Acclaimed journalist Cindi Leive paid a visit to SUNY New Paltz on Nov. 13 to deliver the keynote address at the Hudson Valley Writing Project (HVWP)’s “Still We Rise: Listening to Women’s Voices” seminar.
Speaking to an enthusiastic audience of students, teachers and writers, the former Glamour Magazine editor-in-chief shared her story of being a shy girl growing up in a small town in Virginia with a biochemist single mother, and how she rose to the upper echelon of the media industry after working under legendary editor Ruth Whitney.
“When I arrived in the world of fashion magazines, it wasn’t what I expected,” Leive said. “I thought it would be a superficial world, but I found, at least in my experience, what would happen if women told their truths honestly.”
Today, she is the co-founder of The Meteor, a media collective that brings diverse creatives together to tell unique feminist stories to advance gender equity and racial justice. She described how seeing younger activists at the 2017 Women’s March ignited a spark to affect broader change.
“When you think about these social movements, you can’t detach them from that righteous impatience of that younger generation,” she said.
The Saturday seminar was a celebratory event for the Hudson Valley Writing Project’s pilot Women and Girls Writing Project, developed this year with support from a Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation grant.
The new, intergenerational project aims to inspire and support women, girls, and non-binary people as writers, helping them to develop a love of writing and the skills to advocate for change and equality.
The “Still We Rise” program also included an audience Q&A following Leive’s keynote, which generated a fascinating discussion of how social media affects women and girls. It then offered a series of breakout workshops, where educators collaborated on storytelling exercises on topics related to women’s rights and women’s issues.
“I am deeply grateful to Cindi for sharing her story with us and also to the women teachers who lead our new writing project,” said HVWP Co-Director Jacqueline Denu. “They have created opportunities for us to hear women’s voices across generations and to see how women’s empowerment and gender equality benefits the lives of everyone in a society.”
About the Hudson Valley Writing Project at SUNY New Paltz
The Hudson Valley Writing Project is a professional development organization whose purpose is to improve the teaching of writing and to promote literacy development in all disciplines and at all levels of education, preschool through college. A site of the National Writing Project, HVWP is housed in the School of Education and provides opportunities for future teachers to write and learn about literacy instruction from experienced educators. The Writing Project works with regional partners, including the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites, Storm King Art Center, and Historic Huguenot Street, to support students in becoming successful writers, learners, and participants in their communities.