In the fall of 2016 more than 180 women took part in I Waited 96 Years
, an online project celebrating women born before the 19th Amendment who were, for the first time, voting for a woman for president of the United States.
It had an astonishing impact. In just a few weeks, the stories of these women—from ages 96 to 105—attracted more than 190,000 views, more than 140,000 Facebook likes, and coverage from more than 100 media outlets
across the globe. Amid a bitterly contentious campaign, the project offered a desperately needed ray of hope and possibility.
Now our nation faces uncertainty and concern. Millions feel disappointed, worried, alienated, and even threatened.
How can we go forward?
That question inspired our new project: a book that will feature advice, perspective, and wisdom from some of the same extraordinary women, who together represent many thousands of years of life experience.
The title: We the Resilient: Wisdom for America from Women Born Before Suffrage
These women—of diverse backgrounds and from all parts of the country—have lived through The Great Depression, World War II, and the McCarthy Era. They have borne witness to the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam, Watergate, and more. And they’re still here.
Who better to offer advice at this time of uncertainty?
The book will include photos (contemporary and vintage) of the women, brief profiles, and each woman’s words of wisdom about recovering from loss and coping with times of national distress. The women will also offer advice to guide our nation going forward, as well as counsel specifically aimed at girls and young women. Senator Barbara Boxer will write a foreword.
The book and an accompanying website will be tools to educate and inspire young and old alike, offering perspective and insight that come only with length of years and breadth of experience.
The funds raised in this campaign will cover expenses relating to gathering and researching the material; curating, editing, and publishing the book (through Luminare Press); and publicity and distribution.
Once we recoup costs, we will allot a portion of all proceeds to the League of Women Voters
, the Southern Poverty Law Center
, and other organizations that uphold voting rights and support those who may be vulnerable during the incoming administration. (Women who share their words and photos for the book will have the opportunity to suggest other charities.)
Already, 55 women have shared their remarkable wisdom and beautiful photographs for the book. To ensure we are able to publish their stories, we have extended our fundraising deadline to April 3.
In their nine or ten decades of life, these women have learned from personal loss, communal crises, and national challenges. With your help, their wisdom, perspective, and grace will help us all, in the words of one of our centenarians, “to go forward, not back.”
Sarah Bunin Benor and Tom Fields-Meyer
Creators, I Waited 96 Years
(You can read more about us and the website here