I’m so pleased that my short story was accepted for publication in this year’s Redwood Writers Anthology. The title and theme is: Redemption. Mine is an edgy memoir about how one day at work in 1978, after being sexaully assaulted, I learned the corporate secretaries had been repeatedly harrassed and assaulted by the same guy over a long period of time. It took some doing but I convinced enough of them to stand up against the ongoing sexual harrassment at the company. I credit the current #metoo movement for my wanting to share the story so women are reminded that fear of retaliation or being fired can be overcome with the support of other victims. But it is critically important to document and subtantiate all the details to be credible before accusing anyone of bad behavior. I also credit my employer with doing the right thing and firing him the same day, not a common occurance in that era. I’m working with a wonderful editor to polish the story before publication and am pleased to finally get the story out of my system. It had been festering in my mind for 40 years.
National Women’s History Month Honoree Awards Luncheon
Washington, D.C. ~ Dusty Roads Award Accepted by Elaine Rock
on March 25, 2017
I was profoundly honored to represent 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.
Elaine B. Holtz Interviews National Women’s History Project Founder, 2017 Honoree, Dusty Roads, and Me
Below is the link to the Womens Spaces radio program interview featuring Molly MacGregor of the National Women’s History Project, Dusty and me. Molly discusses the women chosen for the 2017 theme “Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business.” Dusty and I come into the discussion at about the 35 minute mark to discuss why she was selected as one of the honorees. Dusty is her characteristically feisty self!
Over 6,000 in Sonoma County March in Solidarity with Historic Women’s March in Washington, D.C.
Saturday’s attendance at the “Sonoma County Stands Together for Women” Rally and March, a sister march to the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. exceeded everyone’s expectations! The grassroots organizing committee met for the first time on November 17, 2016 at SoCo Coffee in Santa Rosa (of course I was there!) and within two months, with over 200 volunteers, pulled off what is being called the largest demonstration in our County’s history. There were 673 participating locations worldwide and the sense of world-wide solidarity was breath-taking. Together, we sent a message to our leaders around the world that we “stand for values of human decency, equal rights and freedom from discrimination.” Our event was meant “to showcase the strength and wisdom that our country has to offer when we embrace our neighbors and our differences and come together to promote the common good.” Our march brought together men, women and children of all backgrounds, races, religions, and ages in our region. Everyone was happy to be together. The event was not just wildly successful but also inspiring, peaceful, colorful and energizing. It brought Baby Boomers together with Millennials and GenXers and gave us all hope in numbers. Dusty said it was the largest demonstration she had ever participated in and it gave her faith that the fight continues in earnest again.
Dusty, Jean and I attended and marched together and like so many others are ready to do it again! Dusty was devastated when Hillary Clinton lost the Presidential election. After crying when the loss became clear she said, “I thought I would be able to see a woman President in my lifetime. I don’t think that will happen, now.” I felt the same way. But for us, it was more than that. It’s the concern that we stand to lose the rights we already fought for in Dusty’s and my lifetime.
I believe we stand on the precipice of a cultural change that requires us all to seek healing from hate, violence and divisiveness but we’re only beginning and we still have a lot of work to do to get it right for our world. I remember Gloria Steinem suggested two years ago that it could take another 100 years before women’s rights are truly acknowledged as human rights. Fighting for fairness remains our struggle today but it was heartening to know there are millions of women and men everywhere ready and willing to keep the movement going.
Here are some photos I took that day:
Jean Montague is on the left and Dusty Roads is on the right wearing her “Nasty Woman” sweatshirt.
Jean’s neighbor Walter, Jean, me and Dusty ready to march.
Miscellaneous photos of the march in downtown Santa Rosa:
I’m pleased to announce that the YouTube video of Dusty’s and my first television interview was released. The program, WriterSpeak, is hosted by Redwood Writers member, Jeane Slone, on CMedia, Santa Rosa, CA. It was such a pleasure to be able to introduce Dusty and discuss some of her many stories about being an airline industry negotiator, lobbyist and women’s rights advocate during the 1950s and 60s. Sure we were both a little nervous but you’ve got to start somewhere and it was a lot of fun! Looking forward to more interviews with Dusty while I continue writing the book and seeking an agent and publisher.