One of the best events of 2014 which took place under the cavernous, ornate ceiling of Cipriani Wall Street, was the Women’s Event 17, sponsored by The Center for LGBTQ adults and youth. A fundraiser with money raised going to community programming including substance abuse treatment specifically geared towards LGBTQ youth, new for 2015. The Center is also focusing on workshops for women revolving around economic advancements, universally difficult for women but with a focus on Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender women in particular. The event was held in November and raised over $320,000 with a seated dinner, a silent auction and live auction presented in part by Lea DeLaria from Orange is the New Black. One of the top items up for auction was an evening with Community Ally Award Honoree, Gloria Steinem. Another of note was a personal fitting with Narciso Rodriguez. With hundreds of women present (and a handful of men), the venue was overflowing with feminine energy but not in a floral, pretty pink way, but rather in a Women rock, let’s take action! way.
After the auction, honorees were given plaques and addressed the multitude of grinning faces. A sense of pride hung in the air, invisible and warm. Honorees included Gloria Steinem (as mentioned above), Prudential who received the Corporate Ally Award and Deborah J. Glick, the first openly gay member of the New York State legislature, now serving her 12th term, granted the Impact Award. Also present and invited on stage was Edie Windsor, who is known for her case against the United States Supreme Court after being denied spousal rights when her partner of over 40 years, passed away in 2009. The case focused on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and federal estate tax exemption for spouses. Windsor was denied this act based on her same-sex partnership and after having to pay $363,053 in estate taxes, won her case and was granted a full refund in 2012 at the age of 83. The case was a win not only for Windsor, but for the thousands of same-sex couples across the United States who now could claim spousal rights. Her importance of her presence was felt and resulted in a well-deserved standing ovation. If the pioneers aren’t the first to take action, who would?
Another standing ovation was given to the beautiful and gracious Gloria Steinem, a key figure in the inauguration of the feminist movement. She was one of the co-founders of New York Magazine in 1968 and went on to Ms. Magazine in 1972 with a strong focus on women’s politics and lives. On The Center she stated,
“The power of the state, stops at our skins. Our adversaries know that we are one movement, we need to know it too.” Continuing, “Each person who enters The Center and is supported for who they are, is a part of each of us and that couldn’t have happened before. We are miracles and that is where revolution begins.”
United by a worthwhile cause, resulting in an impervious bond between all present, the Women’s Event 17, tops my list for one of the most engaging events of 2014.