- Interviews of, Articles & Videos About Sonia
Interviews of, and Articles about, Sonia Pressman Fuentes
Articles about Sonia are also contained in the section on Belgium.
- On March 14, 2013, the Veteran Feminists of America (VFA), an organization dedicated to recognizing the pioneer feminists of the second wave of the women’s movement, announced the revamping of its website at www.vfa.us. Sonia is mentioned throughout the website.
- On February 21, 2013, the Women’s Herstory Initiative, Words of Women, International Women’s Day, based in Dallas, TX, announced that the essay of seventeen-year-old Talia Weisberg about Sonia on the subject “The Most Influential Woman in My Life” won the Words of Women Essay contest.
- The book, Jews of Sarasota-Manatee, by Kim Sheintal (Arcadia Publishing, Feb. 2013), contains a 2002 photo of Sonia in front of a sign about the Jewish Genealogical Society (JGS) of Southwest Florida (p 25). Sonia gave a talk to JGS on March 2002. To see Sonia’s photo, go to arcadiapublishing.com. You will see a photo of the book cover. Under that are the words "Search Inside," click on that, then type in “Sonia Pressman Fuentes.”
- “Boston Commons,” by Talia Weisberg, was published on January 8, 2013, in Fresh ink for Teens, an online newspaper sponsored by the Jewish Week in New York City.
- "Groundbreakers or Ground Takers?" by Talia Weisberg, was published on December. 8, 2012, in Fresh ink for Teens, an online publication sponsored by the New York Jewish Week.
- By Tyler Whitson, "Women's Rights Pioneers Strive to Influence and Inspire a New Generation," Sarasota News Leader, November 16, 2012. (Visit the Sarasota News Leader Web site.)
- "Women’s Rights Pioneer Sonia Fuentes Speaks at Law School," enewsletter of the Cornell University School of Law, Oct. 31, 2012.
- By Deborah Carney, "Sonia Pressman Fuentes Interview About Feminism and Her Memoir," October 8, 2012.
- Interview with Sonia Pressman Fuentes as a Featured Writer on authormepro.com, August 30, 2012.
- By Nick Friedman, "Neighbors: Sonia Pressman Fuentes," July 4, 2012.
- Jewdayo, June 30, 2012, Sonia as a founder of NOW.
- Sarasota Observer, June 28, 2012: Sonia presents copies of her memoir to prizewinning young women students at Booker Middle School, Sarasota, FL.
- RTIRonline asks Sonia to comment on the death of Nora Ephron, June 28, 2012.
- Website devoted to Sarah Palin calls Sonia a “so-called feminist” (presumably under the theory that forty-seven years of fighting for women’s rights isn’t long enough to qualify one as a feminist). (June 25, 2012)
- Is Laura Bush feminist enough for Alice Paul Award?, Washington Post, June 20, 2012.
- Who Will Speak Out Against an Outrageous Insult to Former First Lady Laura Bush?, The Huffington Post, June 19, 2012.
- Laura Bush’s fight for women, Washington Post, June 19, 2012.
- Sewall-Belmont House draws fire for honoring Laura Bush, Washington, DC’s The Examiner, June 18, 2012.
- Sonia initiates campaign to protest the National Woman’s Party/Sewall-Belmont House & Museum’s plan to give the Alice Award to Laura Bush, Washington Post, June 18, 2012.
- Cary Franklin, “Inventing the `traditional concept’ of sex discrimination,” Harv. Law Review, Vol. 125, # 6, p. 1307 (2012), Univ. of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper #219.
- "Eva Alexandra Countess Kendeffy, Sonia Pressman Fuentes and Rabbi Jonathan Katz", Longboat Key Observer of March 11, 2012. This picture also appeared in the Sarasota, FL, Jewish News (April 2012, p. 14B).
- By David Beard and Bethonie Butler, "The keys to a better life? Everyone has an opinion," February 21, 2012.
- Interview of Sonia by Talia bat Pessi, a high school student, that went online on Feb. 9, 2012.
- Feb. 5, 2012, Interview with Cyrus Webb, editor of Conversations Magazine.
- By Paul Berger, "When 'Savior of Jews' is Deeply Flawed," January 09, 2012. (Article includes a slide show about Sonia.) The article, which deals with Sonia’s request to The Righteous Among the Nations Department at Yad Vashem in Israel to remove Robert de Foy from those recognized as Righteous, was picked up by newspapers in Belgium, Canada, and France. An article about the same subject appeared on Feb. 8, 2012, in Dutch in Joods Actueel, a monthly newspaper directed to Jews in Belgium. By letter of Feb. 4, 2013, The Righteous Among the Nations Department advised Sonia that “after painstaking examination,” her request was denied.
- "Jean Faust, First President of the First Chapter of NOW," December 8, 2011.
- By Abby Weingarten, "Feminist Revisits Her Birth Country," November 9, 2011 (Online version | Photocopy)/Sonia with Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger
- Generations of the Shoah International Newsletter, October 2011
- "NOW Conference: Action, Inspiration and Connection," Now National Times, Fall 2011
- "Sonia Fuentes, writer, speaker, and feminist activist, tells us about her life," HavaMAG Life, Issue 4, September 2011 (To access the article: Click on the arrow to the right until it takes you to the Table of Contents on the left. Next, click on the first item in the Table of Contents, which is the article about Sonia, on page 10. When you come to the article, double click on each page to make the type readable.)
- "Featured Author," Published by Sonia's publisher, Xlibris Corp., in a newsletter and on its website, July 27, 2011.
- By Slavica Monczka, “Feminist Sonia Pressman Fuentes. Her Passion for Women’s Rights,” appeared in the e-zine, Inspirational Woman’s Magazine, on July 24, 2011, and was written by Slavica Monczka.
- By Slavica Monczka, "Something Beautiful is Happening," seductivelyfrench.com, July 5, 2011
- "Blending motherhood and working: Moms work by choice — and also out of necessity," Deseret News, June 26, 2011
- "Second Wave Founder" by Sonia Fuentes, girlscantwhat.com, June 9, 2011
- The CHJ Connection (Vo. XIV, No. 9, May-June 2011)
- Sonia’s March 3, 2011, letter to the editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune is discussed in “Religious Rehab at Florida Jail Sparks Protest,” Church & State (Vol. 64, No. 4, Apr. 2011), the magazine of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The letter is included and can be read in the Letters to the Editor section of this website.
- The Jewish News of Sarasota-Manatee (Vol. 41, No. 2, Feb. 2011): article about the Red Star Line Museum opening in Antwerp, Belgium, on Sept. 27, 2013, which will have a permanent exhibit about Sonia and her family.
- The CHJ Connection, the newsletter of the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism in Sarasota, FL, December 2010
- TILES, the newsletter of the Jewish Museum of Florida, December 2010
- 2 million passengers, 2 million stories, The Red Star Line Museum, October 10, 2010
- By WomensRadio Staff, October 12, 2010.
- By Cathy B Stucker, sellingbooks.com, September 8, 2010
- Column called “WorkWise BlogTip: Know when to be direct” by Dr. Mildred L. Culp, which appeared in the Modesto [Calif.] Bee of Sept. 6, 2010
- Radio-TV Interview Report, "Elena Kagan—Fifty and Fabulous," July 7, 2010
- By Joan Collins, The Sullivan County Democrat newspaper on June 18, 2010
- By Joan Collins, The Sullivan County Democrat newspaper on June 11, 2010
- Author Spotlight, Xlibris, June, 2010
- By Andrea Kay, USA Today, May 17, 2010
- By Nancy Gibbs, "Love, Sex, Freedom and the Paradox of the Pill, A Brief History of Birth Control," April 22, 2010
- By David Ball, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, February 20, 2010
- By Tamar Burris, published on the Web site, Story of My Life, January 19, 2010.
- Added as a Luminary on inspiremetoday.com, October 2009
- By Marita Meegan, akgmag.com interviews, August 2009
- By Corie Russell, She Knows, July 2009
- By Meigs Glidewell, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 30, 2009
- By Heather Dunhill, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 4, 2009
- By Veronica I. Arreola, Viva la Feminista, April, 2009
- By Amanda Joe, The Cornell Daily Sun, April 23, 2009
- StopGap Magazine, the members’ magazine of the Fawcett Society in the UK, Spring 2009
- Sonia, who graduated from Monticello High School, in Monticello, NY, was profiled in the October 2008 issue of the newsletter of the Monticello Central School District and is on the district’s website.
- By Kristen J. Tsetsi, Journal Inquirer, March 31, 2008
- By Evelyn L. Moya, The Docket, February 2008
- By Linda Jimenez Glassman, "English Corner" Radio Sefarad interview, August 2007
- By Ruth Lando, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, July 1, 2007
- By Steven A. Bibb, Passages, Summer 2007
- By Marsha Fottler, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, May 12, 2007
- By Erica Brody, National Council of Jewish Women Journal, Winter 2006 (pdf. file)
- Featured Author, Xlibris, November, 2006
- By Adam Levin, Washington Jewish Week, June 29, 2006
- By Susan Weidman Schneider, The Reporter (Spring 2006, Vol. 55, No. 2, p. 10), a publication of Women's American ORT
- The Barrister, the University of Miami (FL) School of Law alumni magazine, Winter 2005
- By Debra Rubin, "The f-wordOnline exhibit features local Jewish feminists," October 27, 2005. Sonia is one of six Washington, DC, area women included in the exhibit of the Jewish Women’s Archive called Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution.
- By Jacqueline Sternberg, Washington Jewish Week, April 28, 2005
- By Ken Millstone, The Potomac Almanac, October 13-19, 2004
- By Jeanette Friedman, Lifestyles Magazine, Fall 2003 (pdf file)
- By Sylvia Danovitch, Women in Judaism: Contemporary Writings, June 2003 (This interview also appears on the website of Women in Judaism: A Multidisciplinary Journal, on whose consulting board Ms. Fuentes serves.)
- By Sheri' McConnell, National Association of Women Writers, May 2003
- By Michael Pollick, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, November 25, 2002
- By Magdalena Ball, The Compulsive Reader, July 2002
- By the Editor of WomenWriters.net, June 2002
- By Phil Fink, radio interview on Shalom America, WELW 1330 AM, Cleveland, Ohio, Feb. 3, 2002 (not available on the www)
- By Norman Simms, Chadashot, August 2001
- By Bill Adams, The Senior News, July 2001
- By Jenna Glatzer, WriteRead University, May 14, 2001
- Publishing Success Magazine, May 2001
- By Lisa Katz, "The Making of a Jewish American Feminist: Sonia Pressman Fuentes." This is a seven-part piece about Eat First and Ms. Fuentes.
- By Barbara Ruben, Senior Beacon, October 2000
- Cornell Chronicle (Vol. 31, No. 31, April 20, 2000)
- By Lynn Laframboise, Word Wrangler Publishing, February 2000
- Shalom, newspaper for the Reading, PA, Jewish community, February 2000
- By Linda Eberharter, Bridge Works Publishing, January 2000
- By Marlena Thompson, Washington Jewish Week, December 16, 1999
- By Linda Davis Kyle, "Writers Around the World," August 1998
- By Eva S., "Evenings with Eva," July 21, 1998
- By Ellen Joan Pollock, Wall Street Journal, May 1998 (This article is a follow-up to a 1975 Wall Street Journal article by Mary Bralove.)
- By Risa Molitz, "Fuentes' lecture leads to talk on uniting women," University of Virginia's The Cavalier Daily, October 22, 1997.
- By Frankee Nesta, West Coast Woman, May 1997
- By Sylvia Danovitch, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), December 27, 1990
- By Betty Friedan, It Changed My Life: Readings on the Women’s Movement, 1976
- By Mary Bralove, Wall Street Journal, May 13, 1975
- Excerpt from Betty Friedan’s article, “Up from the kitchen floor,” NY Times Magazine (March 4, 1973), crediting Sonia with giving her the idea to start an organization to fight for women like the NAACP fought for its constituents.
- Courier-Times, Bucks County, PA, June 25, 1970
- By Dorothy Gilcrest, Anniston (AL) Star, October 21, 1969
- Courant, Hartford, CT, December 7, 1966
- By Louise Hutchinson, "U.S. Hearings To Weigh Sex in the Skies." Sonia drafted the first EEOC decision in these cases finding that airlines violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when they terminated or grounded stewardesses for reaching the age of 32 or 35 or marrying.
- By Sylvia Porter, Post-Crescent, May 28, 1963
- B’nai B’rith Women’s World, November 1959
- By Susie Marbey, The Miami Hurricane, May 10, 1957
Sonia Pressman Fuentes
by Marlena Thompson
December 16, 1999
Marlena Thompson is a writer for the Washington Jewish Week
Some would say Sonia Pressman Fuentes spent a lifetime living "on the edge" of convention. An immigrant who at age 5 came to this country with her family to escape the impending Holocaust, Fuentes grew up to become a pioneer of the second wave of feminism. In fact, she was a founding member of the National Organization of Women.
She married at age 42, later than most women of her generation, and chose a Puerto Rican man for a mate, not a typical choice for a Jewish woman passionate about her own cultural heritage. But conventional people rarely make history -- and Fuentes undoubtedly helped change the course of history for women in this century. Fuentes has not gone unrecognized. In 1996 Betty Friedan presented her with the Veteran Feminists of America (VFA) Medal of Honor for her efforts to improve the status of women. In October, Fuentes received the 1999 Women at Work Award for Wider Opportunities for Women, a nationwide organization based in Washington and dedicated to helping women achieve economic self-sufficiency. (Prior recipients of this tribute include Glenn Close, Jane Fonda, Katie Couric and Hillary Rodham Clinton.)
Fuentes, from Potomac, serves on the National Woman's Party board of trustees and on the board of the VFA and Jewish Women's Coalition advisory committees. Since retiring in 1993 from a 36-year career as an attorney, Fuentes has been an active public speaker and writer. Her latest achievement is her memoir, Eat First -- You Don't Know What They'll Give You; The Adventures of an Immigrant Family and Their Feminist Daughter (XLibris, December 1999.)
In an interview, Fuentes believes that her immigrant experience affected her lifelong efforts to improve the status of women.
"I had to leave the country of my birth because I was discriminated against," says Fuentes. "I was therefore sensitized to discrimination. I was first of all sensitive to discrimination directed against African Americans. I would drive down to Miami with my parents and pass through towns in the South that were 'restricted.' As an immigrant, I was an outsider. This made me even more aware of such restrictions and issues of discrimination toward other 'outsiders,' -- African-Americans, women, etc."
After coming to this country in 1934, Fuentes' family settled in New York's Catskill Mountains, a region famous for its many hotels and bungalow colonies to which Jews from "the city" flocked each summer. Having lived in the Catskills in the '40s all year round, she describes her childhood as "lonely."
"I was living a mile and a quarter outside of Monticello. It doesn't sound like a great distance, but I was cut off from my classmates," she said. "My parents lived in a very Jewish milieu, which was comfortable, but I was cut off completely from the non-Jewish world."
This cultural isolation affected Fuentes.
"When I went to Cornell years later," she said, "I met non-Jews for the very first time. I was very excited by the new world opening up to me. I even went through a state when I didn't want to be Jewish. Of course, that changed a very long time ago. Now I glory in being Jewish."
The problem of wife beating within Jewish families has received a great deal of attention lately, both in Israel and in this country. Fuentes concedes she lacks extensive knowledge on the subject but notes that, in general, wife beating was not discussed openly among women who were her generational peers. "In my time, neither Jewish nor non-Jewish women talked openly about the negative aspects of their marriages," she said. "Disclosing a failure within a marriage was tantamount to an admission of personal failure. Of course, it's different these days."
Charles Duncan, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's former general counsel referred to Fuentes, who drafted many of the EEOCs landmark guidelines, as "one of the great unsung heroes of the women's and civil rights movements." Duncan says Fuentes [was] very important in getting leaders "to take sex discrimination seriously." Hardly faint praise from the former dean of Howard University School of Law.
"I first went to the EEOC, which had only about 100 people at the time, to fight discrimination," Fuentes said. "At the staff level, I was the most outspoken about women's rights. I was also in a position to do something about it. The Civil Rights Act, prohibiting employers to discriminate because of race, color, religion, national origin or sex, had just been passed in 1965."
Fuentes is modest. She almost ascribes her accomplishments to the fact she happened to be "in the right place at the right time." But those who know history also know that most people given a chance to change a deplorable status quo, even those fortuitously placed in time and situation, will opt to walk the well-trodden path of least resistance and do nothing. After reading her memoir, the reader will understand that "doing nothing" has never been an option for Sonia Pressman Fuentes.
Washington Jewish Week, Dec. 16, 1999