Veteran Feminists of America



MEMORIES from Jacqui Ceballos

It was 1971. I was president of New York City NOW and my concentration was of course 100 percent on the feminist cause.

Yet a lot was happening outside the movement. Americans and Vietnamese were dying by the thousands in a long war. Antiwar activists were passionately involved and finding some pretty spectacular ways to protest. But we feminists remained steadfast, and rightly so. From time immemorial feminist activity had stopped when women devoted themselves to a war effort and we weren't about to let that happen now.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono were perhaps the most prominent antiwar activists. (I had met Yoko through Kate Millett and her Japanese husband, who were friends with John and Yoko.)

John & Yoko lived not far from NY NOW's meeting place on West End Avenue in New York. When I got a call from Yoko inviting me to Apple Studios, I had some idea what she wanted. As I left to meet with Yoko, accompanied by NOW's national president, the late Wilma Scott Heide (in town for this important meeting), my 12-year-old daughter Janine yelled,
Mother, PLEASE ask John and Yoko to autograph a photo for me.

At the meeting, Yoko gave an impassioned plea that NOW sign up with other organizations to protest the war. Wilma and I listened sympathetically but we had to tell her that although we were very much against this war-as were most NOW members-the board had resolved early on that we would not relegate our feminist movement to the back burner. Yoko must have been upset, but she accepted our reason graciously.

As we were leaving the studio, I remembered my daughter's plea. And picking up a photo of the two, Yoko wrote
"To Janine, Peace and love, from Yoko Ono and John Lennon." Imagine!