The Women’s Center and Department of Diversity Initiatives at the University of North Florida present advocate and activist Dorothy Pitman Hughes as the keynote speaker for the Women’s History Month Luncheon at noon Wednesday, March 14, in the Student Union, Building 58W, Ballroom, Room 3703.
This year’s national theme for Women’s History Month is “Nevertheless She Persisted.” Pitman Hughes, who gave voice to the reality that issues of race and gender are inseparable in the fight for civil rights, will be discussing her personal journey.
In the early 70s, she teamed up with Gloria Steinem, and the duo inspired women throughout the U.S. to shed their fears of economic, social and political self‐empowerment and to exercise their right to self‐determination. Pitman Hughes and Steinem fought tirelessly to knock down barriers of sexism, racism and classism, working to unify and strengthen the women’s movement through community organizing and job creation.
Pitman Hughes co-founded New York City’s Agency for Child Development, the forerunner to one of the agencies that now provides care for over 250,000 children daily and employs thousands of workers. She organized the first shelter for battered women in New York City and was one of the original founders of the Women’s Action Alliance. Pitman Hughes was also part of the research team that created the Business Resource and Investment Service Center, which focused on the development of small, locally owned businesses in Harlem.
Locally, Pitman Hughes opened the Gateway Bookstore in Jacksonville’s Northside neighborhood to bring educational resources, community outreach initiatives as well as reading and homework coaching to marginalized young people seeking mentorship and advocacy. She has continued to work with Steinem and other Jacksonville activists to address poverty with the creation of community gardens.
She is the author of “Wake Up and Smell the Dollars” and “I’m Just Saying…It Looks Like Ethnic Cleansing (The Gentrification of Harlem).” She also wrote a chapter in “When We Were Free to Be,” a collection of essays documenting the rise of non‐sexist children’s culture during the 70s. She recently released a collaborative work written with J.R. Schuman, titled “Ain’t I a Woman Too?,” which offers readers a unique and personal insight into her life and work. A biography, “With Her Fist Raised,” is expected to be published early next year.
Pitman Hughes has received numerous awards, including the Esther Award, which was presented by Bishop S.N. Snipes on behalf of the Martin Luther King Educational Foundation and the Women of Valor Award for raising money to support organizations providing services for battered women.
Following the luncheon, there will be a book signing and a Q&A session. Tickets for the Women’s History Month Luncheon can be purchased here or at the UNF Ticket Box Office, Building 8, Room 1100. General admission tickets cost $25. Tables are also available for $250; each table seats eight guests and includes table signage, preferential seating and recognition during the program.
For more information about the event, contact Joanna Hillman, Women’s Center coordinator, at (904) 620-5515 or at [email protected].