Gloria Steinem & Lateefah Simon in SF


A few months ago our host Majo attended a live conversation at the Women’s Building between SF-based activist Lateefah Simon and Gloria Steinem, who became nationally recognized as a leader and spokeswoman for the feminist movement in the late 60s and early 70s. She’s been an inspiration to generations of women who want to live life on their own terms.

This episode is a compilation of some of the most interesting moments from the historic conversation, with Majo weaving in and out to provide context and insights. As a woman who’s been around the block and long-engaged in social and political activism, Gloria has powerful wisdom to share on the topics of feminism, sex, race, our current political climate, and how we can have an impact.

Subscribe and listen to the full episode here (you must subscribe to receive latest episode).

Highlighted Excerpt

Lateefah: Based on your knowledge now, with what you’ve seen, what should we be focused on as a national and global community? Give me three takeaways or strategies. Is it elected office? Is it grassroots organizing? Is it culture as a weapon for freedom?

Gloria: Well, I don’t want to just say all of the above. I don’t think we can choose for each other because we each have different ways we can be effective. I think that the fun of it is thinking about specificity in the generalities. 

For instance, we once had a national, fairly substantial network of safehouses for women whose children had been ordered by the courts back into the houses of their sexually abusive fathers. Do you remember that? I met women with false walls in their houses… so okay – we could do that again for people in fear of deportation… I’m not suggesting it’s going to go there, because I hope we stop it before that, I’m just trying to be specific.

Another example: We could deduct from our income tax the amount we think should be going to Planned Parenthood and send them a check. Then write a little note to the IRS saying, I’ve deducted this… come and get me.

During the Vietnam War we did that, we deducted the 10% of our tax dollars that went to the war and wrote a note to the IRS. They come and get it eventually out of your bank account, but it costs them way more to come and get it. It’s a huge nuisance value, so a very good way of voting.

Within these kinds of things there’s something each of us can do that’s adapted to our lives. We need to get rid of the “shoulds” and just get up in the morning and say, “I’m gonna do whatever I can.”

Some things are short term, some are long term, some things are with your neighbors and some are online... It’s the array of things there are to do, and looking at them with a sense of joy and adventure and community. And just getting up in the morning and saying, “What outrageous thing am I gonna do today?”

Show Notes:

  • Introducing Lateefah Simon and Gloria Steinem, and the setting for this historic conversation. [0:00]
  • Defining feminism. [2:34]
  • Gloria weighs in on why white, married women voted for Trump, and talks about the ways in which our minds are colonized. [4:48]
  • “If we look up, we feel disempowered. Look at each other.” [9:39]
  • Using empathy to design solutions: A story about sex-trafficking in Zambia. [14:34]
  • Gloria’s advice for affecting change and making an impact. [18:57]

Subscribe and listen to the full episode here (you must subscribe to receive latest episode).


The Women’s Building

Akonadi Foundation

94.1 KPFA


by Lucia Lilikoi

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