OLD LESBIANS RESIST AND PERSIST
Embassy Suites Hilton Hotel
August 21-25, 2019
Lesbians of Color Day August 21
Thanks to everyone for making my first Gathering one of the best adventures of my Lesbian life!
— Laurie, 1941
Best Lesbian event I have attended in so many years. Real live intelligent, thinking Lesbian feminists looking at real issues while having fun. Friendliest bunch of women I have met in many years.
— Rand Hall, 1945
I was so pleasantly surprised. Warm, joyous wimmin loving womyn. I love everything that is going on in OLOC by every woman. The issues of helping ourselves and our sisters are actions being taken on the ground by Old Lesbians who know what organizing is because it is our nature to seek justice, to seek peace. I’ve found home, again … I’m home now and more excited than I’ve been in years to create actions that promote the visibility and herstory of Lesbian culture … [S]ince I’ve been home, I’ve been talking OLOC to every eligible Lesbian I know … I will raise money, open my mouth and speak, and talk Lesbian to save our herstory. I am empowered by what I’ve experienced by being with you.
— Janis Sommers, 1951
The 2019 OLOC National Gathering
By Alix Dobkin, 1940
The 2019 OLOC National Gathering was the greatest I can remember! And not just because I had such a fine time during my concert, but mostly because of the entire event, not to mention seeing our dear Susan Wiseheart again (yay)!
Bringing new dimensions of color and depth to this normally animated cohort, the Puerto Rican contingent pumped up the animation even further.
And from the balcony outside our room, the sight of happy Old Lesbians enjoying each other and their custom-made breakfasts every morning filled me with joy.
Wednesday afternoon, we registered arriving attendees in the lobby while the Old Lesbians of Color did their work in the ballroom.
Wednesday night, Carol Anne Douglas, 1946, winner of the 2017 Del Martin Old Lesbian Pride Award, presented this year’s Award to Ruthie Berman, 1934.
Then we saw five minutes of Every Room in the House, a film about Ruthie and Connie Kurtz, 1936–2018, her co-winner.
The workshops provided for a variety of interests and passions and enjoyed good attendance and good receptions.
In the ever-popular, always welcoming Hospitality Room, we were entertained and educated with readings by some of our most accomplished and noteworthy OLOC authors, such as Carole Anne. They also offered the workshops “Playwriting” with Terry Baum, 1946, and “Writing with All Our Senses” with Elana Dykewomon, 1949.
Following my concert on Thursday night, we were lifted from our seats compliments of María Cora and Azúcar con Aché’s irresistible Latin/Salsa musica. A wild mob of Lesbians dancing to brilliant live music from an accomplished ensemble of their peers inspires a Lesbian energy exchange that creates the highest level of vibration possible on this planet at this time.
Friday night, Karen Williams wove the Gathering theme, Resist and Persist, into her pitch-perfect keynote, and on Saturday night, DJ Jamie furnished us with more high-energy music, a great ending to a great Gathering!
Old Lesbians dancing the night away to DJ Jamie. What a good time that was!
(Video by Retts Scauzillo)
When I turned 60, I immediately joined OLOC and started getting the E-News and Reporter. And this year, I finally attended a Gathering … Prior to going to my first OLOC Gathering … I was concerned that my hunger for Lesbian space and high expectations for all that I had hoped for from an OLOC Gathering might be disappointing. That’s happened–when anticipation is high and I walk away with that “it wasn’t all that” sensation. I discovered that what I wanted and needed was all here–and not at all disappointing. From the second I went to the registration table and put on my name tag, I knew I was about to experience exhilaration. I started breathing Lesbian air and became intoxicated. I reconnected with many Lesbians from around the country who I hadn’t seen for … 20+ years. I finally met (face-to-face) many Lesbians who I’d come to know through emails, the Yahoo group, and Chapter Coordinator phone calls. And I was introduced to many other Lesbians from around the country … I was happy. And I loved every minute of it!
– Mev Miller, 1955
Alix Dobkin, with ASL interpreter Laura Kolb trying to keep up, teaching us how to sign “If it Wasn’t for the Women.” (Video by Kristi Hildebrand)
I have always been hesitant about going to an OLOC Gathering because they were held in hotels I couldn’t afford. … But … I decided that this would be the one OLOC Gathering that I would try out. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that 40 Lesbians had received financial aid to attend the Gathering! That’s about one out of four Lesbians there. A big thank-you to everyone on the Steering Committee and those who donated and worked to make this possible. Almost no women’s or Lesbian events really make it possible for very low-income women to attend. Most sliding scales don’t slide low enough, and then there is the cost of transportation. OLOC is the only one I know of that helps with transportation costs. Everyone should feel proud of this … Happily I found a lot of Lesbians who shared my values and my lifestyle.
–Pelican Lee, 1947
Marta and her friends at home in Puerto Rico. She has mental disorders and continues to experience the effects of extensive losses caused by Hurricane Maria in 2017. OLOC and our members are supporting her with glasses, new teeth, food, and similar expenses. Her ex and several others of her support team were in Columbus. (Video by Laura Colón-Martinez, Ivette Toro, and Sylvia Calzadas)