Media Room


MAY 2, 2015

Good afternoon.

It is my pleasure to be here with Attorney General Rosenblum, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Chair Vardavas, today’s honorees, and all of you (addressing audience).

Twenty years ago, I received this very same award, along with Myrlie Evers Williams.

I thought this morning, I would share with you snippets from the speech I gave two decades ago.

When I was a young kid, I had a poster in my bedroom.

It was green and had an orange thumbprint on it.

The orange thumbprint matched the shag carpeting on the floor.

The poster read “I gotta be me.”

And I want to thank each and every one of you for clearing the path so that I can be me.

In many ways my life is the feminist movement.

The movement is all of our lives.

I cannot remember a time when I was not a feminist.

It was in 1968, the last year of Walt Disney, that I told my mother I wanted to be President.

She told me we didn’t have enough money.

So I settled instead for being a state legislator, at least for now.

When I was 13, it was the year of Roe v. Wade, I convinced my mother that she should be pro-choice; and to this day, she is.

When I was 15, my boyfriend hit me, and I never went out with him again.

I was 25 in 1985, fresh out of law school, working in my first law firm, living with a woman whom I loved and terrified that I may lose my job because of it.

These were some of the defining moments in my life.

Each and every one has faced our own similar set of defining moments.

That’s why the Commission for Women and WRC are so important. Because they give everyone support and guidance and a sense of being a part of something bigger than themselves.

I have a dream that by the next century which isn’t too many years away,

We will be preparing a woman to run for President and it doesn’t matter what color she is and what her income is.

I dream of a world that women in every country will have the right to self-determination and be able to control if and when to have a child.

I dream of families that raise their children without violence and abusers who will be punished because we will have zero tolerance for violence in our homes.

I have a dream that little girls will be able to look in the mirror and say

“I can do anything” and when they turn 13 or 25 or 42 or 60, it will still be true.

For us to realize these dreams and many like them, we need to redefine the feminist movement.

I am very appreciative of this award because it validates everything I have worked for and it inspires me to keep striving for the dream.

The other poster I had in my bedroom, the one with orange shag carpet, read “Happy are those who dream dreams and are willing to pay the price to make them come true.”

Today’s celebration brings us together as members of the women’s movement to honor five incredible women for their accomplishments. I am inspired and motivated by their stories of perseverance and determination.  Women like you (addressing honorees) give me the kind of inspirational boost I need to keep striving for the dreams I have for girls, women, and all Oregonians. Thank you for all you have accomplished.

Only by working together can we make real our shared dream of equity and justice for all.

Thank you.