|I've been inducted into the
NorthWest Women's Hall Of Fame. It's a wonderful annual event in
which women honor women. Men are welcomed, and attend the
celebration in large numbers, but it is an event created and run by
women. My specific citation was as a musician and community organizer.
Here's the text of the citation, and two articles from the Bellingham Herald:
Women honored for community leadership
Women’s Hall of Fame inductee brings neighbors together
This is the third year in a row that I have been honored by different local organizations for grass roots organizing in my community, and nationally through Guitar Camp, and as a musician.
Here is the text of the citation:
The YWCA Northwest Women’s Hall of Fame Salutes Flip Breskin For more than three decades, Flip Breskin has been bringing people together through music and through grass roots communication. As she says, “something different happens when we listen to each other.” Flip was raised in the fifties in Seattle, the product of the union of an orthodox Jewish father from New York City and a Protestant farm-raised mother from Idaho. Both parents were independent thinkers and opera lovers. Flip fondly remembers hearing classical music in her childhood home. She has a sister who plays classical French Horn and a brother who is an excellent guitarist. Her life has also been profoundly influenced by her upbringing in a Seattle suburb where anti- Semitism was quite palpable. She had one Protestant girlfriend who stuck with her as others chose to avoid her. Flip honors this early instance of “women backing women.” She was also influenced by the big events of the day: The vision of civil rights, the Vietnam War – and the urban folk music revival. Flip came to Bellingham in the early 1970’s to attend Western’s Fairhaven College to earn her degree in what she calls “listening and social change.” It was during this time that she began running the “Mama Sundays” coffeehouse on campus to “create a space where people could be heard.” Flip had an epiphany after hearing the folk legend Elizabeth Cotton play in concert; she decided that she could “play like that too.” She and Elizabeth began a friendship that lasted many years. In 1973, Flip co-founded the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop. It has developed into an internationally known venue that, during the summer months, employs over 60 teachers instructing and mentoring more than 400 students. She is very proud that this camp has inspired multiple spin-offs around the country. She learned then, at the age of 23, that “You don’t have to wait until you are older to start things.” In the ‘80s, Flip started hosting and booking the concert series for Bellingham’s Homemade Music Society. She has convened, led, and recruited for their bi-monthly song circles for many years and hosts concerts that bring nationally recognized folk musicians to the Roeder Home. In 1990, she started Flip’s Pix to highlight upcoming concerts. In her words, “If the concert was on the list that meant I wanted to be in the first row of the audience.” The list was originally printed on paper the size of a dollar bill that Flip handed out as she went through her day. It is now sent out electronically to over 500 folks. She also has a Flip’s Pix devoted to politics and another devoted to her Columbia Neighborhood Association (over 800 homes) that has worked on stopping a cell phone tower, a utility corridor – and a burglary ring. She established and now promotes the neighborhood Block Watch program. Through words and music, Flip Breskin has created venues where people listen to one another, using the power of communication to build a strong community. “I was not out to change the world,” she says of her multiple activities, “they just looked like interesting things to do at the time.”
Fl!p's acceptance speech was a singalong