Veteran Feminists of America
April 1, 2016
I am pleased to send this annual report about the ongoing progress of our organization, VETERAN FEMINISTS OF AMERICA Inc.
Referenced below is our recently completed, unique and historical e-book, Our Fabulous Feminists. You can access it by going to our website to get your free copy. (http://www.vfa.us/FabFemBook.htm).
This is one of VFA's most important legacy projects--a biographical compendium of 95 Second Wave pioneers. This ambitious work is the first volume in a series of sequential e-books that we will be publishing and distributing as part of our mission to document and preserve the accomplishments of the Women's Revolution and the seismic changes to the world it brought about.
We intend to continue collecting more vital stories of the lives and achievements of those remarkable veterans who played a part in the women's revolution and invite those of you who are not in this first volume and qualify as Second Wave feminists to contact us through our Founder, Jacqui Ceballos, (email@example.com).
VFA is an organization that is rooted in the past but not stuck there. We are also deeply invested in the future and work prospectively, as we always have, as agents of change. Our constancy in developing new strategies that continue the recording of our personal and collective histories will hopefully inspire and help us keep faith with successor generations of women and girls. Such is the rationale for Our Fabulous Feminists, a gift from VFA to the future and to you. We encourage you to read and distribute it to your list serves, libraries, social media outlets, friends, colleagues, families, etc.
There are many exciting plans on the drawing board for VFA, both near and long term. We are currently close to formalizing a partnership with the New York Historical Society, Center for the Study of Women’s History. This project has been spearheaded by the vision and energy of Rebecca Lubetkin in concert with Muriel Fox, Barbara Love, Penny Colman, Penny Stoil, Judy Kaplan, Eleanor Pam.
Actually, NYHWM is both a museum and a library. Once there is agreement on a proposed protocol, VFA would have a permanent home there that will include rotating and traveling exhibits. The collections would be a hybrid encompassing both museum objects (i.e., three dimensional stuff, textiles, buttons, etc.) and paper based library items (i.e., papers, books, photographs, etc.).
When we have cleared some of the start-up details we will be soliciting items and artifacts for the collections from Second Wave feminists like yourselves. Then we'll be off and running. So get ready to start looking through your files and in your basements!
During the weekend of June 24, 2016, NOW will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in Washington, DC. Many VFA members are among NOW’s founders and pioneers, so it is appropriate that we have a role and visible presence at the conference. Mary Jean Collins, Chair of our Planning and Projects Committee, is our point person for this event.
Plans are underway for a conference of women’s history scholars for spring 2017 in Durham, North Carolina. Since the VFA archives are housed at Duke, and our lead feminist scholar is at the University of North Carolina, this is a natural location for our next major event. Our organizing committee is hard at work and is headed by Sheila Tobias, VFA Events VP, with Mary-Ann Lupa, VP for Membership, Mary Jean Collins and Kathy Rand. The event will also include a dinner honoring Southern feminists. If people have suggestions about Southern feminists who should be acknowledged, please contact Mary Jean Collins (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We are distressed by North Carolina’s new law limiting LGBT protections and we are very hopeful that this will be resolved by the time of our event, a full year from now. We are communicating VFA’s objections and concerns to all organizations with which we are working.
In the talking, but not yet in the planning stage, is an idea to host a reunion of Second Wave feminists in New York next year, possibly at Judson Church. We believe it would attract pioneers from all over the country eager to reunite with their old colleagues in the struggle for women’s rights and to honor our departed or fallen comrades.
Our search to find a permanent marker for Betty Friedan has not yet born fruit although we continue to aggressively pursue every lead. This campaign has been led by the indomitable Virginia Watkins in concert with her committee. Those include Linda Stein, Cynthia Epstein, Amy Hackett, Barbara Love, Eleanor Pam, Marlene Rubins, Penny Colman and Grace Welch. The group, and especially Virginia, have persistently tried without success, to have a stamp, street-naming, statue or plaque named for the author of The Feminine Mystique, founder of NOW and the pioneer who inspired and organized the modern Women's Movement. There are many such markers for males of lesser stature. If no fitting recognition for such a woman as Betty Friedan, where then is the hope for the rest of Second Wave feminists?
Finally, I have been considering a very ambitious, expensive and time consuming idea for VFA--doing an Oral History of our pioneers. The target population would include, but not be limited to the videotaped interviews of surviving feminists featured in Barbara Love's exceptional tome--Feminists Who Changed America.
This would be the natural third prong of VFA's most important and long lasting contributions to preserving the history of our movement. The first prong is FWCA --Feminists Who Changed America. The second is Our Fabulous Feminists. A third prong would logically be the proposed Oral History described above. Such an undertaking may, however be beyond VFA's means or capacity and we would surely have to hire a Project Manager incurring expenses that are certain to be substantial.
Finally, if anyone has suggestions or ideas that you think VFA should consider, we are all ears. And if any of you wish to volunteer or participate in projects or events that VFA is currently or prospectively undertaking, we welcome that too.
Clearly, VFA continues to be a relevant, forward-looking and energetic feminist organization.
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