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Pat Bakalian is a feminist and lifelong activist who started out as a volunteer community organizer in the early 1970s, working to stop harmful development, organizing events in support of women’s reproductive rights and helping to create her county’s domestic violence commission. Pat was staff on a number of political campaigns, working as a fundraiser, field director and campaign manager. She was a regional outreach consultant for the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under President Bill Clinton. Pat lives in Northern California with John, her husband of forty-nine years. When not writing or engaging in activities to secure women’s equal rights or helping to elect Democrats, she spends time with her three daughters, sons-in-law and four grandchildren.
Persistence: The Power to Make Change is one women’s evolution from shy girl to feminist political activist exemplifying the potential that lies within all of us who care about improving our communities, even if we don't yet have the necessary confidence or skills. The tales in this book—some poignant, some suspenseful, some amusing— show how the past doesn’t have to dictate your future.
Persistence: The Power to Make Change is written in such a way that it draws you in. Readers will be able to relate to the author’s underlying issues and struggles, enjoy her unusual adventures and revel in her ability to find her own personal power.
There is no doubt that Pat is a product of white privilege which she has become more acutely aware through the process of writing this book.
We can’t change the color of our skin, where we were born, or the family we were born into. But with self-awareness we can overcome, in our personal lives, some of the cards we were dealt and do what we can to help others who are less fortunate. Included in my book is a resource for you—a compilation of organizations doing important work to make our world a better, healthier, safer and more tolerant place for all of us to live. I hope this is helpful to you. ~ Pat Bakalian
“Pat Bakalian tells a compelling story of one woman’s insecurities and how she blossomed into a passionate advocate for women’s equality. Her work for me during my first run for the U.S. Senate in 1992 was immensely valuable and appreciated. Persistence: The Power to Make Change is an inspiring personal story and call to action at a time when those in elective office need all the grass roots advocacy they can get.”
SENATOR BARBARA BOXER
“A wonderfully written journey from dysfunctional childhood to social change agent extraordinaire. This is how the soul of an activist is made!”
Money Editor for Ms. Magazine, former chair, National Council of Women’s Organizations and author of Cult of Power
“With her absorbing memoir, Pat Bakalian succeeds in putting a human face on what it’s like to become an activist. Readers will admire Pat’s courage, energy, and tenacity—and many will, I hope, be inspired to dive into activism themselves. Because in this moment of climate change and political crisis, we need every one of us in the struggle.”
Former President of the National Organization for Women
“Light the fire. Pour the tea. Pull up the quilt and settle in. Pat Bakalian’s memoir reads like a long talk with an old friend - warm and intimate, engaging and instructive. Valuable lessons in political activism mix with reflections on family, personal responsibility and the joy of staying open to the wonders of daily life. Every woman who has ever doubted her ability to lead in the public arena will take heart as Pat rises above financial hardship, family estrangement and professional ups and downs to become the wise and full-throated warrior for women that she was meant to be.”
MARY V. HUGHES
Political strategist, Hughes & Company, Founder, Close the Gap California
“Pat Bakalian’s memoir is one that all women will identify with, telling the story of how a shy young girl transformed into an outspoken activist for women’s rights. She shows how each one of us can contribute to the greater good, regardless of our experiences, and how to overcome any self-imposed limits. For all women who want to help others but don't know where or how to start, Pat will show you how.”
LORI SOKOL, Ph.D.
Executive Director and Editor-in-Chief Women’s eNews
“In telling her story from a challenging childhood through to her current life as a strong, independent woman and political activist Pat Bakalian’s Persistence: The Power to Make Change is exemplary of the struggles of girls and women to come into the power of their own lives. As a now seasoned feminist political activist and electoral strategist this book could not be more timely or instructive as we face off against the current administration for the 2020 Presidential elections. Read it! Be inspired! Take action! ”
Professor Emerita, Feminist Studies Department University of California, Santa Cruz and author of Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech and Became a Feminist Rebel.
“Reading Pat’s life story is inspiring and motivating. It’s a lifetime of activism from fundraiser to mother and community activist to feminist activist. She bravely shares her and her mother’s personal experiences of having an abortion before the passage of Roe v. Wade which clearly shows why we need to fight for women’s reproductive rights now more than ever.”
SOPHIA YEN, MD/MPH
CEO, Co-Founder Pandia Health, Founder Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women and lifelong #reprorights activist/feminist.
“Pat Bakalian reminds us of the value of every voice, encouraging the seeds of bravery within us that make change possible because we choose to stand up.”
Actor, Activist and Author of Dirty Words on Clean Skin
“Persistence: The Power to Make Change is written in such a way that it draws you in. Although my life and that of the author are markedly different, the underlying issues and struggles felt so familiar that is was as if we were traveling this path together. The honesty was profound, so raw yet without coming off as bitchy, which is difficult to do.”
PATRICIA KEITH-SPIEGEL, PhD
Author of Ethics in Psychology and the Mental Health Professions and Professor Emerita, California State University, Northridge
“Woven throughout Pat’s touching and inspiring memoir is her mother’s voice telling her to trust the Universe and that is exactly what she has done. Persistence: The Power to Make change is one women’s story of how she grew in her ability to make a difference in the lives of people in her own way—all the while “Trusting the Universe.” I was privileged to see this first hand when she worked for the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Her courage was/is inspiring and her spirit is indomitable.”
Former District Director, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Regional Director, U.S. Health and Human Services Region IX and Board Chair, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
“Pat Bakalian’s memoir is more than one woman’s story. It’s an invitation to recover the history, both personal and political, of a generation of women that often seems eclipsed or dismissed nowadays. That generation struggled through post-war expectations and gave birth, in themselves and for the generations that have followed, to the possibilities that exist for women today. Whether you lived through those times or not, you will be delighted to find a real and recognizable voice offer an alternative—warmly, candidly and non-polemically—to the labels and generalizations of the ‘second wave’ of feminism.”
Professor Emerita, Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Kentucky and the author of many books, most recently The Destruction of Hillary Clinton: Untangling the Political Forces, Media Culture, and Assault on Fact that Decided the 2016 Election.
“I never really knew what kind of work you did. I loved learning about your life from such a different perspective. A lot of the stories rang a bell, but at the time my teenage self never really understood what your work meant to you, or to the community, or to women’s empowerment. You succeeded in writing a very touching, inspiring and thoughtful book. You have come so far in your ability to look back, forgive and learn from your experiences. I’m so glad you wrote this book!
SARA BAKALIAN WILDMAN
“The way my mom tells the story about overcoming her insecurities is something I think a lot of people can relate to. I certainly can as I struggle with my own. As an adult now, I loved reading about her growth as an activist. This book is not just a great gift to our family but I think it is also a gift to anyone who reads it.”
LESHA ELIZABETH BAKALIAN