Bella Vida by Letty

Empowerment

Feminism Today: Meeting Gloria Steinem

Feminist Activist Gloria Steinem

Yeah forget being cool, I’m still bouncing off the walls, super excited to have met one of the women I most admire. She is feminist, author and activist Gloria Steinem.

A living legend, Gloria has been fighting for equal rights for women since the women’s liberation movement in the late 1960s. A few of her outstanding achievements:
• In 1971 Steinem joined other prominent feminists, such as Bella Abzug and Betty Friedan, in forming    the National Women’s Political Caucus.
• In 1972 she co-founded Ms. magazine, and remained one of its editors for fifteen years.
• In 2005 Steinem worked alongside Jane Fonda and Robin Morgan to co-found the Women’s Media Center, an organization that works to amplify the voices of women in the media through advocacy, media and leadership training, and the creation of original content.
• Her writings include the bestsellers: Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Moving Beyond Words, and Marilyn: Norma Jean, on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Her writing also appears in many anthologies and textbooks, and she was an editor of Houghton Mifflin’s The Reader’s Companion to U.S. Women’s History.

I really could go on and on about all of the amazing work this woman has accomplished but I’m hoping you are curious enough to peruse and discover more.

The event I attended was an entertaining game of Loteria, the Latino version of bingo night hosted by Gloria Steinem, with a meet and greet right before. I expected the place would have a stage with rows of lined chairs set at a distance but it turned out to be the complete opposite. Pax is a bar with a fun chill out atmosphere. Upon entering to my left stood a fully stocked long glossy wooden bar. To my right, the stage with a drum kit set up and ready to go. Dark, floor to ceiling drapes covered the walls. Plush red couches flanked both sides of the stage, adding a big splash of color while small round wooden tables and chairs, like ones you would imagine at a Paris cafe, filled the remaining space. It was so relaxed and casual Gloria walked in with a small group of people right after me. (insert every adjective for wow here)

Gloria wore a smile all night, her demeanor calm and approachable sitting at a table right alongside the very people who came to see her. While mingling I met some really cool feminists and activists who told me about their work with local organizations like Mi Lola, Legal Art Miami and NOW. I was inspired by their strength and attitude, especially how they are involved with the community.

Feminist Activist Gloria Steinem
Letty meets Gloria Steinem

Finally the moment arrived when I got close enough to ask Gloria Steinem for a photo. She gracefully conceded as you can see from her gorgeous smile. Then there’s me with a far off look because I was so elated I felt like I was experiencing zero gravity. I’m pretty sure I will always feel this way when I think of the night I met her.

After the photo I shook her hand and introduced myself as artist, writer and social media connector. I tried to prepare with questions beforehand but hadn’t come up with anything clever. However, as I stood there the thought crossed my mind, I needed to ask for her wisdom and guidance not for me but to help empower the online community I have been connecting with for the past year which continues to grow in leaps and bounds. I needed to ask her how to turn talk into the action that will create positive change. The words floated from my mouth like butterflies on the breeze. “What is the best way to use social media to engage the online community not only to speak up but also to take action in matters directly affecting them?”

My biggest lesson of the night and there were many:
Her answer is simple, we need to use our online resources to connect locally. We need to connect with existing groups in our areas or create circles where there are none. She said it was necessary to connect face to face so we don’t feel alone, disconnected and we don’t go crazy. Then I had a sudden realization which provoked a laugh between us. I told her that’s exactly what I’ve been doing just recently and because of it, led me here on this wonderful night enabling our meeting in person.

She was teaching us by practicing her own advice. In that space, Gloria connected with each and every one of us that night creating our very own circle.

Okay, now you see why I’m still elated and will remain so.

Gloria Steinem shared lots of wisdom that night while we laughed and played Loteria. Let’s begin with the definition of feminism. Every person who believes in equal rights for everyone is a feminist. The world is connected and what happens in one place eventually causes consequences in another. Joining forces with your allies will make you stronger.

As a woman living in the year 2012 it’s hard for me to believe that my basic human rights of autonomy and self determination are in danger of being limited or completely taken away. After all this isn’t the dark ages when millions of women were murdered, accused of witchcraft when they attempted to empower themselves.

Gloria’s response to this was:
“We are receiving a front lash because there was a backlash.”

Meaning there has been some change and a few improvements have been made but we must stick together for that final push. The people in power are terrified of the change that is coming and will do anything and everything in their power to take away ours. When you fail to use your voice, your vote, you are enabling them.

Gloria Steinem also spoke to us about why she endorses President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. President Obama understands women are complete human beings and treats them as such beginning with his own family. He knows if women received equal pay there would be $200,000,000,000 more floating in the US economy. He passed the The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Also, women pay an average of 50% more in health insurance because of gender rating which is eliminated by the Affordable Healthcare Act. In addition determining when and whether or not to have children has direct consequences on a women’s health, education and longevity. The Republican party is not the party it used to be. Today it is being lead by religious extremists. For the past fifty years, women have banded together to speak the truth about inequality conceding creation of certain laws. Women will lose everything they have gained if a Republican candidate wins.

As an empowered woman I agree with her, I use my voice every day. I hope you use yours and vote because your vote really does matter.

Before parting, I took her hand and told her it was an honor to meet her. She then placed her hand on my arm pulling me close to tell me: “No, the honor is mine.”

Mi Lola

 

The organizer and sponsor of this amazing event which brought Gloria Steinem is a community organization in Miami called Mi Lola. I love and support everything they stand for. Here is their mission statement:  “Our mission is to increase the power of women and girls of color to be advocates for health equity and reproductive justice for themselves and their community. MI LOLA envisions a world where women and girls are respected, engaged, and fully participate in the decision and policy making that shapes and influences their lives and well-being.”

 

I recommend you click like on Mi Lola’s Facebook page to keep up to date on their upcoming events.

 

 

Feminist Activist Gloria Steinem  quotes
Gloria Steinem Quotes:

“The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off.”

“Having someone who looks like us but thinks like them is worse than having no one at all.”


“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”


“Women have two choices: Either she’s a feminist or a masochist.”

“The only free emotion is laughter.”

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Things I Learned from my First Art Exhibit

Wynwood Art Exhibit Florida

 

I’m honored and humbled to announce one of my abstract light graffiti photographs has been chosen to be a part of Beck’s Emerging Artist Exhibition.

My piece is hanging along with fifty local talented artists at the Wynwood Exhibition Center at Cafeina Wynwood. I’m elated to be considered and above all acknowledged as an artist.

 

 

Wynwood Art Exhibit Florida

Below is the piece hanging in the exhibition.  It’s called ‘Love on the Run’.  Light graffiti is made by having the camera capture light.  Images are created by either moving the light source or moving the camera.  In the case of this photograph it was both.  There are no special effects.  The image is not altered, it was purposefully captured.  Light graffiti has become of my favorite ways of creating art.

Love on the Run

Things I learned from this amazing experience.

**Only Action Will Bring About Change**

Dreaming, thinking, wishing, writing and making plans is not enough.  Only action can bring change into your life.  I had to step out of my comfort zone to submit and send my artwork out into the world.  I felt excited, nervous, terrified, elated, happy = alive.

**Be Your Truest Self**

An artist is only as good as they allow themselves to be.

Be the unfiltered you. Do not edit yourself to please people.  You cannot please everyone all of the time. Eventually you will piss someone off.

‘Para los gustos son los colores.’

Do not let anyone edit your message.  I’m not referring to constructive criticism but the essence deep inside that defines who you are and what you stand for which is ultimately what you are saying through your work.

**Commit to Doing Your Best**

I realized the importance of creating a great work, of setting goals and standards which will enable me to grow.  Once the work is out there it will speak for itself.

**What you do is Who YOU are**

There are things we do that bring us joy.  There are things we cannot help but do.  Embrace your talent, your skills, study, practice, do the best you can do. I think that’s the best thing we can do for humanity.

Wynwood Art Exhibit Florida

There were many interesting pieces on display including paintings, sculptures, video shorts and photography.  Mine was the only representation of light graffiti.  😉

My Business Card

 

 

Hair: bouffant. Makeup by Christian Dior: Retro red lips, dramatic eyes. Nails by OPI: red Keys to my Karma Top: ripped gray sweater with sequins Bottoms: shimmery black leggings  Shoes: Black suede 5 inch platform skinny heel Jewelry: Silver and Black onyx chandelier earrings, long silver necklace with key pendant, short platinum necklace with key pendant.

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