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Rights to Realities: Western Pennsylvania Celebrates WLP's 40th Anniversary

(All Photos taken by Josh Greenberg)


Picture of Board Chair, Executive Director

On Friday, May 10, 2014, the Women’s Law Project commemorated its 40th Anniversary with the Rights to Realities gala celebration at the Fairmont Hotel in Pittsburgh. On hand were WLP Board Chair Joann Mitchell, Executive Director Carol Tracy, and hundreds of Pittsburgh feminists.



(pictured from L to R: Joann Mitchell, Carol Tracy, and Agnus Berenato)

Joann Mitchell introduced the western Pennsylvania members of the Board:

“This is an organization with a huge mission, a breathtakingly ambitious vision, a tiny, hardworking staff, and a devoted board of trustees.” 






Joann Mitchell
Picture of Exec. Director Tracy

Looking back on its 40 year history, Carol Tracy described how the Women’s Law Project made its mark on nearly every aspect of the struggle for women’s equality:

“In the early days of the Project, we systematically set about dismantling every law that used gender stereotypes as a reason to deprive someone of equal opportunities or equal treatment. We brought groundbreaking litigation that improved the child support system, ended insurance industry practices that endangered domestic violence victims, and improved athletic opportunities for women at one university after another. We sued the state of Pennsylvania when Muncy was the only state prison for women and the only vocational training course for women inmates was cake decorating. We sued again when a pregnant prisoner was forced to give birth in shackles in the back of a prison van. Our advocacy was responsible for getting the FBI to update the definition of rape to reveal how prevalent sexual assault is in our society. We played an integral role in winning second-parent adoption for lesbian and gay families. And every law student reads our most famous Supreme Court case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, credited with saving the core of abortion rights.”

Noting that the work is far from over, Carol promised: “We are going to be aggressive, we are going to be loud, we are going to be visible, we are going to be unapologetic, and we are going to get it done.”

A few of the Law Project’s recent clients shared their legal victories on a powerful video which highlighted the Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health, an ambitious new state legislative initiative to improve women’s health by ending sex bias.

Sue Frietsche, Senior Staff Attorney in the Western PA office of the Law Project, noted that it was almost Mother’s Day, and asked, “If we love our mothers as much as we say we do, why are they so often treated so badly?" (See guest blog by Bobbi Bockoras)”

Sue urged the crowd to help pass legislation to protect pregnant and parenting women workers. (PA Agenda for Women's Health)







Picture of Senior Staff Attorney Frietsche

Agnus Berenato led the live auction with her patented panache:

Picture of Agnus Berenato

And board member Nancy Reese announced the winner of the Women’s Law Project’s SAY WHAT?! Contest: Mike Huckabee, for this superlatively witless remark:

Picture of Reese

If you support the Women’s Law Project’s work in western PA and want to learn more about how to get involved, please email sbreitbarth@womenslawproject.org.