Women Hold Up Half the Sky
My vision for the future: Quality education for free, or close to free. Truly affordable housing in all neighborhoods in the city. And a transportation network that is efficient, not only in terms of time but also fuel-efficient.
My first political involvement was in 1970, when I participated in the Student Strike Against the War. I was moved to take action by the mining of Haiphong Harbor--it was just so illegal and so outrageous. Then feminism blossomed as a movement in the 70s. “Women hold up half the sky.” That’s a slogan from that period has been near and dear to me for all these years. Women were, and still are, 51% of the population--at least in this country.
I was living in Minneapolis in the early '70s and the group of women that I was involved with started a food cooperative in the neighborhood. We were also successful in getting horrible billboards taken down off buses and elsewhere. The sexualization of branding continues to be a problem. At the time, many of us were trying to break into the workforce and get equal pay for equal work. Women were seldom admitted into law school or medical school. I remember a friend of mine became an auto mechanic. She made a good living at it too, but everybody thought it was a riot that this woman was an auto mechanic.
I first gave to North Star Fund in 1980, about a year after its founding. I had been involved with the Vanguard Foundation out in California and the Haymarket Fund in Boston. It was an alternative model of philanthropy that a group of us were committed to make happen in communities all across the country. We wanted to create a different model of philanthropy in which people committed to social change would make a financial contribution to a community-based foundation, and the people actually doing the work on the ground would decide where the monies would go.
I grew up in New York City, and came back here in the mid '80s. I’ve remained involved in North Star Fund all these years because I’m committed to social justice in New York City. North Star believes that the better functioning communities are, the better it is for the city as a whole.