chapter.
I then at
several colleges, including Iona in New Rochelle and the NYC, Bronx branch
of Continuing Education. My daughter and son were always very supportive,
even proud of my work. In '75 I married, and moved with my husband and his
three children to Israel, where we lived for several years. There I
continued my work in Sociology and, with my dentist husband, formed
Dentists of the World. We spent several years in Japan as consultants to
Japanese businesses. We returned to NYC in '91 where I become active with
with the Status of Women Committee at the United Notions and was a
co-founder of the VFA. Today I live in South Florida and am in touch with
the NOW chapters in that area.
GRACIA MOLINA PICK - San Diego,
CA - Gracia began her
activism as a teenager in her native Mexico in the fight for the vote for
Mexican women. She earned her B.A. from the Feminist University of Mexico
City, School of Diplomatic Low, married Richard Pick and moved to San
Diego. While caring for her three children, she got her M.A. from Son
Diego State U, and began her doctoral studies in comparitive literature
and Education Administration. She was on the faculty at UCSD, UCR, UCSS
and Mesa College.
She's worked with Cesar Chavez's Grape Pickers
union On August 26, 1970 Gracia and the Organizacion Feminil and the
Chicano activists were preparing to march in the Chicano Moratorium, the
largest non-violent latino protest against the Vietnam. (Latina losses
were near the total American casualties in WWII). In the early 1970's she
formed the first Latina Women's Liberation group and invited Gloria
Steinem to help celebrate. In 1975 she represented her group at the United
Nations Conference on Women in Mexico. Gracia has worked tirelessly on
behalf of Democratic candidates, and helped with the first successful
effort to begin the grossroots integration of minorities into the State
Democratic Party For years she has helped register new citizens at the
Naturcilization Ceremony in Son Diego, and in 1996, along with her
colleagues, registered 14,500 new voters. All the while, she volunteers at
hospitals and serves the homeless on Sundays .
Invited to take part
in our celebration of Gloria Steinem in 1994, Gracia first learned of VFA,
and has been one of our chief volunteers since then. She is now our West
Coast Vice President.
1016 New Kirk Dr. La Jolla, CA
LEE BLEDA OLIVER -
NYC - I walked into
Central Park on August 26, 1970 and found that the marchers had nearly
reached the West Side. The "Feminist Mystique' showed me how normal I
really was! In the '60's I worked in the Civil Rights Movement, but the
Civil Rights Movement never worked for me, or for other women who had a
right to expect a better way of life. I joined NOW and was a member of the
board in 1971.
Nancy Gordon and I were joint chairs of the
Political Affairs Committee and produced a booklet called 'Women and the
City: How to Use the Machinery.' In '71-- I was one of the founding
members of the Women's Advocacy Committee and with help from women who
worked for the City of New York we formed a resume bank. We issued a
report called "A Study on The Women in New York City Government: Clerical
Workers.' It showed that women received lower pay, needed more education,
received less promotions and got fewer options than men in similar job
categories. In the years following, I picketed, made lobbying trips to
Washington for the ERA and tried to make life uncomfortable for
politicians and firms who discriminated against women. Pat Korbet,
MaryVasiliades and I formed 'Women's lnterprises,' a mail-order catolog of
women's products. Recently at the Church of the Holy Trinity I addressed a
group and distributed a report called 'Women: Issues of Yesterday, Today
and the Future.'
RUSH - In 1970 Florence
become involved with New York Radical Feminists. She wrote and published
'Best Kept Secret: Sexual Abuse of Children.' She helped organize OWL
(Older Women's Liberation) was a media representative in NYNOW and Women
Against Pornography.' She lectures on women's issues, Freudian influences,
rape, etc..and is now an AIDS activist related to women and children.
LAURA SCHARF - NYC
Laura joined NOW around
1970 and worked with Midge Kovacs and the Image Committee on the Public
Service campaign. (Among other things, the committee did television
monitoring of every station for two weeks, and filed a petition to deny
the license renewal of WABC-TV). A board member, she headed the Sexuality
Committee and, with Dell Williams, organized two sexuality conferences.
She remembers never ending meetings, high visibility for all NOW actions
and those famous sexuality conferences, the first ever held. She later
moved to Cortland Manor, NY with her husband and children and refocused
her priorities into the non-profit sector, starting her own business
public relations, fund-raising, organizing and writing.
Brook Rd Cortdiant Manor, NY 10566
DOROTHY SENERCHIA -NYC The co-founder of Veteran Feminists of America,
Dorothy was active from 1969 to 1974. A member of NewYorkNOW, she was a
supporter of the New Feminist Theater led by Anselma Dell'Olio, a frequent
marcher for abortion rights and other issues (when she could get away from
her position on Urban Planning for the City of New York), on the Strike
Coalition in New York and counselor for Big Sisters program.
remembers meetings in church basements, the 1970 march down Fifth Avenue
and Mother Courage, a feminist hang-out in the Village (run by Dolores
Alexander and Jill Word) . In 1980 she made a film, "The Funeral. " After
an illness doctors couldn't diagnose, she wrote 'Silent Menace' a book on
signs and treatment of chronic candidiasis. Starting life as a violinist,
today she studies piano and supports theater groups. She is on the board
of VFA and is Dining Room Coordinator for VFA banquets.
1161 York Ave
NYNY 1 0021
-NYC - Elayne stepped
into the street and into women's history on August 26, 1970 during the
Great March . She joined NOW immediately. Believing everyone should join
and work for equality, she began as Membership Coordinator for the New
York chapter and the roll went up to 1500. President of the chapter in
'74, she promoted women in business along with NOW issues, and created the
NOW Christmas Fairs, where women entrepreneurs sold their wares and
advertised their businesses. She ran the Women's Chair Memorial, a chapter
fund raiser, where people honored women in history by buying a chair with
names of their hero (or their names) stenciled on the chair.
over 100 sold are still in use today. She started a Public Speaking class
to help the women to better communicate the issues and found her career
path. She then taught "Effective Communication Skills for Women " at the
Woman School, one of the first continuing education colleges addressing
women's new needs. Today she teaches at New York University and at the
American Management Association and conducts a speech consulting business.
She has authored two books on public speaking, Speak for Yourself With
Confidence, the first of its kind to use the word SHE Elayne Snyder
exclusively, and Persuasive Business Speaking. This last, and her Random
House Audio Tape, The Persuasive Speaker, are still available. She is a
founder of the Veteran Feminists of America.
ALETA STYERS - Chicago (now in NYC)
- VFA!s head of our
newly formed Financial Committee is the founder and first president of the
Chicago NOW chapter. She led the chapter in efforts to desexigrate the
Chicago Tribune and local restaurants, to repeal discriminatory employment
laws and to gain access for women to trade schools. She raised funds for
efforts to support the Martin Marietta case and to prevent Senate
ratification of Judge Carswell's appointment to the Supreme
The first woman in the management program of Paine Webber
holds a B.A. from New York U and graduate degrees from Yale and
She's been a Foreign Service Officer of the Dept. of
State, an International Economist for the Harris Bank, and a Corporate
Manager of Economic Planning at Babcock & Wilcox. While at B & W
she was named one of the ten leading American women in manufacturing.
Today she lives and runs her own business in New York City. One of the
early women members of the Yale Club of New York, she's held several
official positions with the Club. The second woman to serve a full term on
the Council, the governing body, she's also served on the Planning and the
SMITH WATKINS - Des Moines, IO & Minneapolis,
MN - Prior to 1970 1 had
read the Feminine Mystique and knew it spoke to me. I lived in Des Moines
at the time and joined NOW as a national member. I was inspired by NOW
Acts and all the news of what was going on. I decided that I must get
active, so I convened the Des Moines NOW Chapter. I moved to Minneapolis
where I immediately plunged into feminist activities which eventually
culminated into 6 years of service on the NOW National Board. While I
worked on many issues within NOW, I also worked for feminism via my career
in social services. I am specifically gratified that in the latter context
I was responsible for passage of the first Child Care Sliding Fee
legislation in Minnesota, 5841 Whited Av., Minnetonka MN 55345 Phone
952-934-2525 Email: VirginiaWatkins@MSN.com
GRACE WELCH - lslandia,
NY - On the day I saw
that banner headline about the Women's Strike March down Fifth Avenue in
the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS I called the New York NOW office, was put in touch
with Nassau NOW and joined on the spot and immediately became active. I
handled public relations for the chapter, attended board meetings, and
helped form the first Long Island Feminist Coalition press conference at
Hofstra University with an action against the Colonie Hill Hotel in
Hauppauge and the American Red Cross for sex discrimination. In 1973 nine
women and one man, (my husband, Frank) convened the South Shore NOW
chapter. I served as Chapter President for two terms, 1974 to 1976. We
held the first Human Sexuality Conference on Long Island at Dowling
College in 1974, the first Assertiveness Training Classes in Oakdale,
L.I., the first co-ed Consciousness Raising Groups, the first Masculine
Mystique consciousness-raising - meeting with editors of NEWSDAY, the
first 'Women's Image in Advertising' at the Long Island Advertising Club.
We challenged (successfully) Little League discriminating against girls
joining. In 1 973 1 ran for Central Islip School Board on a Title IX
platform. My research revealed that the sports budget for male students
was $43,000, and the girls' $300! My years as a feminist activist have
been the most rewarding experiences of my life, and continues to sustain
and energize me. I've been secretary and treasurer of VFA for three years
and am working in Hillary's campaign. Note: Grace is also a yoga teacher.
67 Scotch Pine Rd Islandia, NY II 722
FRANK WELCH - Islandia, NY -
Frank Prince Welch,
husband of Grace, was Treasurer of the Long Island chapter of NOW in 1975.
He was always there to schlep, deliver, paste, post, drive, you name it,
DELL WI LLIAMS -
New York City - On
August 26, 1970 I was working as on account executive in a Fifth Avenue
firm when I saw the women lined up to march down the avenue. I joined
them, and joined NOW, immediately becoming active in many areas. I
organized fund raising and celebratory events for the chapter. That year,
1972, I co- founded one of the first feminist businesses, New Feminist
Talent, a speakers bureau, with Jacqui Ceballos and Jane Field, to supply
the demand for feminist speakers . Still active in the chapter, Judy
Wenning, the president in 1973, asked me to organize a conference on
women's sexuality. My life really changed radically then. The theme was to
"explore, expand and calibrate our sexuality. It was the first sexuality
conference in the world, and I believe it started the women's sexuality
movement. For the women who attended, in many ways it changed their lives.
I organized a second conference a year or so later, and then founded the
first women's sexuality boutique, EVE's GARDEN, a mail-order business to
destribute products and information and to assist women on their path to
sexual liberation. I ran the business for twenty years.
In 1992, I
was a co-founder of the Veteran Feminists of America and have been on the
board since then. I was born in the Bronx and started my professional life
as a singer and actress . During WWII -- I was in the Army and traveled
with a theatre group to entertain the troups. Today I am making
commercials and looking to do more acting.
MARGALO ASHLEY FARRAND - Pittsburgh, NYC, L.A
A NOW member since 1970,
she was on the founding board of Pennsylvania NOW, convenor i president of
East Hills Pittsburgh chapter, and Co-coordinator of Eastern Regional NOW
Convention. In '73 she was legal assistant to NOW lawyer, Sylvia Roberts,
helping with Title Vil individual and class action suits against the U. of
Pittsburgh. In New York in '73 she negotiated agreements with KABC-TV and
KNBC- TV- filed petitions to deny the licenses of KNXT, KTLA, KTTV &
KCOP. Graduated from NYU Cum Laude in 1978 in Poiities and Mass
Media/Journalism, she moved to California, graduated from Southwestern U
School of Law and has been a practicing attorney since 1981 in Family Law.
She was president of the Pasadena Interracial Women's Club, Co- president,
Hollywood NOW, convenor/ coordinator of Los Angeles Women's Coalition. She
researched Constitutional issues for a sex discrimination suit against the
1984 Olympics and proposed civil rights legislation, which helped win
women right to compete in marathon and other sports in '84 Olympics. She
was a candidate for Los Angeles County Supervisor, 5th District, '92 and
for California Assembly, 59th District in 1994.
SHERRY ROGERS - Forest Hills, NY. I lived in Schenectady during
the 1970 march. I became aware of the Women's movement when I heard
Shirley Chisholm announce her candidacy for President in Albany, NY in
January, 1972. 1 got into a CR group and it changed my life. Actually, it
saved my life! I became active because we were busy ferrying women down to
NYC from the Albany area to get safe abortions and wanted to change the
laws so they could have safe legal abortions closer to home. I moved to
Forest Hills later, and was president of the Brooklyn chapter in the mid
70s. I was elected while on vacation.. No one else wanted the job! I'm
currently active in getting ERA passed into low! It's my priority before I
SANDY WARSHAW -
Honored by NYCNOW with
the Susan B. Anthony award in 1994, Sandy has been an activist in OWL,
served two terms on the board and is currently on the steering committee
of the Greater New York Chapter. She was in the Peace Movement, helped
open alternate schools in New York during integration battles, was
founding vice-president of SHARE ( Self Help Experience for Women with
Breast and Ovarian Cancer. She is on the Executive Committee of the World
Congress of Gay and Lesbian and Bisexual Jewish Organizations and is
Director of the Dept of Policy, Education and Community Organzing for SAGE
- Senior Action in the Gay Environment.
MARY VASILIADES - New York City A public relations executive in early 1970, Mary
was intrigued by the news coming from the feminist movement. As a board
member of the Publicity Club of New York she organized a panel discussion
on women's liberation, inviting Jacqui Cebellos from NOW, and Mindo
Bickman and Diane Caruthers of New York Radical Feminists. Jacqui
recruited her to help organize the strike and become active in NOW. She
attended coalition meetings, wrote copy for flyers and worked on the
Statue of Liberty action. The following year she again worked on the
August 26th march, writing press releases and speeches. She was elected to
the NOW board and also became active with NY Radical Feminists. She
lobbied in DC for the ERA, worked on the NYRF's Rape Prevention
Conference, and with the Manhattan Women's Political Caucus. She ran as a
delegate in the Shirley Chisholm presidential campaign and wrote for the
feminist newspaper, Majority Report and was a partner in a feminist mail
order business, Women Enterprises. Mary's photographs of many of these and
other events are included in her slide show, Memoirs of a New York
NOTE: Ann Hazlewood Brady, Marjorie DeFazto, Dorothy
Senerchia and Aleta Styers have all been active since 1969, or before.
They are included with this post-I 970 group because of their Strike
actions and because we missed them in 1996 and 1997 celebrations of NOW
and the Women's Liberation Movement.