In this week’s Wednesday Five, Women’s Voices for Change is highlighting some of its most engaging stories of the year — as determined by you, our faithful readers.



December Romance: The Story of Ann and Jerry
February 10, 2015 by

wvfc ann front-14October_Anna_and_Gordon_Wedding_085Ann Belkov and Jerry Lewis. (Photo: Brian Kent)

It wasn’t a traditional wedding. True, the bride wore a white gown of organza and satin (strapless, but with a shrug “so my arms and back won’t show”), carried a bouquet of hydrangeas, and proceeded down a long hallway to the strains of “Here Comes the Bride.” But as she entered the room and faced her guests, she threw her arms out and (to a recording of the Etta James song) cried, “AT LAST!”

At last indeed! On October 14, 2014, Ann Belkov, 75, the retired Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Museum, married Jerry Lewis, 81, a former international development and humanitarian organization executive. He was divorced, the father of two grown children. She had never before been a bride. READ MORE



Three Moves to Help You Keep Your Balance
August 22, 2015 by

standing leg lift side

One out of three older adults (65 and over) fall every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries and fractures, with women being twice as likely to suffer a fracture than men.

One of my goals as a medical exercise specialist is to improve the balance skills of my clients and minimize the risk of falling. Exercise is one of the best ways to help you keep your balance and avoid unnecessary falls, unless balance issues are cause by vertigo for which a doctor should be consulted.

Balance can be broken down as a combination of footing, stability and equilibrium, where you can maintain an even distribution of weight and remain upright and steady. I like to start with working on foot and ankle alignment and strength, and progress to leg and hip alignment and strength. Here are three exercises to improve balance that address these important areas of the body. READ MORE



The Way We Were: The SNCC Teenagers Who Changed America
February 26, 2015 by Judy Richardson

How did they find the courage to do it—challenge the racist order in the South in the 1960s? Who formed the strategy, who dared to take it to some of the most racist Southern communities? In honor of Black History Month we bring you this forthright memoir by Judy Richardson, who, as a teenager, entered the thick of the fray as a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, “the only national civil rights movement led by young people.” Now a documentary filmmaker, social-justice advocate, and lecturer, Richardson takes us inside the movement that transformed her . . . and the country. —Ed

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SNCC sit-in, 1964, at Atlanta’s Toddle House restaurant. That’s Judy Richardson in the middle, facing the camera. The photo was taken just before the group got arrested. (Photo: Danny Lyon.)

Last September I found the box. I was in my building’s basement, preparing for my big move to the D.C. area after 23 years in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I had divided what I’d found into stacks—clothing to be donated and archival materials that I was planning to donate. (To Washington University, Eyes on the Prize and other Blackside film materials; to Duke University, personal Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) archives and other work product; to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, in New York, copies of the companion book to Blackside’s PBS documentary, Malcolm X: Make It Plain; and, to the Roxbury public library, much of my Black children’s-book collection.)

Then I opened this one box that I thought contained just old clothing. And there it was: my SNCC staff folder from the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer. Worn and green, it even had my contact information. At the top I’d noted: “N.B.: IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, ALWAYS CONTACT ONLY MY SISTER: CARITA BERNSOHN.” I’d also written on the folder “History vindicates those who are right! —James Forman (our man on the scene).” Jim Forman was our larger-than-life executive secretary.

That N.B. was important: I’d been with SNCC at that point for only six months, yet still I knew that something might just happen to me that summer, and I wanted to make sure my mother would hear the news first from my older sister, Carita. Chita, as she was known in the family, was then coordinating Harry Belafonte’s SNCC fund-raisers out of our New York City SNCC office, and I assumed she would know how to break the news to my mother. READ MORE



COMPLEXION, PART III: Treatments for Mature Skin
January 15, 2015 by

5891823018_9d9990a4a5_z“The Human Face.” Image by viewminder via Flickr

The face, the most expressive part of our body, is also the most exposed to environmental factors, and therefore it ages faster than does the rest of the body.

The facial aging process can be divided into two broad categories: photoaging/textural aging and structural aging. As a result of photoaging, brown age spots (liver spots) and coarse wrinkles develop on sun-exposed areas. As a result of structural aging, the face’s shape and facial proportions change. For best results, both environmentally induced and age-associated structural changes should be addressed simultaneously. READ MORE



Dr. Ford on Emotional Health: Loving the Emotionally Distant Man
February 19, 2015 by

11860969644_a158c910df_zPhoto by Le Tchétché via Flickr (Creative Commons License)















Dear Arlene:

You are in a situation faced by many women: Their partner does not give them enough affection or attention. There can be many reasons for this, but for many men it is often a matter of not understanding or empathizing with their partner’s needs. Some men can be “educated” and taught to see that relationships, once established, need to be maintained and developed. I once heard a man say that he assumed his wife knew he loved her because he had already told her (once!). No one would plant a garden and expect it to flourish with no further attention or maintenance. People too need this kind of care. Not only that: Like a garden, they have needs that can change and develop as the seasons change and the years go by.

This requires not only attention and a sense of priority, but also sensitivity. Unfortunately, your partner was deprived of the most important opportunity for the development of these skills when he lost his mother. Although some personality traits are present at birth (e.g. extroversion vs. introversion), the kind of parenting a child receives is crucial to his sense of self, sense of security, and, especially, his interpersonal skills. When a parent is inconsistent or absent, it can be devastating to his development. READ MORE

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