Ms. Magazine | 2004 Women of the Year Awards Breakfast Program

National Press Club Washington, D.C.
December 6, 2004


Peg Yorkin, Chair of the Board, Feminist Majority Foundation

Why Women of the Year?
Gloria Steinem, Co-Founding Editor, Ms.

Ms. Special Programs
Eleanor Smeal, Publisher, Ms.; President, Feminist Majority Foundation

Presentation of Awards:

The Jersey Girls: Kristen Breitweiser, Patty Casazza, Lorie Van Auken and Mindy Kleinberg
9/11 widows who led the fight for an independent 9/11 commission
Presented by Eleanor Smeal, Publisher, Ms.; President, Feminist Majority Foundation

To uncover the truth about the day their husbands went to work and never came home, four 9/11 widows from New Jersey — Kristen Breitweiser, Patty Casazza, Lorie Van Auken and Mindy Kleinberg — sleuthed, lobbied, protested and ultimately shamed a stonewalling Bush administration into creating the independent commission.

Samantha Power

Pulitzer Prize Author and Human Rights Activist
Presented by Elaine Lafferty, Editor-in-Chief, Ms.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Samantha Power has spent 11 years criss-crossing the globe denouncing atrocities — a “genocide chick,” as she jokingly refers to herself. Power has made Sudan’s unfolding crisis her crusade.

Kathy Najimy

Star of the Kathy & Mo Show and Celebrity Recruiter par excellence for the feminist movement
Presented by Gloria Steinem, Co-Founding Editor, Ms.

You already know Kathy Najimy is funny. But did you know that behind the scenes, in real life, Najimy is an action hero? A social action hero who recruits countless celebrities for women’s rights.

Maxine Waters
U.S. House of Representatives
Presented by Katherine Spillar, Executive Vice President, Feminist Majority Foundation

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) rescued Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the democratically elected president of Haiti, who was forcibly removed from office and taken to the Central African Republic. Within two weeks, Waters had assembled a delegation, flown to Africa on a small private plane and brought Aristide to Jamaica, which offered him asylum.

Saudatu Mahdi
Secretary General, Women’s Rights Advancement & Protection Alternative – Nigeria
Presented by Lorraine Sheinberg, Board Member of the Feminist Majority Foundation
Accepted by Yolanda Richardson, Centre for Development and Population Activities

By pushing for adherence to due process in Nigeria, Saudatu Mahdi – a one-time school administrator-turned-feminist, and a devout Muslim – and her legal team have won acquittals for impoverished young women sentenced to death by stoning for bearing children out of wedlock.

** Saudatu Mahdi was unable to attend the breakfast; her remarks, submitted ahead of time, can be read here.

Betty Dukes
Lead Plaintiff: Betty Dukes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Presented by Dolores Huerta, Co-Founder, United Farm Workers of America

Betty Dukes is the lead plaintiff against Wal-Mart, the largest class-action sex-discrimination suit in U.S. history.

Lisa Fernandez
Olympic Gold Medalist, U.S. Softball Team
** will not be in attendance

Ms. Editors present the Ms. Legend Award:

Suzanne Braun Levine
Editor Emeritus, Ms.
Presented by Robin Morgan, Author and Former Editor-in-Chief, Ms.

Suzanne Braun Levine, the Editor-in-Chief of Ms. for 17 years, from its founding in 1972 to 1989, will be presented with the 2004 Legend Award. This is only the second Legend Award presented by the magazine. Levine, an author, remains the longest-standing editor of Ms.

Closing Remarks
Peg Yorkin, Chair of the Board of the Feminist Majority Foundation



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