Over the weekend, Orion author Sandra Steingraber gave a keynote address at the tenth annual International Women’s Day Conference held at Bard College at Simon’s Rock here in Orion‘s home town. The keynote was sponsored by Orion and part of a great lineup of panels and performances that stretched through the afternoon, all speaking to how women use writing to “right” injustice and human rights issues across the globe. Over two hundred people were in attendance, many of whom were young women from nearby colleges.
Sandra spoke eloquently not only about environmental human rights and “toxic trespass,” but also specifically about how she uses the arts of narrative and poetry to reach her audience and impart important, often dark, and sometimes highly technical information. She spoke as well about the challenges that Rachel Carson faced as a woman, and her own experiences as a writer, woman, scientist, and cancer survivor. And, of course, she received a standing ovation at the end. The following day, there was a screening of the documentary film Living Downstream at a local theater, co-hosted by Orion and the Berkshire International Film Festival.
Such events help us realize how lucky we are to count writers like Sandra among the Orion community. The buzz after both events was palpable—so many people inspired by words, empowered by knowledge, and ready for action.
Photo courtesy of Lucy St. James.