National Women’s History Month Honoree Awards Luncheon
Dusty Roads Award Accepted by Elaine Rock
March 25, 2017
I was profoundly honored to be representing Dusty at the National Women’s History Project (see http://www.nwhp.org) luncheon and award ceremony for “Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business.” She was unable to be there so I went to Washington, D.C. with two of my friends. It was moving and inspiring to have the opportunity to share the stage, meet and chat with the other illustrious women being honored including Lilly Ledbetter, Equal Pay Activist; Barbara Hackman Franklin, former Secretary of Commerce; Rebecca Anderson, Community and Economic Development Organizer; Nina Vaca, CEO and Chairman of Pinnacle Group, and Norma Yaeger, the first woman stockbroker on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
I was first up to speak after the NWHP showed a segment of her interview from the 2013 Maker’s documentary,100 Women Who Made America. Just before the luncheon I was told I only had a minute to speak because of the length of the film. So, I had to quickly cut my speech in half. Here’s what I said:
“Good afternoon. I’m delighted to accept this award on behalf of Dusty. I met Dusty Roads in 2014 in the Sonoma County, California YMCA swimming pool. She told me about her life as a stewardess and what she had accomplished as an unpaid labor lobbyist in Washington, D.C. Concerned her story might fade with time, I interviewed her for the next two years and am currently writing Dusty’s biography. I only have time today to share one anecdote of the hundreds I collected from her.
There was a photograph you may have noticed in the background of the documentary you just saw. She was wearing her Hawaiian muumuu uniform and carrying a protest sign. It proves how quick-witted she is. Dusty had just gotten off a flight from Hawaii and as she rushed to join the picketers, she saw a sign leaning against the entry to the Women’s Restroom. It said “Out of Service.” Without hesitation, she grabbed it and used it as her message to the press while picketing. The other stewardesses knew exactly where she got that sign from and you can see them laughing if you look closely.
I wish she could have been here today. If she had been, I’m sure she would have inspired us all to get up and march across the street to the White House in protest.
Dusty is grateful that the National Women’s History Project has acknowledged her and bestowed this honor upon her and it assures her proper place in our Women’s History. Thank you very much.”
The photograph above shows me with Angie Klink, Author and NWHP Board Member, on the left, and Molly MacGregor, founder of the NWHP, on the right. I’m holding one half of the inscribed marble book ends they presented to all the honorees.