Honorary Board Members

Suzanne Lerner

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Suzanne Lerner is an activist entrepreneur with a primary focus on gender and racial equality, and the economic empowerment of women and girls. In 1986, she co-founded the clothing company Michael Stars, of which she now serves as president. Her second career is philanthropy and giving back to communities both domestically and internationally through personal grants, impact investments, as well as the Michael Stars Foundation.

Born and raised in Chicago, she saw firsthand the racial injustice in her own backyard. Her commitment to this issue grew when she spent five years traveling the world in her early twenties, and seeing the inequality that existed, especially toward women. Realizing then that we’re all citizens of this world, Suzanne has made it her mission to support gender & racial rights both in her personal and business life.

Suzanne is a frequent contributor and speaker on the topics of philanthropy, achieving racial and gender justice, and running a socially conscious business. She was honored by the Ms. Foundation with their ‘Woman of Vision’ award in 2015, and was chosen as a 2018 "21 Leaders for the 21st Century" by Women’s eNews.

Suzanne sits on the board of the Ms. Foundation, an organization dedicated to building women of color’s collective power for social, economic and reproductive justice. She formerly served on the board of Women Thrive Alliance, which worked to empower women through grassroots advocacy initiatives. In addition, she is a board member of the ACLU of Southern California Foundation, and is an advisory board member of Prosperity Catalyst, ERA Coalition, Children Mending Hearts and A CALL TO MEN. She is an active member of both Women Moving Millions and Women’s Donor Network.  Suzanne resides in Los Angeles, CA with her #feministpup @ms_simba.

Dr. Beth Ritchie

Dr. Beth Ritchie is the author of numerous articles concerning black feminism and gender violence, race and criminal justice policy, and the social dynamics around issues of sexuality, families and grassroots organizations in African-American communities. Her book Compelled to Crime: the Gender Entrapment of Black Battered Women, which is taught in many college courses and is cited in the popular press for its original arguments concerning race, gender and crime. Her most recent book, Black Women, Male Violence and the Build-up of a Prison Nation, chronicles the evolution of the contemporary anti-violence movement during the time of mass incarceration in the United States. Dr. Richie is qualitative researcher who is also working on an ethnographic project documenting the conditions of confinement in women's prisons. Her work has been supported by grants from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and The National Institute for Justice and The National Institute of Corrections. Among others, she has been awarded the Audre Lorde Legacy Award from the Union Institute, The Advocacy Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and The Visionary Award from the Violence Intervention Project. Dr. Richie is a board member of The Chicago Foundation for Women, The Institute on Domestic Violence in the African Community, The Center for Fathers' Families and Public Policy and a founding member of INCITE!: Women of Color Against Violence.  Dr. Richie is engaged in several research projects designed to explore the relationship between violence against women in low-income African-American communities and violence. The specific focus of one study is girls who are both violent and perpetrators of violence. Another project is looking at the factors that influence recidivism and re-arrest rates for women and young people being released from a large urban jail. A third project is concerned with the public policy and social factors that lead to the rise in incarceration rates of women and conditions of confinement once they are sentenced.

Eve Ensler

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Eve Ensler is the Tony Award winning playwright, activist, and author of the Obie award winning theatrical phenomenon, The Vagina Monologues, published in over 48 languages, performed in over 140 countries and recently heralded by The New York Times as one of the most important plays of the past 25 years, among numerous other honors.

Her plays include LemonadeExtraordinary MeasuresNecessary TargetsOPCThe Good Body (Broadway and National Tour), and Emotional Creature and most recently Fruit Trilogy, which debuted Off-Broadway in June of 2018. Her books include Insecure At Last: A Political Memoir and The New York Times bestseller I Am An Emotional Creature. She recently finished performing In the Body of the World as a one-woman show which she adapted for the stage from her critically acclaimed memoir to rave reviews at Manhattan Theatre Club after its debut at the American Repertory Theater. Film credits include The Vagina Monologues (HBO) and What I Want My Words to Do to You(Executive Producer, Winner of the Sundance Film Festival Freedom of Expression Award, PBS) and Mad Max: Fury Road (Consultant). 

Eve is founder of V-Day, the 20 year old global activist movement which has raised over 100 million dollars to end violence to end violence against all women and girls (cisgender, transgender and gender non-conforming), and the founder of One Billion Rising, the largest global mass action to end gender based violence in over 200 countries.  She is a co-founder of the City of Joy, a revolutionary center for women survivors of violence in the DRC, along with Christine Schuler Deschyrver and Dr. Denis Mukwege, and will appear – along with Christine and Dr. Mukwege - in the upcoming award winning documentary film City of Joy scheduled for a September 7 global release as a Netflix Original in 190 countries.

She is a contributor to The Guardian and was named one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Changed the World” and The Guardian’s “100 Most Influential Women.” Eve is the 2018 recipient of the Lucille Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lily Award.

A survivor of violence, Eve has dedicated her life to ending violence against women and girls.

 

Danny Pino

Danny Pino is currently starring in his second season as Detective Nick Amaro in NBC’s long-running, critically-acclaimed series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." Pino is a versatile actor who has enjoyed success in film, theater and television.  Most recently, he can be seen in the thriller "The Exodus of Charlie Wright" opposite Aidan Quinn and Andy Garcia, "Across The Hall," for Universal and Guillermo Arriaga’s directing debut, "The Burning Plain," an ensemble drama featuring Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger. Pino has portrayed a wide range of characters, from the sociopath Armadillo Quintero on the acclaimed series "The Shield," a Wyoming horse-wrangler in the feature film "Flicka," to the iconic Desi Arnaz in "Lucy," a bio-pic focusing on the tumultuous lives of Lucille Ball and Arnaz.  He is perhaps best known for his seven seasons starring as the laconic Detective Scotty Valens on the Warner Brothers’ series "Cold Case."


Pino has starred in the theatrical productions "Up For Grabs" opposite Madonna on London’s West End, opposite Billy Crudup in the New York Shakespeare Festival’s production of "Measure For Measure," directed by Mary Zimmerman, and "The Winters Tale," directed by Brian Kulick.  Recently he starred in the Miami production of "Havana Bourgeois" at the Actor's Playhouse. Pino was born and raised in Miami.  He attended New York University’s Tisch Graduate Acting Program where he earned a Master of Fine Arts.  He currently lives in New York with his family.

Gloria Marie Steinem

Gloria Marie Steinem is a writer, organizer, lecturer, editor, feminist activist and co-founder of Ms. magazine. She travels in this and other countries as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality. She is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples, and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice. In 1972, she co-founded Ms. magazine, and remained one of its editors for 15 years. She continues to serve as a consulting editor for Ms., and was instrumental in the magazine’s move to be published by the Feminist Majority Foundation. In 1968, she helped to found New York Magazine, where she was a political columnist and wrote feature articles. As a freelance writer, she was published in Esquire, The New York Times Magazine,  and women’s magazines as well as for publications in other countries.  Her books include the bestsellers Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Moving Beyond Words and Marilyn: Norma Jean, on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Her writing also appears in many anthologies and textbooks, and she was an editor of The Readers' Companion to U.S. Women's History. Steinem helped to found the Women’s Action Alliance, a pioneering national information center that specialized in nonsexist, multiracial children’s education, and the National Women’s Political Caucus, a group that continues to work to advance the numbers of pro-equality women in elected and appointed office at a national and state level.


She was president and co-founder of Voters for Choice (VFC), a pro-choice political action committee for 25 years, then with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund when it merged with VFC for the 2004 elections. She was also co-founder and serves on the board of Choice USA, a national organization that supports young pro-choice leadership and works to preserve comprehensive sex education in schools. She was the founding president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, a national multi-racial, multi-issue fund that supports grassroots projects to empower women and girls, and also a founder of its Take Our Daughters to Work Day, a first national day devoted to girls that has now become an institution here and in other countries.  She was a member of the Beyond Racism Initiative, a three-year effort on the part of activists and experts from South Africa, Brazil and the United States to compare the racial patterns of those three countries and to learn cross-nationally. Now, she is working with the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College on a project to document the grassroots origin of the U.S. women's movement.

 

Gwen Wright

Gwen Wright is the acting executive director of the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence. Wright has been with the Office for 20 years and has served in many capacities, most recently as director of human services and prevention. She has supervised training and policy programs in the areas of child welfare, social services and public benefits, substance abuse and mental health, health care and criminal justice. Wright was integral in the development and implementation of the New York State Domestic Violence and the Workplace Initiative required by executive order in 2006.

 

Wright has held numerous positions in the domestic violence field.  She is the former executive director of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a statewide grassroots advocacy group. As the first women of color to head a state domestic violence coalition, she coordinated statewide legislative activities, organized regional domestic violence efforts, participated in numerous policy discussions with state lawmakers and made dozens of media appearances, both locally and nationally.  Wright has been on the board of directors of the Pride Center of the Capital Region, formerly the CDGLCC, and currently serves as president.

 

She has also just completed a 10-year reign as the president of the board of directors of A CALL TO MEN, a violence prevention organization and respected leader on issues of masculinity, male socialization and its intersection with violence, and preventing violence against all women and girls.  Wright is the former co-chair of In Our Own Voices, and served as interim executive director in 2005.