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Women & Power: Connecting Across the Generations
Opening Remarks

By Carla Goldstein

The following is a transcript of a speech given by Carla Goldstein at the Women & Power: Connecting Across the Generations Conference held at Omega Institute, September 11-13, 2009.

My name is Carla Goldstein, Director of the Women’s Institute at Omega and Director of External Affairs. This is our 8th annual WP conference. This year’s theme: Connecting Across the Generations! Welcome to all of you!

This weekend we are here to bring build bridges across the generations. So much change has occurred – more in this span of history than ever before. My Grandmother was actually arrested here in Rhinebeck about 75 years ago for wearing knickers & my daughters wear shorts to school without a thought.

We are here to not only to connect across the generations but across all the social identities that often keep women from finding a united power. And it seems everyone is talking about the role & possibilities for women. It’s in the zeitgeist. On Aug 23 the New York Times Magazine dedicated an issue “Why Women’s Rights are the Cause of Our Time.” Oprah Magazine, two women just named Network News Anchors. And Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn released the book Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

Change is in the AIR. It’s a good time to get together! Omega’s mission is to “awaken the best in the human spirit.” And we believe that we can’t achieve that without awakening the strength and power of women. ALL human beings suffer from the oppression of women and NO human spirit will be truly free until WOMEN are free.

I want to share a brief email correspondence I had with Pat Mitchell who you will hear from on Sunday that I think captures the essence of our challenge. We were talking conference logistics. I ended my note saying “in light of the New York Times magazine, clearly there is an ‘emergence’ happening.”

Pat wrote back: “Yes, emergence, and emergency!” And that is where I think we find ourselves. At a crossroads of the emergence of our power and an absolute state of emergency. Free in some places, and In places like Darfur, Congo, Pakistan, & many other conflict zones around the world, including our own backyards, women are living in terror.

What is incredible and inspiring is that out of the darkest places, amazing and impactful activists have risen to change it for others. And communications technology now allows us to know about these stories and to reach out and connect with one another.

The question is -- how can we hasten the emergence to end the emergency -- for women & children & men all over the world?

And how do we work with urgency without becoming overwhelmed and ineffective. How do we work in our own way, in our own corner of the world, and be part of something larger? If commerce can move around the globe at the speed of an electronic transmission, so can a woman’s revolutionary act.

When I was giving birth to my first daughter who is now twelve, I was in labor for about 36 hours. I was feeling quite desperate, scared, and exhausted, feeling it would never end. My very smart midwife did what is probably the oldest midwife trick in the book. She grabbed my hand and put in on the tiny piece of head that was beginning to crown through, so I could feel how close the birth was to happening. It gave me the taste I needed of my daughter to compel me to make the final pushes that brought her into the world.

I invite us all during this weekend to feel each other’s presence the way my midwife had me feel my daughter’s head. Let this gathering catalyze us to new levels of breaking through old patterns. Let’s give each other the encouragement and inspiration & support across the generations to help give birth to the full emancipation of women all over the world!


The above is a transcript of the speech delivered by Carla Goldstein at the Women and Power: Connecting Across the Generations Conference held at Omega Institute, September 11-13, 2009.

To order audio CDs from this event or to purchase recordings from past Women & Power conferences, please order online at www.eomega.org/omega/mediaworks, call 845.266.4444, ext. 317 or email [email protected].

Feminist.com's Archive of Features from the
Women & Power: Connecting Across the Generations Conference

Related links:

  • "Spiritual Activism" Column by Carla Goldstein

    Carla Goldstein, JD, is Omega Institute's external affairs director and director of the Women's Institute at Omega. Carla is an attorney with 20 years of experience in public interest advocacy and has worked extensively in city and state government on issues related to women's rights, poverty, public health, and social justice. She has contributed to more than 100 city, state, and federal laws. Carla has appeared on local and national radio and television and makes public presentations to a wide range of audiences on issues related to women's empowerment and activism. Carla serves on the Advisory Board of Feminist.com and was featured at the New York State Bar Association's "Women on the Move: Successful Women in the Know."

    Before joining the Omega Institute, Carla was the vice president for public affairs at Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC), where she directed the agency's advocacy and strategic communications work. She also served as the founding director of the PPNYC Action Fund, the political arm of PPNYC. Before joining PPNYC Carla worked for the speaker of the New York City Council, where she helped craft and advocate for the City Council’s state and federal legislative agendas. She joined the council after working as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society, where she represented clients in criminal proceedings. Before that, she worked for the speaker of the New York State Assembly as a policy analyst of human services issues. While in law school at the State University of New York at Buffalo, Carla was a cofounding editor-in-chief of the state's first women's law journal, which just celebrated its 12th year of publication, the Buffalo Women's Journal. For her work with the journal, Carla won the Dale S. Margulis award, which recognizes the student who makes "the most significant contribution to the law school and the community." She was also the First Place Winner of the Desmond Moot Court Competition.

    For the past eight years, Carla was an adjunct professor at CUNY Queens College, where she taught a course called Law and Social Justice, which was designed to empower students to be effective advocates for progressive social change. As part of Omega's Core Program, Carla teaches Introduction to Spiritual Activism, a workshop designed to help people develop their activism in creative ways that align with the rest of their lives.

    Read "Spiritual Activism" column by Carla Goldstein.

    Carla Goldstein is on the Advisory Board of Feminist.com.

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