To My Mother, June Alberta Pridday (d. Feb. 16, 2004)
If you're free next Tuesday evening (Oct. 18) commencing 7:00 and happen to find yourself in the Toronto environs of Trinity St. Paul's Church (427 Bloor Street West), you cannot and must not miss internationally celebrated living legend and feminist trailblazer Michele Landsberg vividly recalling and righteously reflecting upon the dozens of years she spent on the front lines forwarding often controversial yet always well-argued and beautifully written views in over 3000 exquisite columns for The Toronto Star.
Joining Ms. Landsberg? Naomi Klein ( The Shock Doctrine; No Logo), Angela Robertson ( Scratching the Surface: Canadian Anti-Racist Feminist Thought [co-edited with Ena Dua]), Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27 Councillor for the Toronto Centre-Rosedale Electoral District) and Leah Henderson (G20 Summit "Target" and accurately self-described Den Mother of Activists). Bonus? Avi Lewis (Host of Al Jazeera's Fault Lines) will engage Ms. Landsberg in an interview wherein the pair will discuss the rights' advocate's last 35 years actively participating in the Canadian women's movement, assess our current situation and, of course, astutely examine her opinions and beliefs concerning the directions our passionate new generation of feminists will most likely take.
Hosted by This Is Not a Reading Series and Second Story Press, this One-Of event will celebrate the launch of Writing the Revolution, Ms. Landsberg's passionate repository of wit, wonder and worriment offering her unique and unforgettable views upon those heavenly hellish years she spent as one of The Toronto Star's most influential and controversial voices from the moment that astonishing first column appeared in May 1978.
As many of us remember, Ms. Landsberg's forum provided a much-needed voice for those among us who could not speak up nor out — either so eloquently or so passionately — on issues of gender and equality that dominated the intellectual discourse of those tumultuous times. We counted on her to speak for us, to lobby politicians and various grand poobahs of big bizth alike; and, to her everlasting credit, Ms. Landsberg never disappointed us despite the fact her column represented the first time anyone had specifically tackled and tore down barriers we collectively faced.
Ironically, Ms. Landsberg didn't really think she wanted to become The Toronto Star's "woman columnist"; however, once she began, she came to understand her column filled an immense void and urgently pressing need. The hundreds of letters overflowing in her snail-mailbox during those days (my mom's among them) — both pro and con — convinced her she had hit a nerve and chosen a path both essential and electrifying (if not incredibly polarizing during those early bra-burning days . . . Erm . . . Nope . . . I never burnt *my* bra 'cause I never had enough boobs to own nor wear one and I still don't! TMI? Nope encore. Had I written that sentence four decades ago, though, I would most likely have lost and found myself in jail for obscenity in Toronto the Prudishly Goody-Good City of Sanitized Sensitivities and Proclivities).
How I wish I could attend and shake the hand of the woman who made so much possible for so many of us now in our 50s with those amazing 3000-plus columns; but, if you go, say "Hello" from one grateful daughter and her now-deceased mother who truly learned a great deal from her writing and loved discussing her views over coffee (and rum) on Sunday afternoons. For that reason alone, she remains indelibly fixed in my mind as one of the greatest women I had the pleasure and honour to regularly read. She brought my mother and myself closer together; and, I dearly loved my mom for always agreeing with her and defending her feistiness. I *do* miss her.
Admission? Five bucks; but, if you buy a copy of Writing the Revolution, your admission's refunded. A fair deal from one of the fairest women in the world, don'tcha think?
I do. Thank you, Ms. Landsberg, for all you did and all you continue to do. I know I, among thousands, profoundly admire and genuinely respect the heroically unflinching activist efforts you undertook effecting change in women's work, health, politics and legal issues. You are so incomparably and inimitably YOU, I simply remain in awe of all you are and all that still so passionately matters to me and you, too.
(Fedora doff, AnnA Withrow :).)