Her Story Gala 2017
By James Baratta
This April, the Her Story program had their 21st annual luncheon. Writers gathered to honor the writers and people who have helped develop Her Story, written tear-jerking stories of injustice and made significant strides in their years in which they have been a part of the program. Writers from workshops across Long Island were invited to the event where they enjoyed outstanding food and heard the heart-wrenching stories of the people who made it all happen. Every story that was shared was remarkable, including a piece by our own Papia Miah!
The Her Story Writers Workshop was founded in 1996 by renown author and essayist, Erika Duncan. She has published an array of books which include A Wreath of Pale White Roses (1977) Those Giants (1986) and Unless Soul Clap its Hands: Portraits and Passages (1984). Duncan proposed “Where would you like a 'Stranger/Reader' to meet you, if you had to choose any 'Imaginary Page One' window to help her to walk in your shoes?”. This was -- what is called now -- the Dare to Care. This challenged the writers to create a memoir that engaged the reader to recognize what injustices they’ve faced and live life with an understanding of humanity; have empathy for the unknown.
Students from Long Beach High School attended because of their participation in the Hofstra division of the Her Story Writers Workshop. There, they met with other like-minded people and heard their stories. This year was my second year at the Gala as a writer involved in the program. Personally, it was great to see some familiar faces of the writers who I used to write with at Hofstra in sessions prior. It was truly an inspiring experience.