Gloria Steinem and moderator Virginia Heffernan at Hannah Senesh
(photo courtesy of Hannah Senesh)
When Carroll Garden's Hannah Senesh Community Day School announced the inaugural guest of its new Steinhardt Speaker Series a few weeks ago, tickets were sold out almost immediately. No surprise! The speaker was Gloria Steinem, writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer.
This past Monday, March 27th in Senesh's auditorium, Gloria Steinem spoke on a variety of topics that included her Jewish heritage, the women who inspired and mentored her, and the importance of staying involved to bring about a more equal and just society.
Her casual conversation with moderator Virginia Heffernan was an absolute delight.
Steinem is inspiring, dynamic, and very funny. She credits her mother, a journalist, and her Suffragette paternal grand-mother, Pauline Perlmutter Steinem,. for paving the way to her becoming a feminist and reporter herself.
She also spoke of the influence early feminist like Bella Abzug and Esther M. Broner had on her early on. "I was lucky enough to be included in their circle," she told the audience.
Regarding the current political climate in this country, Steinem sees hopeful signs in many movements coming together in opposition to the Trump presidency. "I have never seen such energy in all my life. And it is not going away, she said."What we are seeing is a majority response to a perfect storm." She referred to the Women's March on the day after the inauguration in January "the biggest march in history and unabashedly feminist."
Asked by Virginia Heffernan to give one piece of advice, Steinem said without hesitation: "Don't listen to me. Every one of us can be effective in ways no one else can be effective. Listen to your own knowledge."