On May 8, the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute honored Professor Ester Fuchs with its 2017 Bella Award. Established in 2005, the Institute runs mentorship and training programs to inspire girls and young women to become leaders in creating positive social and economic change.
Speaking at the ceremony, Fuchs thanked guests for supporting the Institute’s work and thanked her friends and family for supporting her in her own career. She also recalled the Institute’s namesake:
“Those of us who had the good fortune to meet Bella or just follow her extraordinary career can still hear her speak with wit and wisdom,” Fuchs said, “and we can conjure the images of Bella, not just shattering glass ceilings, but climbing up the steep walls with her hat firmly on her head and literally walking through the glass. Not just stopping there and declaring victory, but calling after us to join her. And we did, because Bella’s work created a safer and easier path for the rest of us.”
Fuchs ended her remarks with what she called a “prescient” passage from Abzug’s 1984 book, Gender Gap:
“‘Today in our vaunted democracy, we have government that does not represent us and actually works against policies favored by a majority of Americans. We women must get used to thinking of ourselves as a mighty multitude with important allies among men….. We can learn to become political leaders and activists…… It’s up to us’”
“It is still up to us,” Fuchs concluded.
Pictured from left are 2017 honoree Jack Ford; Liz Abzug, founder and executive director of the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute; 2017 honoree Ester Fuchs