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She also offered a light from her torch to a candle held by Shelby Knox, a 25 year old surrounded by a cohort of young feminists representing the younger generations. Before Shelby spoke, Gloria Steinem explained the new ritual, which she said had just been invented for this occasion. It was not a "passing of the torch" service, Gloria said, and it shouldn't be. Instead, she counseled feminists of all generations to hold onto their torches and never give them up, but share and increase the light. Both Kate and Shelby obeyed, holding onto their lit candles with broad smiles on their faces.


Sophie Keir, Kate's close companion and colleague, introduced all the videos and gave an update on Kate's current and future activities. Most notably, prior to screening a clip from her film, GOING TO IRAN, Sophie described the terrifying events in Iran which led up to the time when she and Kate were arrested by the Ayatollah Khomeini.


Veteran Feminists of America was honored too, along with Kate, on this special day. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer sent along a proclamation which Muriel

Sandy Rapp and NOW president Terry O'Neill (photo by Joan Roth) 

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Susan Brownmiller, Gloria Steinem, Kate Millett

Fox, Chair of the VFA Board accepted on behalf of the organization and Kate Millett.


But there were other honors too, other worthy recipients, other surprises. In a very moving moment, and to her great and obvious shock, the VFA Medal of Honor was awarded to Jan Cleary by the entire leadership of VFA: Muriel Fox, Sheila Tobias, and Jacqui Ceballos. This was being given to Jan for her outstanding contributions as webmaster of the VFA website and for being our communications guru-the Wizard behind the curtain. Sheila Tobias, who co-chaired the event with me, was especially appreciative of Jan Cleary's work with her on the Festival CD which impressively represented Sheila's original vision of the Festschrift in digital form.

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There was much hoopla at the event, a carnival atmosphere in the back of the room to complement the production values at the front. There were videos, a silent auction, graphic arts and book sales of Kate Millett's work, photographic displays, tables piled with t shirts, cds, posters, memorabilia, miscellaneous items for sale, and an elegant luncheon.

All in all, it was a special and memorable day, a fitting celebration to honor one of the most important figures in Second Wave feminism-my friend, Kate Millett. I'm so grateful to have been a part of it.


Eleanor Pam, Jan Cleary and Sheila Tobias

And then there was Kate Millett herself-shy, pleased, excited, engaged, happy. I kept looking over at her and every time I did, there was this wide smile on her face. It made me feel great that she was enjoying it so much, every damn minute of it! I especially loved the standing ovations she twice received-once in the early part of the program and once at the end. But Kate--maybe not so much. Both times it was obvious that the collective wave of affection and appreciation coming at her from the audience only increased her shyness. But although she accepted these tributes awkwardly, I knew her well enough to know she was taking it all in, heard the message beamed at her implicitly and explicitly all afternoon: I love you Kate. Unsynchronized, most of the speakers said it too, looking directly at her as they ended their remarks. I love you Kate.

Kate was especially radiant while the musicians, all personal friends - Alix Dobkin, Sandy Rapp, and Joan Casamo sang her favorite songs, some of which were written for or about her. At one point, Terry O'Neill joined Sandy Rapp on stage as the back up-singer to "Remember Rose."

Kate participated in two ceremonies at the event: She presented the Kate Millett Award to Jacqui Ceballos, President of VFA, engaging in an animated and warm hearted interchange with a clearly delighted Jacqui about some of their early adventures together.