Former mayor and photographer headline International Women's Day
Former Miami Shores Mayor Crystal Wagar and Dutch photographer Femke Tewari P’23 ’25 headlined RE’s celebration of International Women’s Day by sharing their thoughts on women’s advances and achievements – and the work yet ahead – during an upper school assembly March 7.
Wagar, an attorney who was the first African-American female to be mayor of Miami Shores, and Tewari, who authored the coffee-table book Miami Women, joined Women Empowerment president Olivia Drulard ’23 on the stage of the Lewis Family Auditorium and reflected on their careers, lives and the state of women in the world.
The roundtable took place in the midst of an assembly that included a historical look at the Everglades School for Girls, which existed from 1955 until its merger with the Ransom School. Women Empowerment members Emma Dvorkin ’24, Maggie Seabrook ’24 and Pia Drulard ’24 donned Everglades School for Girls school uniforms provided by RE archivist Katrina Patchett as part of their presentation. Along with club advisor Jenny Carson '03, they administered a live quiz to their RE peers, asking questions about Everglades School for Girls’ history.
Wagar and Tewari noted that women have come a long way but still face many challenges, especially in some nations outside of the U.S. borders. “It’s always good to look back to see how far we have come,” Tewari said. “But it’s more important to look ahead to all of the things we still need to do.”
Added Wagar: “We are there to protect each other. I often tell women around the world, we do not have the luxury not to stand up and protect each other … We still have work to do to make ourselves equal and make sure our voices are heard.”
Tewari said she was inspired to produce the Miami Women book, which featured portraits of 40 women from 17 different countries, in response to the national divisiveness of 2020. “I really wanted to do something showing the beauty of diversity, instead of focusing on the negatives,” she said. “I wanted to show the stores that make up the fabric of Miami .. The book is also very much about women empowerment.”
Wagar expressed profound gratitude for lessons taught by her grandmother, the first Black woman to get a master’s degree in library science from the University of Minnesota. Wagar recalled being forced to read and submit book reports to her grandmother, who put her five children through colleges that included Harvard and Columbia.
“I learned from her the value of books, imagination and education,” Wagar said, also noting. “I have lived my life knowing I need to serve a cause that’s greater than myself.”
Founded in 1903, Ransom Everglades School is a coeducational, college preparatory day school for grades 6 - 12 located on two campuses in Coconut Grove, Florida. Ransom Everglades School produces graduates who "believe that they are in the world not so much for what they can get out of it as for what they can put into it." The school provides rigorous college preparation that promotes the student's sense of identity, community, personal integrity and values for a productive and satisfying life, and prepares the student to lead and to contribute to society.