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Three Local Authors to Speak Out for Women and Girls on May 10

HOLYOKE —“Speaking Out: For Women and Girls,” an event presented by Girls Inc. of Holyoke, takes the newly energized national conversation about women’s rights and brings it to the local level. The event, to be held at the Delaney House on Thursday, May 10 from 5 to 7 p.m., occurs during Girls Inc. Week, during which 82 Girls Inc. affiliates across the nation spotlight both the progress and challenges in the lives of girls.

Local authors Martha Ackmann, Lesléa Newman and Rachel Simmons will lead the night’s conversation, sharing insights from their work on issues such as gender equality, sexual orientation, leadership, and the glass ceiling.

Martha Ackmann is the author of The Mercury 13: The True Story of 13 Women and the Dream of Space Flight, soon to be an Amazon miniseries, and Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League, which has been adapted for the New York stage with Orange Is the New Black star Uzo Aduba.

Lesléa Newman is the author of 70 books for all ages, including A Letter to Harvey Milk and October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, plus the groundbreaking children’s book Heather Has Two Mommies. She is also the recipient of the Massachusetts Book Award.

Rachel Simmons is the author of The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Girls with Courage and Confidence and Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls. She is currently the leadership development specialist at the Wurtele Center for Leadership at Smith College.

The conversation between these three women authors will be hosted by Janine Fondon, president and CEO of UnityFirst, a national distributor of diversity-related e-news to corporations and diverse communities. She is also the chair of the undergraduate Communications Department at Bay Path University.

The event’s honorary chair is Eileen Fisher, a fashion retailer, philanthropist, and longtime supporter of Girls Inc. She will be represented that night by a member of the company. Debra Vega is the event’s benefit chair. She teaches dance at Mount Holyoke College and Williston Northampton School, and serves on the board of Girls Inc. of Holyoke. She is also the wife of state Rep. Aaron Vega, another advocate for Girls Inc.

The event begins with a cocktail hour, and the authors’ books will be on sale, courtesy of the Odyssey Bookshop of South Hadley. Tickets are $100 each and can be purchased online at www.givegab.com/campaigns/SpeakingOut. All proceeds will benefit Girls Inc. of Holyoke.

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