"I didn't know I could make a home for myself. Women didn't do that."

-Gloria Steinem

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Gloria's Foundation

Gloria's Foundation, named in celebration of Gloria Steinem's lifelong work as an activist and organizer, has been established with the primary goal of supporting and nurturing the feminist movement. The Foundation's first goal will be to assume ownership of some and ultimately all of Gloria's entire three-story apartment. The vision for the apartment is that it shall continue to be what it always has been: a center for activism, thought, creativity, security, and planning. 
 


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My apartment isn’t just a home, it’s a political center. It’s a place where people have come to feel safe and I hope it could be preserved with that in mind. This particular political moment has made it all the clearer that we need safe spaces to convene that can’t be taken away from us. Groups survive when they have space.”
— Gloria Steinem

Gloria’s home can be what it always has been: a birthplace for many organizations and limitless ideas. Since 1968 Gloria’s home has hosted meetings and events for the myriad of great organizations and ideas Gloria attaches herself to or that are inspired by her work.

Many mainstays of the feminist movement got their start or a leg up in this space—from hosting farm workers so they could organize for better wages to the first meetings for Ms. Magazine; the earliest meetings for the creation of the Women’s Media Center and Women Moving Millions have also happened there. Various non-proft organizations have used the space for large-scale fundraising and organizing events, including Third Wave Foundation, Equality Now, Donor Direct Action, Direct Impact Africa, and Chicken & Egg Pictures. International writers and organizers such as Ruchira Gupta, Devaki Jain and Achola Pala have used it as a temporary home when passing through New York City. Writers have used it as a place of solace to contemplate and simply to live freely so they can prioritize their art.

One of Gloria’s greatest gifts always has been her ability to coalesce others. Having this freestanding foundation is important to house and honor the countless organizations, individuals and issues that Gloria has supported and is committed to. No one organization would otherwise be able to do justice to that breadth and diversity of this work.


Coming Home

Afterword from My Life on the Road

As I write this, I’m fifteen years older than my father was when he died. Only after fifty did I begin to admit that I was suffering from my own form of imbalance. Though I felt sorry for myself for not having a home, I was always rescued by defiance and a love of freedom. Like my father for instance, I’d convinced myself that I wasn’t earning enough money as a freelancer to file income tax returns, something I had to spend months with an accountant to make up for. Like him, I’d saved no money, so there was a good reason for my fantasy of ending up as a bag lady. I handled it just by saying to myself, I’ll organize the other bag ladies.

Finally, I had to admit that I too was leading an out-of-balance life, even if it was different in degree from my father’s. I needed to make a home for myself; otherwise it would do me in, too. Home is a symbol of the self. Caring for a home is caring for one’s self. Gradually, the rooms that I had used mostly as an office and a closet were filled with things that gave me pleasure when I opened the door. I had a kitchen that worked, a real desk to spread papers on, and a welcoming room where visiting friends could stay, something I’d always wanted as a child when I was living with my mother in places too sad to invite anyone. Though it was a little late after fifty, I even began to save money.

After months of nesting—and shopping for such things as sheets and candles with a pleasure that bordered on orgasmic—an odd thing happened: I found myself enjoying travel even more. Now that being on the road was my choice, not my fate, I lost the melancholy feeling of Everybody has a home but me. I could leave—because I could return. I could return—because I knew adventure lay just beyond an open door. Instead of either/or, I discovered a whole world of and.

Long before all these divisions opened between home and the road, between a woman’s place and a man’s world, humans followed the crops, the seasons, traveling with their families, our companions, our animals, our tents. We built campfires and moved from place to place. This way of traveling is still in our cellular memory. Living things have evolved as travelers. Even migrating birds know that nature doesn’t demand a choice between nesting and flight. On journeys as long as twelve thousand miles, birds tuck their beaks under wings and rest on anything from ice foes to the decks of ships at sea. Then, once they arrive at their destination, they build a nest and select each twig with care.

I wish the road had spared my father long enough to show him the possibilities of and instead of either/or. If he’d been around when I finally created a home, I might have had something to teach him, as well as time to thank him for the lessons he taught me. I wish my mother hadn’t lived an even more polarized life of either/or. Like so many women before her— and so many even now—she never had a journey of her own. With all my heart, I wish she could have followed a path she loved.

I pause for a moment as I write these words. My hand, long-fingered like my father’s, rests on my desk where I do work I love, in rooms that were my first home—and probably will be my last. I can go on the road— because I can come home. I come home—because I’m free to leave. Each way of being is more valued in the presence of the other. This balance between making camp and following the seasons is both very ancient and very new. We all need both.

My father did not have to trade dying alone for the joys of the road. My mother did not have to give up a journey of her own to have a home.

Neither do I. Neither do you.

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