o o T e M
2018 e h S
r o F He
Congratulations to all 21 Leaders for the 21st Century and a very special
TARI HARTMAN SQUIRE
inaugural recipient of The Loreen Arbus Champion for Disabilities Award Amazing work, Lori! “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.”. – Helen Keller
From the Executive Director
THE WORLD HAS SPLIT OPEN What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open. –M uriel Rukeyser, in her poem, Käthe Kollwitz
#MeToo, #MeNext?, #BlackLivesMatter, #TimesUp, #HeForShe ... These hashtags take up very little space, really. Each hashtag no longer than 16 characters in length. Yet, for so many, they are saviors. Yes, words can save lives. Each originated in response to treatment, unfair treatment based solely upon one’s gender, race, religion, or disability. And the victims of this unfair yet all too familiar treatment are countless, countless in numbers and boundless in their impact on its victims. So boundless, in fact, that each has turned into a platform for rising up to their perpetrators, because so much more can be accomplished together than apart. It’s for this reason that Women’s eNews is celebrating, and bringing together, these 21 Leaders for the 21st Century, all of whom are elevating the lives of so many others, both nationally and internationally. Bringing them all here, in one evening and in one common space, also serves to create a platform upon which we can learn more from one another. Clearly, the rise in the power of intersectionality shows how all of our lives are complexly interwoven, and it’s our interlocking systems of power that can create an even greater impact on those who are most marginalized in society. This is also why Women’s eNews has launched new collaborations with an increasing number of aligned organizations this past year including Feminist.org to feature, The Life Story: Moments of Change (a groundbreaking new website and film project from the NoVo Foundation); The New York Women’s Foundation to create the new Women’s eNews series, IN FOCUS: Eye on Changemakers; and with the Seneca Falls 170th Anniversary Conference and Retreat 2018 (Women: Combining Our Unique Talents to Build a Better World). (See pages 2-3 for a full list of Women’s eNews 2018 collaborations.) Yes, it all starts with words which are clearly the impetus upon which change occurs. Women’s eNews would like to thank each of our 2018 honorees for understanding this, and we honor each of you for puttting words into action. “Be silent or let thy words be worth more than silence.’ – Pythagoras In solidarity,
Lori Sokol, Ph.D. Executive Director WOMEN’S ENEWS | 1
Womenâ€™s eNews is Proud to Announce our new Content Partners for 2018:
n e e t
UGANDA THE 170TH ANNIVERSARY OF SENECA FALLS (July 19-21, 2018) 2 | 21 LEADERS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
Women’s eNews and Feminist.com to Collaborate on Series Examining the Impact of the Sex Trade on Marginalized Populations Women’s eNews, an award-winning global news service that reports on the most crucial issues affecting women and girls around the world, is pleased to announce its collaboration with Feminist.com, a leading online community and non-profit organization fostering awareness, education and activism, to elevate the voices and hopes of survivors of the sex trade. In response to The Life Story: Moments of Change (a groundbreaking new website and film project from the NoVo Foundation, thelifestory.org) the four-part series will explore and expose the systems that fail the most marginalized girls and women in our society (for example, girls and women of color), which can lead to the violence of sexual exploitation. Specifically, it has been found that marginalized women and girls primarily experience harm in school, foster care, housing, health care, and law enforcement. Marianne Schnall, a widely published journalist and Founder/ Executive Director of Feminist.com, will interview sex trade survivors, enabling them to share the realities of women in the U.S. sex trade through their lived experiences. Schnall will also interview practitioners to focus on solutions and provide real-world examples of what’s being done and/or what could be done. Women’s eNews, which has 70,000 Facebook followers and receives an average of 2.5 million views per year on Womensenews.org, will publish the series monthly beginning in May, 2018. Information and links to the series will also appear on Feminist.com. WOMEN’S ENEWS | 3
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL The 77th Lieutenant Governor of New York State President of the NYS Senate and chairs the Regional Economic Development Councils and NYS Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission
Lieutenant Governor Hochul chairs 10 Regional Economic Development Councils that have transformed the state’s economy by building upon regional strengths through long-term strategic plans. The Councils include leaders from academia, business, labor and not-for-profits and, to date, have invested $5.4 billion into more than 6,300 projects across the State. The Lieutenant Governor also chairs the State Workforce Investment Board which addresses the number one concern of businesses: the lack of skilled workers. The Lieutenant Governor also launched, jointly with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York Women’s Vote Centennial Project, a partnership with the American Federation of Teachers and First Book celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York on November 6, 2017. The competition
invites teachers to develop classroom projects and activities to mark the suffrage centennial. The New York State Women’s Suffrage Commission will select 15 winners from across the State. Women in New York secured the right to vote in 1917, three years before the 19th amendment granted that right to women across the United States Hochul also spearheaded Governor Cuomo’s Enough is Enough campaign to combat sexual assault on college campuses beginning in 2015, by hosting and attending more than 25 events. As the highest ranking female elected official in New York State, she continues to be a champion for women and families across the state. In March 2016, Governor Cuomo named her to the New York State Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission.
“New York State is serious about changing a culture that enables sexism and violence against women. As the birthplace of the women’s rights movement, New York just marked the centennial of women’s suffrage and we are using this moment to bring about our vision of a world where women’s and men’s lives and potential are equally valued.”
WOMEN’S ENEWS | 5
LOREEN ARBUS In honor of the 2018 launch of the Women’s eNews ‘Loreen Arbus Champion for Disabilities Award’
Loreen Arbus is a disability rights activist, television and docu- Arbus Foundation, she supports a broad scope of interests, including advocacy for women and girls, scientific and medical mentary producer, philanthropist, writer and author. She is currently the president of The Loreen Arbus Foundation, The Goldenson-Arbus Foundation and Loreen Arbus Productions, Inc. She holds the trailblazing distinction of being the first woman to head programming for a U.S. network, a feat accomplished twice (both at Showtime and Cable Health Network/Lifetime). She is the author of six books and was twice nominated for an Emmy® Award. Arbus is a renowned professional Argentine tango dancer and choreographer, and a sought-after speaker at national and international conferences. Among her many appearances around the world is an acclaimed speech at TEDxWomen. Through her philanthropic activities, particularly the Loreen
research, minorities, people with disabilities, gender and racial equality in media, the arts, animal rights and global peace. The Foundation has established and funds many scholarships that both enhance and elevate social consciousness around key societal issues. She has been honored many times, including the Heart of Giving Award presented by President Bill Clinton in 2001. Last year, she was honored with the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health Leadership Award, the Achievement Award by the UN Women for Peace Association, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, among other key distinctions. She has been honored by Women’s eNews with the 21 Leaders for the 21st Century Award. For more information go to: http://www.arbusprod.com/
“My life plan and passion is to serve, protect and advocate for the marginalized – for both people and animals. To bring an end to intolerance that generates an “us vs. them” environment, to create a society defined by inclusiveness. Every day should be about inclusion. It’s not enough to spotlight one person with disability on occasion. Inclusion must be a way of life, a way of thinking – in terms of employment, our bonds with people, and social networks. Websites should be accessible to both the hearing and sight impaired. Stages should have ramps. Stores should have wide aisles to accommodate wheelchairs. I just love what Will Smith recently said: ‘Diversity is the superpower of America.’ I would add: inclusion is every American’s constitutional right.” 6 | 21 LEADERS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
TARI HARTMAN SQUIRE Recipient of the Loreen Arbus Champion for Disabilities Award President of EIN SOF Communications
Tari Hartman Squire is the founder and president of EIN SOF WE Do? recruiting event and the current Lights! Camera! Access! Communications, Inc., a leading disability strategic marketing, 2.0 Collaborative. accessible events and employment strategies woman-owned small business, with an extensive disability, diversity, government, media, corporate and university network. Tari won the Visionary Award for 25 years of collaborative leadership as founding executive director of Media Access and launching the SAG performers with disabilities committee. She also hosted a White House Business Roundtable for DOL Employment & Training Admin, and produced the ODEP’s Lights! Camera! Access! Summit that inspired NBCUniversal’s What Can
Tari’s firm launched disability strategic marketing with its My Left Foot campaign (DC Capitol Hill Screening and firstever tie-in with ADA). A trusted media source, Tari co-authored Making News: How to Get Disability Rights Coverage and advised Associated Press Stylebook on disability-savvy semantics. Squire is fluent in American Sign Language, co-chairs the National Disability Leadership Alliance Employment Team; spearheaded National Spinal Cord Injury Business Advisory Council and ADA Legacy Project’s DisBeat (source for media on disability issues), and coordinated PR for disability organizations.
“The images of people with disabilities in front and behind the camera are often inaccurate, because disabled people don’t own the narrative. By working with collaborators like Loreen Arbus, we are deconstructing these barriers by enlightening the entertainment industry about these challenges, and by working with the industry to create solutions. This is not an easy fix because they don’t fully recognize disability as a civil rights issue, but it is. Diversity is a business imperative – inclusion is a choice.”
WOMEN’S ENEWS | 7
KIMBERLY SEALS ALLERS Recipient of the inaugural Rita Henley Jensen Investigative Journalism Award Former Editorial Director of the Women’s eNews Black Maternal Health Project Internationally recognized advocate for maternal and infant health Kimberly Seals Allers is also an award-winning journalist, au- Medicine, Big Business and Feminism Undermine Breastfeeding thor and an internationally-recognized speaker, strategist and (St. Martin’sPress) was published in 2017. As a consultant, Kimberly provides strategic communication advocate for maternal and infant health. A former senior editor at ESSENCE and writer at FORTUNE magazine, Kimberly is a thought-leader on the socio-cultural and racial complexities of birth, breastfeeding and motherhood. Her work using media, advocacy and community organizing to address racial disparities in maternal health spans over a decade and includes presenting at Congressional hearings, speaking at global conferences and holding national fellowships. Her first book, The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy (Harper Collins) in 2006, which was later turned into an instructional DVD sold at Wal-Mart, was the first-of-its-kind book to address pregnancy and childbirth focusing on the social stressors and cultural norms that impact birth outcomes. A frequent contributor to The New York Times and Washington Post, Kimberly’s fifth book, The Big Let Down—How
services to organizations looking to more effectively engage communities of color. She is the editorial director of the Maternal and Child Health Communication Collective, a new W.K. Kellogg Foundation-funded initiative to increase the capacity of stakeholders to shape narratives and counter misinformation. Prior, she created and led The First Food Friendly Community Initiative (3FCI), a $500,0000 WKKF-funded pilot project in Detroit and Philadelphia that used community-partnered strategies to create breastfeeding supportive neighborhoods. Kimberly is also the founder of Narrative Nation, a new non-profit that works to eradicate health disparities by changing how the story of health is told and who is telling it. Learn more at KimberlySealsAllers.com and WeWriteUs.org
“We can’t lay the burden of poor maternal and infant health outcomes at the feet of mothers without talking about how systemic failures, policy gaps, institutional racism and other biases, including the undervaluing of mothering as important work, impact those outcomes. This is something Rita instinctively ‘got’ and being able to explore and write from that lens was a dream opportunity for me. Rita’s passion for this field was rooted in her own lived experience, which made her commitment and work on black maternal health that much more compelling.”
8 | 21 LEADERS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
LEVEL FORWARD A new studio venture that focuses on innovation, inclusion and impact, and economic transformation through entertainment
ABIGAIL E. DISNEY
Teaming with Killer Content to launch Level Forward
Filmmaker and philanthropist Abigail E. Disney has teamed with Killer Content to launch Level Forward, a startup studio venture that aims to focuses on innovation, inclusion and impact, and economic transformation through entertainment. Level Forward will focus on supporting projects by women and people of color who have historically been at a disadvantage in the standard operations of Hollywood. The studio’s name is based upon its mission to “level” the playing field to move “forward” into a more equitable marketplace for content. The studio will assume some of Killer Content’s assets,
and Killer Content’s CEO Adrienne Becker is currently working with Abigail to raise finances and operationalize Level Forward. Included in Level Forward are the Killer Films Media and Killer Impact businesses. Level Forward will support storytellers across multiple platforms, aligning the process and product of creative enterprise with both profit and principle. The company is also partnering with The New York Women’s Foundation to develop a philanthropic fund supported by proceeds from Level Forward productions. The fund will give aid to nonprofit organizations that support survivors of abuse, discrimination, and harassment.
“Level Forward’s mission is to support the work of women filmmakers, people of color, noncisgender people, disabled people - everyone patriarchy forgot or actively kept out of the conversation - and to ensure that they get to tell their stories. It matters who tells the story because there is a richness to the landscape when we hear as many different voices as possible. Until now, we have been denied the opportunity to hear from the full range of human voices. For too long, we have only been hearing from the imaginations of white men who have not only told their own stories (again and again and again), but also those of other people. I am determined to knock down the last domino that has been preventing women from fully accessing the levers of power in media, which includes access to the capital for the full budgets we need and deserve. I plan to put an end to the inequity once and for all!” WOMEN’S ENEWS | 9
KRISTEN BROWDE Attorney and Emmy Award Winning Journalist First transgender person in New York State endorsed by a major political party to run for office
Her law practice, Browde Law, P.C.. represents divorce, child A reporter and anchor who spent 16 years at CBS News, and who worked at a number of television stations in New York support, alimony and other aspects of family law, including Cusduring a 40-year career, Kristen Browde then became a lawyer, tody Cases. The firm also handles defense against civil litigation claims, particularly in libel defense. and then, in 2016, came out as transgender. Kristen has served on many union negotiating committees, and is a Trustee of the AFTRA Pension Fund. She also served for more than a decade as a Trustee of the AFTRA Health and Retirement Systems, serving members of the former American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, now known as SAG-AFTRA.
Kristen is admitted to practice in the New York State Court System, the 2nd and 5th Federal Circuits and the U.S. Supreme Court. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York, Equality NY and the National Transgender Bar Association.
â€œComing out as transgender is very much like jumping out of an airplane with no parachute, only to discover that you can fly. All you have to do is release the fear, and jump.â€?
10 | 21 LEADERS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
JULIE BURTON President of the Women’s Media Center, an inclusive and feminist media organization dedicated to making women visible and powerful in media
Julie Burton is president of the Women’s Media Center (co-founded Executive Director of Choice USA (now called URGE — Unite by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem) and leads its ef- for Reproductive & Gender Equity), and has worked to advance forts to create a level playing field for women and girls in media. She opportunities for women at leading advocacy organizations, inestablished the WMC Media Lab and is the creator of the Women’s Media Center Status of Women in US Media signature reports and research programs, executive producer of the award-winning Women’s Media Center Live with Robin Morgan syndicated radio program and podcast, and oversees WMC’s programs and content channels, including: WMC Features, WMC Women Under Siege, WMC FBomb, WMC Speech Project, WMC SheSource, WMC Press, WMC SheSource, WMC Progressive Women’s Voices, and the Women’s Media Awards — an annual celebration of champions for women in media. For more than a decade, Julie was on the frontlines of the women’s movement as the youngest CEO of a national pro-choice political action committee, Voters For Choice. She was the Founding
cluding People For the American Way, Project Kid Smart, and the National Women’s Law Center. Throughout her career, she has gained public and media visibility, built grassroots enthusiasm, and raised money by involving artists in support of social change. A former Commissioner on the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women, she has served on the Advisory Board of Women@Paley at the Paley Center for Media, the Feministing Advisory Council, the National Advisory Committee of the Institute For Women’s Policy Research Status of Women in the States, the Women’s Leadership Board of the Harvard Kennedy School Women and Public Policy Program, the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center on the Advancement of Women in Communication, and is a Trustee to the Stewart R. Mott Foundation.
“This has been a year when the media and truth itself are under siege. Simultaneously, women in media have tackled previously hidden patterns of sexual harassment, wage discrimination, and hiring policies that excluded and intimidated women in media organizations of all kinds. Through our research, our journalism, our experts, and the women leaders in our WMC Progressive Women’s Voices, we are fighting for progress in an industry where equality for women and people of color has been stalled for decades. This needs to change. The Women’s Media Center fights every day for change and we stand with Women’s eNews in our goal to create a world where women are visible and powerful.” WOMEN’S ENEWS | 11
ALEJANDRA Y. CASTILLO CEO of YWCA USA, which serves 2.2 million women and girls across the US
Alejandra Y. Castillo serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dominican Republic in the early 1960s. She was born in the New York City borough of Queens and considers herself a true of YWCA USA. YWCA USA and its network of 210 associations serving 2.2. million women and girls around the country in 46 states and the District of Columbia. With over two decades of professional experience in Washington, D.C., she has served in senior leadership in two presidential administrations. Given her policy, legal and business expertise, Alejandra has worked in various public, private and non-profit settings. In 2014, Alejandra was appointed by the Obama Administration to serve as the national director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), becoming the first Hispanic-American woman to lead the agency, helping to secure financing and capital in excess of $19 billion and creating or retaining over 33,000 jobs. Castillo’s family immigrated to the United States from the
New Yorker, but she has also lived in Texas, Portugal and the Dominican Republic. Castillo is fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese. She has been a Washington, D.C. resident for over two decades, where she has raised her two nieces who are now both enrolled in college. YWCA has been at the forefront of the most pressing social movements for 160 years — from voting rights to civil rights, from affordable housing to pay equity, from violence prevention to health care reform. Today, we combine programming and advocacy in order to generate institutional change in three key areas: racial justice and civil rights; empowerment and economic advancement of women and girls; and health and safety of women and girls.
“The work of the YWCA takes grit, strategy and discretion. Keeping the women and families we serve at the center of our work can sometimes mean that we go unnoticed. Services like safe housing for immigrants and survivors of domestic violence require the utmost confidence and care. No two YWCAs are exactly the same, but we are working together toward our bold mission. You won’t find a pool in every YWCA, but we all help women when they feel like they’re drowning.”
12 | 21 LEADERS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
CATHERINE CRIER Emmy award-winning journalist Youngest state judge ever elected in Texas
Catherine Crier is an Emmy and duPont-Columbia Award-win- politics and international issues. Crier joined ABC News in 1993 ning journalist, and the youngest state judge to ever be elected as a correspondent on 20/20 and as a regular substitute anchor for in Texas. She began her career in law in 1978 as an Assistant Peter Jennings on ABC’s World News Tonight. Crier was awarded District Attorney, and then became the Felony Chief Prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney’s office. From 1982 to 1984, Crier was a civil litigation attorney with Riddle & Brown, handling complex business and corporate matters. In 1984, she was elected to the 162nd District Court in Dallas County, Texas as a State District Judge. Shortly after her reelection to a second term on the bench, Crier was hired to co-anchor the premiere evening newscast on CNN. Additionally, she co-anchored Inside Politics, all election coverage, and hosted Crier & Company, a talk show covering news,
a 1996 Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for her work on the segment “The Predators” which examined nursing home abuses throughout the United States. Crier released her first book, the NYTimes bestseller, The Case Against Lawyers in October, 2002. Her second book, A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation, became a #1 NYTimes bestseller and was followed by Contempt— How the Right is Wronging American Justice, and Final Analysis: The Untold Story of the Susan Polk Murder Case. Her fifth book, Patriot Acts—What Americans Must Do to Save the Republic, was published on November 1, 2011.
“In my third act. I want to acknowledge, preserve and record the beautiful aspects of life. Environmental preservation is crucial the future of our planet. What needs to last, beyond anything else, is the beautiful essence of the earth and its inhabitants.”
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PATRISSE CULLORS Co-founder of Black Lives Matter Founder of Dignity and Power Now
Patrisse Cullors is co-founder of Black Lives Matter and founder trauma and building on the resilience and health of the comof Dignity and Power Now. She is also a performance artist, Ful- munities most affected. bright scholar, popular public speaker, and an NAACP History Maker. She’s received many awards for activism and movement building, including being named by the Los Angeles Times as a Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century and the Sydney Peace Prize for her work with Black Lives Matter. She is currently in the middle of an international tour for her new book When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. A self-described wife of Harriet Tubman, Patrisse has always been traveling on the path to freedom. Growing up with several of her loved ones experiencing incarceration and brutality at the hands of the state and coming out as queer at an early age, she has since worked tirelessly promoting law enforcement accountability across the world, while focusing on addressing
It was in the summer of 2013, fueled by the acquittal granted to George Zimmerman after his murder of Trayvon Martin, that Patrisse co-founded a global movement with a hashtag, Black Lives Matter. This movement has since grown into an international organization with dozens of chapters and thousands of determined activists fighting anti-Black racism world-wide. As a Black Lives Matter cofounder, Patrisse was awarded the 2017 Sydney Peace Prize “for building a powerful movement for racial equality, courageously reigniting a global conversation around state violence and racism, and for harnessing the potential of new platforms and power of people to inspire a bold movement for change at a time when peace is threatened by growing inequality and injustice.”
“We must continue to challenge a country that kills Black people with impunity. #BlackLivesMatter has stood up courageously to some of the most powerful government agencies in this country. I will continue to create, organize, and shut it down until all Black lives matter.”
14 | 21 LEADERS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
BELVA DAVIS First black female TV journalist in the Western US Author of Never in My Wildest Dreams
Belva Davis was the first black female television journalist and anchorwoman in the western United States. She overcame both
racism and sexism to report on many of the most important events of the last six decades, and in doing so helped change the face and scope of television news. Belva has received eight local Emmys and many other awards for her journalism and community service including honors from the International Women’s Media Foundation and a lifetime achievement award from the National Association of Black Journalists. Belva is profiled in the Newseum, the History Makers Library of Congress collection, and has written the memoir, Never in My Wildest Dreams. She is also a contributor to the recently released collection of essays by Women of Color, “All the Women
in my Family Sing,” edited by Debora Santana. Belva’s service as VP and Chair of the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists AFTRA’s Equal Employment Opportunities Committee also led the fight for racial and gender equality for more than two decades. In retirement, Belva serves on the boards of many civic organizations, and was the founding President of the Museum of the African Diaspora, a museum that examines the origins of human life and civilization originating in Africa. As a trustee of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, Belva recently led the drive to finance “Revelations: Art from the African American South,” the first major exhibition by the San Francisco city-owned de Young Museum, about the lives of African Americans in America.
“Journalists will have to practice the journalism of this time, which is different from the journalism of my time. Their challenge is to fight someone with a tweet, whereas I was fighting to be in the presence of great power. We also need to redefine what is truth, and how do you do that in a world this electronically equipped? But this is not hopeless. It is part of a learning curve that journalists have not yet adjusted to.”
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SERENA DYKMAN Award-winning filmmaker President of Dyamant Pictures
Serena Dykman is a New York-based filmmaker, and a graduate the Ravensbruck, Malchow, and Auschwitz death camps. At Ausfrom NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her work, ranging from com- chwitz, she was the forced translator of the “Angel of Death”, Dr. edy to drama and documentary, has won her over 40 awards in the past three years. Her films THE DOORMAN, BED BUGS & COMPANY, and WELCOME have been selected in over 80 film festivals around the world, including at the Cannes Film Festival, and Oscar-qualifying film festivals. Born in Paris and raised between London, Brussels, and New York, her passion for travel has informed much of her work. Serena’s first feature film, NANA, is a transgenerational documentary about her grandmother, Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant, an Auschwitz survivor and activist for tolerance who survived
Mengele. The award-winning film was chosen by the European Commission and European Jewish Congress to be presented on Holocaust Memorial Day 2018, where Serena participated in a discussion on the future of Holocaust education with the First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, and the world-renowned historian and author Simon Schama. NANA has been picked up for distribution by First Run Features and was released theatrically on April 13 at Cinema Village in New York. Serena is the founder and president of Dyamant Pictures, a New York-based production company.
“My grandmother’s legacy is my role model. Creating the film, NANA, based upon her life, made me more aware of the world I am living in today. It has also taught viewers of the film about the dangers of intolerance, and how to identify the signs when it starts. Yet, it also provides them with a message of hope since my grandmother remained optimistic, and transformed a horrible experience into bettering the lives of others.”
16 | 21 LEADERS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
JACQUELINE EBANKS Executive Director of New York City’s Commission on Gender Equity
Jacqueline’s 30 year career involved tackling a number of cruJacqueline Ebanks was appointed as Executive Director of New cial and pertinent issues including economic, gender and racial York City’s Commission on Gender Equity in August of 2017. The Commission, which was established in 2015 by Mayor Bill de Blasio, seeks to promote initiatives that will reduce gender-based inequity and make New York City a more inclusive space for women, girls, transgender and gender non-conforming citizens. In this role, Ebanks oversees these initiatives, working to ensure that all New Yorkers, regardless of gender or sexual identity, have “a place in this city.”
equity as well as racial justice. Before joining the de Blasio Administration, she served as the Executive Director of the Women’s City Club of New York where she guided the organization into its second century of activism to ensure that all New Yorkers attain economic security, enjoy equal opportunity, and live in safe and secure communities.
“This is a very powerful period in time. It is a culmination of people coming together through a collective outcry of ‘enough is enough’ and ‘never again.’ Our Commission’s work is even more relevant now because we are about changing culture to educate the public about inclusion, intersectionality, and how life can be when everyone has a seat at the table regardless of age, gender identity, race or sexual orientation.”
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AMY FERRIS Screenwriter, editor, and playwright Author of Marrying George Clooney: Confessions from a Mid-life Crisis
Amy Ferris is an author, a screenwriter, a television writer, cluding: He Said What? The Drinking Diaries, Exit Laughing, and The Buddha Next Door. Amy has written films, Funny Valentines, and an editor with a heaping side of activism. Amy writes about (all things) women. She champions, supports, encourages, and inspires women to awaken to their greatness by using their lives fully with passion, compassion, determination, hope, self-fullness, humor, truth, authenticity, power, boldness, kindness and forgiveness. Her memoir, Marrying George Clooney: Confessions From A Midlife Crisis, debuted theatrically (Off-Broadway) in 2012. Ruth Pennebaker of the New York Times called her memoir “poignant, free-wheeling, cranky and funny.” Amy recently curated and edited the anthology, Shades of Blue, Writers on Depression, Suicide and Feeling Blue (Seal Press, 2015), NAMI named it one the best books of the year. She co-edited the anthology Dancing at the Shame Prom, and has contributed to numerous anthologies in-
directed by Julie Dash, and co-wrote Mr. Wonderful, directed by Anthony Minghella, and TV series. Amy is on faculty at the Omega Institute where she co-facilitates Women Writing to Change the World with Blair Glaser and Sherry Amatenstein; she is on the Advisory Board of the Women’s Media Center, serves on the Board of Directors at Peters Valley Craft School and is on the Board of Directors at Civ.Works. In 2015, Amy co-founded The Milford Readers and Writers Festival where Gloria Steinem, MK Asante and John Berendt were the inaugural main stage authors. Amy dropped out of high school when she was fifteen and a half, and has never looked back.
“What really moves me the most is my desire – my passion – for all women to awaken to their greatness; for women to stop competing with each other and start completing each other. The thing that has recently moved me beyond anything is to see Trump get elected, knowing how many women voted against their best interests. Women need to know, believe, and understand their worth, their unlimited power – we birth you, we bring you into this world – we are mother earth.”
18 | 21 LEADERS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
BETTINA HAGER DC Director of the ERA Coalition and Fund for Women’s Equality
Bettina Hager is the DC Director and COO of the ERA Coalition media and encourage constituency outreach. She has organized and Fund for Women’s Equality. The ERA Coalition and Fund for and moderated briefings on the Equal Rights Amendment in both Women’s Equality are sister organizations working together to advocate, educate and organize to ensure constitutional equality in the United States. She served as the co-chair of the Equal Rights Amendment Task Force of the National Council of Women’s Organizations from 2012-2016. Bettina has conducted focused lobby training workshops on the issue of Constitutional equality and oversaw the creation of a widely used ERA advocacy packet with information on how to contact elected officials, reach out to
the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Bettina also writes for the The Hill as an opinion contributor on gender issues. Prior to joining the ERA Coalition, she worked as Programs Director and Interim Executive Director at the National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC), advocating for the necessity of women’s political participation at all levels of government. Bettina graduated from St. Olaf College with a degree in Biology and concentration in Women’s Studies.
“The crucial work of the ERA Coalition is to create a national awareness campaign around the importance of the Equal Rights Amendment. Unfortunately, over 80% of Americans believe that we already have gender equality in the US Constitution. We therefore need to close the information gap and make it relevant again by inspiring a new generation of activists.”
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ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN Former US Congresswoman First woman elected District Attorney in New York City First woman elected New York City Comptroller
She was also the first and only woman to be elected ComptrolDuring Elizabeth Holtzman’s four terms as a U.S. Congresswomler of New York City. In that position she managed $50 billion in an, she captured national attention for her role on the House the city’s five pension funds and issued more than $20 billion in Judiciary Committee during the Watergate scandal; chaired the Immigration Subcommittee (dealing directly with foreign governments); co-founded the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues (successfully legislating numerous women’s rights laws); and authored many laws, including those dealing with Nazi war crimes and with refugees. She held the record as the youngest woman elected to the House for 42 years. She authored the law extending the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. She also became the first woman elected District Attorney in New York City, serving eight years as DA of Brooklyn, where she argued successfully before the U.S. Supreme Court, and pioneered new strategies for the prosecution of sexual assault and environmental crimes. She also led the effort to end the practice that allowed African-Americans to be removed from juries using peremptory challenges.
city bonds. Former Mayor Bloomberg also signed into law a bill that Liz authored as Comptroller, which held gun manufacturers liable for injuries caused by illegal guns. In 2013, she was appointed to a federal panel that reviewed the handling of sexual assaults in the military, and developed recommendations for reforms. In 2014, she was appointed chair of the successor federal Judicial Proceedings Panel. In 2014, Liz was also appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to its Advisory Committee, and was appointed in 1998 by President Bill Clinton to the Nazi and Japanese Imperial War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group, which oversaw the declassification of more than eight million pages of secret Nazi war crimes files held by the U.S. government. Currently, Elizabeth Holtzman is co-chair of Herrick’s Government Relations Group, where she handles government relations at the federal, state and local levels.
“Much has changed since I served in Congress. There were no women on the Supreme Court, and the few women who were in the Senate were there because their husbands or fathers were there first. Today, we have women on the Supreme Court, and women serving in Congress on their own merit, but we still have a long way to go. We don’t have the ERA in the Constitution. Why can’t women accept their own humanity, and accept our own freedom and our right to be equal? Trump being president is a humiliation to all women in our country.” 20 | 21 LEADERS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
SUZANNE LERNER Co-founder of clothing company Michael Stars Board member of the Women Thrive Alliance and the Ms. Foundation
Suzanne Lerner boasts decades of experience in business, as well this world, Suzanne has made it her mission to support women’s as a background in philanthropy with a primary focus on gender rights both in business and her personal life. The organizations Suzanne supports include the Ms. Founand racial equality, economic empowerment, and social justice. In 1986, Lerner co-founded clothing company Michael Stars of which she now serves as President. Lerner’s second career is philanthropy and giving back to communities both domestically and internationally. She supports numerous causes personally, as well as through the Michael Stars Foundation. Her true passion is advocating for gender equality and she believes that a woman’s success shouldn’t be determined by where she is from and what she looks like. Her commitment to this belief started in her early twenties when she spent five years traveling the world and saw firsthand the inequality that existed in countries like India and Nepal. Realizing then that we’re all citizens of
dation, which was co-founded by Gloria Steinem in 1993, and is dedicated to building women’s collective power for social, economic, and reproductive justice. Suzanne serves on its board and was honored to receive its ‘Women of Vision’ award in 2015. Suzanne also serves on the board of the Women Thrive Alliance, which works to empower women through grassroots initiatives so their perspectives and solutions can shape policies that help women break free from poverty, violence, and inequality. In addition, she is a board member of the ACLU of Southern California, and an advisory board member of Prosperity Catalyst and Children Mending Hearts.
“Helping women is part of my DNA. I’ve lived and breathed it for as long as I can remember - from watching the strength of my mother in the male-dominated workforce of the 1950’s, to entering the business world on my own, to running my own company today. It became clear to me early on that women had very little power in the private sector, but seeing their continued resilience has always inspired me. My passion to help women find their power and reach their true potential drives me and everything I do.”
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ROB OKUN The Gordon Gray Outstanding Male Leadership Recipient Editor and publisher of Voice Male magazine
Rob Okun is editor and publisher of Voice Male magazine and Telegraph in London, as well as on websites including Alternet, a former executive director of the Men’s Resource Center for CounterPunch, Ms., Feminist.com and Vday. His essay, “ConfesChange, one of the earliest men’s centers in North America where, sions of a Premature Profemnist” appears in the anthology Men for many years, he led batterer intervention groups. The new edition of his book, VOICE MALE: The Untold Story of the Profeminist Men’s Movement, chronicles the transformation of men and masculinity, bringing readers inside “one of the most important social justice movements most people have never heard of ”—the anti-sexist men’s movement. Rob has been contributing commentaries to Women’s eNews since 2001, and his essays on the transformation of men and manhood have been published in dozens of newspapers including The Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Informer, San Diego Union-Tribune, and The
Speak Out: Views on Gender, Sex, and Power. An earlier book, The Rosenbergs: Collected Visions of Artists and Writers, explores the intersection of art and politics, examining the 1950s Rosenberg atomic conspiracy case and was part of a multimedia project that included a three year nationally-touring art exhibit Rob organized, and an award-winning documentary film, Unknown Secrets, he coproduced. A speaker at colleges and universities around the U.S., Rob serves on the steering committees of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities and North American MenEngage.
“Being an activist in the profeminist men’s movement advocating for gender equality for women— while simultaneously working to advance the transformation of men—is among the most satisfying experiences of my life. I am fortunate, both through my own writing and the stories I publish in Voice Male, to also chronicle this movement. I get to be both part of a cause I am dedicated to, and to share with a growing global audience a new vision of manhood. As a man doing this work, I have benefited from the leadership and history of the women’s movement. The profeminist men’s movement grew out of men listening to women. As profeminists working to realize the vision of transforming emotionally restrictive masculinity into an openhearted, egalitarian masculinities, we must continue to listen and remember that it is women and men struggling—and celebrating— together who have the power to achieve that vision.” 22 | 21 LEADERS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
LINDA STEIN Feminist artist, activist, educator, performer, writer Founding President of Have Art: Will Travel! Inc.
A third exhibition, which will soon be traveling, is called DisLinda Stein – artist, activist, educator, performer and writer – is the Founding President of the non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, placement From Home: What To Leave, What To Take – Cabinets, Have Art: Will Travel! Inc. which currently oversees The Fluidity Cupboards, Cases and Closets by Linda Stein. This takes the artist of Gender: Sculpture by Linda Stein (FoG) and Holocaust Heroes: Fierce Females – Tapestries and Sculpture by Linda Stein (H2F2). These traveling exhibitions with lectures, workshops and interactive educational programs developed by a national Curricular Team of scholars in collaboration with Penn State University, have been traveling since 2010. By 2020, they will have gone to more than 45 museums, universities and institutions within the United States and abroad.
beyond her Holocaust involvement to issues of global displacement and to more expressionistic art which addresses traumatic memory and loss, as well as sanctuary and safety. Linda has also been awarded large-scale outdoor commissions, including Portland State University in Colorado and East Hampton Airport in New York, had sculpture donated by Gloria Steinem to Smith College and Rutgers University. The Linda Stein Feminist Art Education Collection will be housed at Penn State University, and the Linda Stein Art Archives are at Smith College.
“Art opens minds and encourages the meaningful exchange of ideas. It brings to light new concepts and inspires participants to turn ideas into actions. With art as a starting point, I aim to empower people to more easily reach their personal authenticity and, beyond themselves, accept diversity in others. I do this specifically by addressing issues of persecution and protection, and by focusing on oppression of the ‘other’ through the lens of anti-bullying and gender justice.”
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JESSICA STERN Executive Director of OutRight Action International, a leading international LGBT human rights organization
Jessica Stern, is Executive Director of the OutRight Action and high-impact external levers of power. Jessica Stern also served as the first researcher on LGBT International, formerly known as the International Gay and rights at Human Rights Watch, and was a Ralph Bunche Fellow Lesbian Human Rights Commission, which specializes in gender, at Amnesty International, where she conducted fact-finding insexuality and human rights globally. Specifically, OutRight seeks to advance human rights and opportunities for LGBTIQ people around the world by developing critical partnerships at global, regional, and national levels to build capacity, document violations, advocate for inclusion and equality, and hold leaders accountable for protecting the rights of all LGBTIQ people. Today, we partner with local LGBTIQ organizations across four regions and maintain a cross-regional LGBTIQ initiative at the UN in New York. As an international LGBTIQ organization with a long history of productive and trusting relationships with grassroots LGBTIQ communities worldwide, we serve as a bridge between local communities
vestigations and advocacy in relation to Iran, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. She also has campaigned extensively for social and economic justice in the United States for the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, the Urban Justice Center and as a founding collective member of Bluestockings. A past board member of Queers for Economic Justice, she currently serves on the board of the International Bar Association’s Committee on LGBT Rights and the Law. Educated at the London School of Economics, she teaches at Columbia University.
“I am particularly proud of the media sensitivity training OutRight has provided to ensure objective and accurate reporting of LGBTQ issues throughout the world, including in Iran, Turkey, Tunisia and in the Caribbean. This put an end to the hateful language being used when reporting about violence against the LGBTQ community.”
24 | 21 LEADERS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
CHERYL WILLS Award-winning Anchor, Spectrum NY1 News, and best-selling author
Cheryl Wills is a veteran anchor for Spectrum News NY1 – she joined the broadcasting network during its launch in 1992 and this year she is celebrating her 25th anniversary with the national news team. The award-winning journalist is the author of three books about her great-great-great grandfather, Sandy Wills, who fought in the Civil War: Die Free: A Heroic Family Tale, an illustrated children’s book The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills and a YA book Emancipated: My Family’s Fight for Freedom. In fact, Cheryl was the first journalist invited to speak before the General Assembly of The United Nations in March, 2011, about the impact of slavery on her family, during the UN’s International Remembrance of Victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The celebrated author of the Lightswitch Learning’s book
series, Cheryl has also traveled the world to report on society’s most pressing issues, and has worked with more than 15,000 students in over 120 schools nationally. In 2017, The Association of Social Studies Teachers / UFT awarded Cheryl Wills The Rosa Parks Award for Social Justice for “illuminating the struggle for Black equality from the Civil War to present.” In 2017, Cheryl also received the Dr. Martin Luther King Award from three prominent Jewish organizations at the Israeli Consulate for bridging the gap between African Americans and Jews. Cheryl also takes great pride in being the Founder and Commander of the New York State Chapter of the Sons & Daughters of the United States Colored Troops, a national organization based in Washington D.C. and truly enjoys teaching students about the contributions of the 200,000 black soldiers who fought valiantly during the Civil War.
“When I learned about my great, great, great grandfather, who was sold as a slave at auction, it changed the trajectory of my life. No longer just climbing the career ladder, I am now reaching out to black students at schools to teach them about their own histories. They need direction and guidance and, even more, they need to build self-respect. My ancestors were stripped of their humanity, so I am determined to invest in young people so that they are not stripped of theirs.”
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JAMIA WILSON Executive Director and Publisher of Feminist Press at CUNY
Jamia Wilson is the executive director and publisher of the Fem- Black Women’s Blueprint and was recognized by Refinery 29 as inist Press at CUNY, the youngest director in the press’s 47-year one of “17 Faces of the Future of Feminism” in 2013. Her work has appeared in several books such as Madonna and history as well as the first woman of color to head the organiMe: Women Writers on the Queen of Pop, The V Word, Slut: The zation. Prior to joining Feminist Press, Wilson was executive director of Women, Action & the Media, a direct-action network dedicated to creating gender justice in media at all levels. Before that, she served as TED Prize Storyteller and v-p of programs at Women’s Media Center. As a writer, Wilson has contributed to numerous magazines and is a columnist for Rookie. In 2016, she was honored as a Black Feminist Human Rights Defender by
Play, and When Grace Meets Power, and I Still Believe Anita Hill. Jamia’s work has also been featured in online and print publications such as Alternet, CBS News, Forbes.com, GOOD Magazine, New York magazine, The Wall Street Journal, In These Times, Ms. magazine, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. She has also appeared as a guest on NBC’s The Today Show, HuffPost Live, and the Grit(TV Network).
“I believe I embody much about what the future of feminist publishing is going to be. It will be intersectional, as well as a resource for the resistance, particularly of marginalized voices that need to be uplifted. We at the Feminist Press believe that we are creating materials that people need to lead, to march, to act, and to vote. We will not be complicit in the face of tyranny. We believe in the power of the page.”
26 | 21 LEADERS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
VIOLET MASSIE-VEREKER Teen Voices Honoree Founder, #MeNext?
She then created a #MeNext Facebook page, asking all stuOn Friday, February 16, just two days after 17 people were killed dents in the US who agree to post photos of themselves holding at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School in Florida, 16-yearold Violet Massie-Vereker led a student walkout from her high their own signs with the words #MeNext. Thousands of photos school (Pelham Memorial in New York) to protest the inaction poured in, and the page has received over 10,000 likes. of lawmakers at every level of government on gun control legislation. Standing in front of the school, she held her self-made sign carrying the words, #MeNext.
The future plan for #MeToo is to spread the message as far as possible to amplify the efforts of the courageous Parkland students and their #NeverAgain movement.
“We refuse to let this fade into oblivion just like every other mass school shooting, like in Columbine and Sandy Hook. Too many children have been slaughtered as Washington continues to sit silent. Through student pressure, we plan to mobilize this nation to campaign and vote for candidates who refuse to accept money from the NRA and who will ban semi-automatic weapons, while requiring strick background checks on all who purchase any type of gun. And this is only the beginning. Change is coming!”
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In Tribute to Women’s eNews Founder, RITA HENLEY JENSEN “Rita Henley Jensen’s lifetime of extraordinary accomplishments rank her in my view as the eighth wonder of the world. From overcoming teenage pregnancy to surviving an abusive marriage, she used every obstacle that landed at her feet as a stepping-stone to reach her highest potential. Rita Henley Jensen dedicated her life to empowering women to not only find their voice but to use it for the betterment of humankind. Gone but never forgotten.” – Kathy Barrett “Congratulations to Kimberly Seals Allers, the recipient of the inaugural Rita Henley Jensen Investigative Journalism Award, and to all the “21 Leaders” 2018 Honorees! I’m thrilled to support the Rita Henley Jensen Fellowship Program at Women’s eNews: Honoring the legacy of Rita Henley Jensen, the brilliant and fearless founder of Women’s eNews and the Jane Crow Project.”– Jan Paschal
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