The conference consisted of 3 break-out sessions each day (with multiple possibilities each time) and then various all-conference sessions with speakers. On Saturday, there was a PAC lunch featuring a number of terrific speakers, including some from Florida, which hosted the conference this year. The speakers included Democratic Florida Senator Bill Nelson, and two Florida congresswomen, Lois Frankel, and Val Demings. There was also a union activist named Kim Shultz, and a spitfire older feminist named Dr. Janet Canterbury. It was so fun to hear these political warriors speak in person.
Representative Demings (the new congresswoman from my district, and former police chief of Orlando) set the place on fire towards the end of her speech letting us know why "she won't go back." When she was done, I felt like I had been to church. Then the last person to speak was Eleanor Smeal, someone us older feminists will remember.
According to Wikipedia, Eleanor Smeal "is one of the major leaders of the modern-day American feminist movement. Smeal is the president and a cofounder of the Feminist Majority Foundation (founded in 1987) and has served as president of the National Organization for Women for three terms, in addition to her work as an activist, grassroots organizer, lobbyist, and political analyst."
Her most entertaining quote came when she was speaking about the amazing Women's March on Washington, the one that happened they day after the most current presidential inauguration. She noted that there were 661 additional marches that day in the U.S. alone, and hundreds more around the world. She said:
"We will never forget how mad we were. But we didn't sit back, we organized." A little later she said something like: "...and as every knows, when we (women) get screwed, we multiply!"
But you can watch it yourself. The incomparable Eleanor Smeal starts speaking at about the 1:30:00 mark. Do yourself a favor and watch Val Demings, too. She starts about 53 minutes into the video, but doesn't really get going until about half way through her speech.