“This is our fifth year. It’s incredible. We are not only alive and kicking, but we are also flourishing, and I am so excited about our theme, “Where We Were, Where We Are, and Where We are Going,” said Dona Zemo, the co-founder of the event. The conference was founded by Miami Mayor Matti Herrera Bower and is always held during Women’s History Month.
Now in its fifth year, the conference draws several hundred women to the event. The all-day event is held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, and includes a free breakfast followed by the famous “Lunch in the Garden,” which showcases an array of the best chefs and caterers, as well as a silent auction. State Sen. Gwen Margolis will also be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The morning program will include the Speaker’s Panel, led off by nationally known feminist and former head of the National Organization of Women (NOW) Patricia Ireland, human rights leader Elizabeth Schwartz and health specialist Jersey Garcia.
“I am also very excited about our speakers, because they will tell us what the movement was like, where we are now, and our future, when it comes to issues like economy, health, and equality for everyone,” said Zemo.
Ireland served as the longest tenured president of NOW from 1992-2001. During this time, Ireland helped move the organization to the forefront of the political scene and build a strong and effective women’s movement. She played a pivotal role in making 1992 the “Year of the Woman,” a campaign that provided feminist candidates with organizers and trained volunteer campaign workers to canvass by telephone and door-to-door to get voters to the polls. She continues her work today as a labor lawyer in Miami, representing unions and employees.
Representing current day leadership is Elizabeth Schwartz, who has led the way by helping women achieve goals in areas in which women were once not welcome. She currently is the president of the Miami Beach Bar Association and is the Chair of the City of Miami Beach’s Human Rights Committee.
In addition, she also chairs the Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Association of South Florida and a member of the National Family Law Advisory Council of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and she serves as the parliamentarian of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s Women’s Philanthropy, and is on the advisory board of Next@19th: Moving Jewish Culture Forward.
The third speaker, Jersey Garcia, represents the future of women’s rights. She has served as a Peace Corps volunteer and in collaboration with the Honduran Ministry of Health, organized and implemented various health campaigns. She has contributed in building the sustainability of health service delivery in Guyana Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Peru, Guatemala and Trinidad. Currently she is senior Community Health Specialist of the Health Council of South Florida and is responsible for strategic planning and resource development.
The conference is free. The cost of the luncheon is $30 prepaid or $35 at the door. Checks should be made out to Women’s Exhibit and mailed to Women’s Exhibit, 3101 Indian Creek Drive, Suite 104, Miami Beach, 33140.
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