Editor’s Page


Fall 2016

Dear Readers,

Smart, funny, feminist and Schiaparelli pink: The Getting It Gazette.

It was 1992. Anita Hill had spent hours testifying about Clarence Thomas and his sexual harassment of her at the EEOC. The Senate Judiciary Committee “just didn’t get it.” But women did. Then came the Democratic Convention in New York City, the one that nominated Bill Clinton. Determined to keep women’s issues high on the Democratic agenda, a group of feminist journalists, humorists, editors, techies and students banded together to publish a daily newspaper that would be distributed to all the delegates.

We worked in Anne Mollegen Smith’s house using Mac Classics (remember those doorstops?) that Linda Boldt (now a Persimmon Tree editor) and I hijacked from the toney private school at which we taught. The marvelous Jane O’Reilly (do you remember reading her “The Housewives’ Moment of Truth” otherwise known as the “Click!” piece in the very first issue of Ms. ?) helped pull together an amazing team of writers; the Columbia Journalism School sent over a group to report and fact check; the late editor Judy Daniels raised money from some surprising sources (think Time Magazine). From early morning to even earlier morning we planned, typed, corrected, checked, faxed and sent out thousands of copies.

I rounded up a batch of my high school students to distribute the issues every morning. Along with other volunteers they, as Anne describes it, “delivered the paper to delegation caucuses, convention events and press rooms in hotels all around the city. Those with press credentials to the convention put little stacks of Gazettes in the ladies’ rooms of Madison Square Garden. All during the day, the Gazette set picked up papers and handed them out (often one by one) at whatever convention events they were covering or attending.” Soon the convention was awash in a sea of deepest pink.

{Many of the team went to the Republican convention and repeated the process.}

Forward to August, 2016. Jane O’Reilly’s granddaughter, Dominique Singara, created the Boudica Series and invited some of the original Gazeteers to tell their story. Anne, Jane, Pat Reuss, Lynn Phillips, and I climbed onto the stage and reminisced and exhorted the audience to take up the cause for this election.

Afterward, I asked them to contribute something to Persimmon Tree. They came through. Anne and Pat sent us entries for Short Takes and the ever-remarkable Jane wrote the lead nonfiction piece for this issue. They all stressed, as Gloria Steinem points out, “The impersonal Internet is not enough … nothing can replace being in the same space.”

The Gazette story is a small part of what the Fall issue brings. So much talent, so many stories, such proof of the power of women working together.

Be sure to vote. Maybe you already have.
Sue Leonard

 

For 45 years, Sue Leonard taught every variety of history except American mostly at independent high schools for girls — with a brief stint in a poverty program school for pregnant teens in Bedford Stuyvesant. In the mid-nineties she and her late husband John Leonard were co-editors of the Books and Arts section of the Nation Magazine. Since retiring, Sue has filled up her days with reading, needlework, family, friends and long walks.

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