We build women’s collective power in the U.S.

May 25, 2023

Our Favorite Moments from the 2023 Women of Vision Awards

by the Ms. Foundation

On May 16 at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in NYC, we celebrated generations of progress and power at our 2023 Women of Vision Awards. This year’s event explored the past, present and future of the Ms. Foundation and feminist movements while raising funds for the organization’s strategic, equity-centered initiatives.

Below are a few of our favorite moments from the program!

Internationally renowned and Grammy Award®️-nominated ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock®, who are also celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2023, kicked off the evening with a rousing performance.

Ms. Foundation Board Member Danielle Moodie took the stage as host.

“Look at how far we’ve come in just a few generations, opening and expanding a space that centers all identities fighting for liberation. 50 years ago a woman still couldn’t have a credit card in her own name. Now we’re writing the checks.

The Ms. Foundation has spent the last 50 years encouraging economic independence, protecting reproductive rights, advocating for health, safety and equity, and building power. Today, the Foundation is transforming philanthropy and prioritizing women, girls and gender non-conforming folks of color. We’re talking $90 million in grants to over 1600 grassroots organizations across the country.”

Ms. Foundation Founding Mother Gloria Steinem spoke about the legacy and future of the foundation.

“This is a celebration of a time in which it is so much better. That one day in the future, we won’t need gender and race and class focused foundations because we will all be together, and individual, and without adjectives.”

Kimberly Inez McGuire, executive director of grantee partner URGE received a Woman of Vision Award for her decades of reproductive justice advocacy.

“My ask of all of you here tonight: listen to young people. Young people, one in five of whom are queer or trans, and most of whom are BIPOC or multiracial— young people have never felt safe in this country. From racism, to climate crisis, to gun violence, the precarity of our future is deeply felt by young people, particularly in the South, Midwest, and other regions grappling with legacies of underinvestment and the rise of white nationalism and its accompanying attacks on trans youth, abortion, and democracy…But young people aren’t the victims in the story, they are the heroes. Young people are more engaged than ever before, creating networks of care and community that defy the authoritarian police state, voting through their disillusionment with politics to elect leaders that represent their values, and demanding change at every level of power.”

Olivia Julianna, an abortion rights activist and the Director of Politics & Government Affairs of Gen-Z for Change, received the Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader Award, which honors trailblazing feminist leaders who amplify their voice and enact positive change by paving the way for generations to come:

“As a visionary, as someone whose sole purpose in life is making progress. I no longer say I am fighting for equality. In modern day America I am not fighting for equality. I am fighting for liberation from a white supremacist patriarchal system. As an openly queer Latin woman– make no mistake I do not want to be equal to men in this country. I do not want the power to oppress with intention, I do not want to objectify on a whim, or abuse without consequence. Becoming equal in an oppressive system does not free us from oppression– it makes us the oppressors.”

Rebekah Bruesehoff received the Free to Be You and Me Award, which honors young activists enacting change and leading the way for future generations. Rebecca was honored for her heroic advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community:

“Things are hard right now for transgender young people. Every day there’s another terrible headline. And still, I know these two things: One, no one can steal our joy. We are creative, resourceful, ambitious, and hilarious. Trans joy is irresistible! Two, love is more powerful than fear, and I’m looking at a room full of people who know what it means to lead with love. You give me hope. Tonight I’m asking all of you to use your voices, in your communities to say: Trans kids are just like all other kids. And like all kids, they need our support. Right now, more than ever.”

LaTosha Brown received a Woman of Vision Award for her tireless political activism and work to bring about social change:

“Even pain has a purpose. What we’re looking at that’s happening in this country right now–this isn’t just a matter about what the Republicans or the Democrats are going to do–it really is a question about what is it that we’re going to do collectively to lean into this moment of discomfort and recognize it as an opportunity to get it right because we haven’t gotten it right. There are millions of people that are living in poverty – we haven’t gotten it right. We’re saying that women don’t have the power and authority over their own body. We don’t have it right when our children are going to school and are shocked that we value gun laws over their lives.”

Wanda Irving, co-founder of grantee partner Dr. Shalon’s Maternal Action Project received a Woman of Vision Award for her work fighting the Black maternal health crisis:

“I accept this prestigious award on behalf of all lost mothers across the world. I accept this award for the many women who have become victims of the Black maternal health crisis. And it is my hope that this will persuade others to raise their voices and be encouraged to continue fighting for what they truly believe in.”

Ms. Foundation Chief Advancement Officer Ruth McFarlane announced the Creating the Future We Deserve campaign alongside campaign co-chairs Alex Busansky, current Board member, and Suzanne Lerner, former Board member. The campaign has a fundraising goal of $100 million over the next year.

Ms. Foundation President and CEO Teresa C. Younger, presented Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex with her award:

“Her core belief that representation matters, and her connection to community through the lens of learning, healing, and inspiring have helped define her as a cultural catalyst for positive change. Tonight we are thrilled to recognize Meghan’s strength, resilience, passion and tenacity, which is critical to building a better world for our mothers and grandmothers, our children and their children, and ourselves.”

Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, received a Woman of Vision Award for her global advocacy to empower and advocate on behalf of women and girls:

“Because of this foundation, so many of our youth have been instilled with self-worth and limitless possibility no matter their race, gender, class, sexual orientation, disability or age. Your collective work in pursuit of a world where every person is truly valued is nothing short of awe inspiring.”

Following the awards ceremony, renowned DJ Mary Mac performed a special after-party set.

Check out photos from the event on our Facebook page now!

Photo Credit: Getty for Ms. Foundation for Women