By Margarita Sophia Cortes
Last month in New York City, Women’s eNews held their annual 21 Leaders for the 21st Century and it was a night of celebration for a diverse group of honorees, all fearless leaders who are committed to advancing gender equality throughout the world.
Women’s eNews is an award-winning nonprofit news service covering issues of particular concern to women and providing women’s perspectives on public policy. Their annual gala was held on May 6th at NYC’s 101 Club. Here is the full list of honorees.
One of the 2019 honorees included our very own NYWIFT Executive Director, Cynthia Lopez, whose extensive leadership roles have spanned two decades.
“Women have repeatedly earned their rightful place in our society, government, media and the economy. Their recent electoral victories in Congress serve as an inspiration to women in all areas of the film and television industry who are standing up for gender equity, equal pay, and safer work environments. I am primed for the challenges that lay ahead of us, while also galvanized by the secured victories, and look forward to developing new initiatives in support of women working in media.”
– Cynthia Lopez
During the evening, each honoree was asked the same question: “How can women change the world?” Each response was filled with emotion, inspiration and determination. We would like to share with you Cynthia Lopez’s insightful response:
Question: How can women change the world?
Cynthia Lopez: By never forgetting the past, the political gains won and accepting the precarious position of not exactly knowing what path lies ahead. When I was a child my mother took me to my first live performance and it was about Harriet Tubman– Underground Railroad. I was so upset at her – “I wanted to see the show girls,” I said. She laughed, and said, “there will be enough time for that but for now it is important you understand what the women in history have done to afford you a space today.” By the end of the play I cried with fear at how brave Harriet Tubman was and how she risked her own life to fight for the freedom of others.
Later I learned about Luisa Capetillo, the first Puerto Rican woman who was imprisoned three times before women in Puerto Rico were allowed to wear pants. She then went on to fight for more important causes including labor rights. I met Grace Lee Boggs and she had the strength of a hawk battling high-end winds in a relentless pursuit to fight against political injustice.
Recently, I watched a film titled Warrior Women, which taught me about Madonna Thunder Hawk, a Native American woman who was short on cash and food for her own family but instead of focusing on her limitations she built a community school where everyone learned about Native American history and traditional culture from their elders. They cooked together and shared the little bits of foods to educate and nourish the entire community.
Women can change the world by learning from the mistakes and the successes of these women. Harriet Tubman, Luisa Capetillo, Grace Lee Boggs, and Madonna Thunderhawk used the power of their convictions as a political sword and changed the world one decision at a time.
Today, how can women change the world? By ensuring that we show love to our daughters, to our sisters, co-workers, our allies and sometimes even our enemies. We must ensure that women’s stories are shared, passed down and discussed in detail so the next generation of girls understands what our ancestors have done to create a space and the political rights that we deserve.
A special heartfelt thank you to Loreen Arbus, Abby Disney, Lori Sokol, James Grant and the entire team at Women’s eNews for this incredible distinction. — Cynthia Lopez
Latinx Representation: Good news – the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media has partnered with Universal Filmed Entertainment Group to pilot its “Spellcheck for...READ MORE
Multi-hyphenate artist Leah Curney - an actor, writer, and director - shares what keeps her organized and inspired, from notebooks to podcasts and more. Plus, she expounds on the one piece of advice that frustrated her...until the truth of it finally clicked.READ MORE
NYWIFT member Jodie Alexandra Taylor's documentary Pennhurst, which screens at the Member Screening Series on February 25th, was inspired by her visit to what remains of one of the largest and oldest institutions for the intellectually and developmentally disabled. One chapter of the story ended when the institution closed, but the fight for equitable treatment and representation for the disabled continues to this day. Making the movie inspired a fervent commitment on Taylor’s part to continue that dialogue and, in so doing, change the future narrative. Taylor sat down with us to discuss the film and its potential impact.READ MORE
Production Women: It’s time for more women behind the lens. From lighting to sound to stunts, costumes, sets, and beyond, learn about the many career...READ MORE