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  • Interviews of, and Articles about, Sonia


Interviews of, Articles about, and Books that Include Sonia

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Sonia Pressman Fuentes

Women's rights activist to appear in Sarasota

Sonia Fuentes escaped Nazi Germany in 1934
and came to the United States. [HERALDTRIBUNE
Sonia Fuentes escaped Nazi Germany in 1934 and came to the United States. [HERALDTRIBUNE STAFF PHOTO / MIKE LANG]

SARASOTA — Sonia Pressman Fuentes, whose family emigrated to the U.S. in 1934 to escape Nazi Germany and later became the co-founder of the National Organization for Women, is slated to speak Jan. 11 at a local meeting of female aviators.

The Sarasota Ninety-Nines, an international nonprofit group of licensed female pilots, formed a local chapter with seven women just over a year ago. It has grown to 21 members.

Fuentes is set to speak at 5 p.m. Jan. 11. She will be interviewed By Elina Lunin, president of the Sarasota Ninety-Nines, also known as the “Ladybugs.”

Lunin said about 4 percent of pilots are women — a number that has not changed much — but Ninety-Nines represent a strong group of women. The organization elected Amelia Earhart as its first president in 1931.

The Ladybugs will take a break from aviation to listen to Fuentes’ battle for women’s rights.

“It’s a reminder that we are all in this thing together,” Lunin said.

“I’m thrilled about it — I’m so glad they connected with me,” Fuentes said. “It’s exciting for me. Anything that deals with woman coming together and working together — woman being professional aviators — that is what I do and it’s what I love. I spent my life doing it.”

Fuentes was born in Berlin, Germany and spent nine months in Antwerp, Belgium before coming to the U.S. with her family. She is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law and testified in Congress for the passage of the Equal Pay bill in 1963.

In 1965, Fuentes joined the General Counsel’s Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as its first female attorney. She co-founded NOW, as well as the Women’s Equity Action League and Federally Employed Woman.

Sonia Pressman Fuentes with her parents, Zysia and Hindaleah Pressmman, and an unidentified sailor in Antwerp. Fuentes recalls the photo being taken in front of the SS Westerland before they sailed to New York in 1934. [PROVIDED PHOTO]

Wednesday, 12/20/2017 Page B03
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