Illustrations by Ali Mac for The Lily • Art direction by Amy Cavenaile

We’re giving our thanks to brilliant women leaders.

To kick it off, we started our chain with food activist Alice Waters, who then, in turn, told us about another woman who inspires her. Over the course of a few weeks, women told us about other women they look up to — until our chain reached all the way to the Philippines.

From Lily producer Carol Shih:

“In late October, renowned chef and food activist Alice Waters spoke at The Washington Post, and it was a joy to see the icon in real life. Waters is best known for her advocacy regarding local and sustainable food, which is now a nationwide trend, thanks to her. At 73, she works for the good of the planet, because she cares about the food system. It’s never been about the money, which is why she’s never expanded her successful Berkeley, Calif., restaurant, Chez Panisse, beyond its original brick-and-mortar.”

"Mother of American cooking”who established the farm-to-table movement, along with her acclaimed restaurant, Chez Panisse

“I met Jane Fonda this weekend. She was speaking on a panel at this L.A. summit. … she just wanted to know what was politically happening in the small places in Michigan, and she spoke with such clarity and determination. I’ve never heard Jane quite like that. And I just felt it was absolutely the right tone: ‘We have to do something now. We just have to do it. It’s not politics on the East and the West Coast. It’s really about reaching out to people in small towns across the country.’ … I can’t say enough about her right now.”

American actress and activist

Saru Jayaraman’s main focus is One Fair Wage — lifting restaurant workers’ salaries to the minimum wage that other workers get, instead of having to rely on tips to make up the difference between their measly $2.13 an hour and a living wage. To me, she is to restaurant workers what Cesar Chavez was to farmworkers.”

Co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California at Berkeley

“It’s been great to work with [Eve Ensler]. She’s bringing different women together from various sectors to fight against violence against women.”

American playwright, best known for “The Vagina Monologues.” Creator of V-Day,a movement to stop violence against women and girls.

“[Christine Schuler Deschryver is] one of the bravest, funniest, boldest, committed, devotional people I’ve ever met. She’s there in what is essentially a war zone, [the Congo,] giving her life for women to rise, for women to become leaders, for women to heal. She’s leading this beautiful place where people turn their pain to power, and has created this unbelievable team of social workers, teachers and people who are there to support the women. Brave and committed beyond words. Whenever I think about complaining, I think about her in the Congo and I just shut up and move ahead.”

Director of City of Joy, a leadership community for Congolese women who are survivors of violence

Monique Wilson, the director of One Billion Rising, is a huge inspiration. She is a radical, courageous and tireless activist who spends her life traveling around the world, galvanizing thousands of people with a huge energy. Such a loving, beautiful human being.”

Filipina actress and director of One Billion Rising, a group that seeks to end violence against women through creative and artistic expression

Judy Taguiwalo is one of the leading feminist activists who helped organize the Malayang Kilusan ng Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA), the militant women’s organization which espoused women’s liberation in the context of advancing the Filipino people’s national and democratic aspirations. She was twice imprisoned during the [Ferdinand] Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines, and was a political prisoner for over three years. She is one of the country’s strongest voices for women and children’s rights.”

Filipina social activist and the former secretary of the Philippines’ Department of Social Welfare and Development

Cristina Palabay inspires me with her commitment to uphold human rights and her courage in the face of threats on her life. She represents the Filipino youth who advocate for student rights, women’s rights and human rights even after the end of the Marcos dictatorship.”

Secretary General of KARAPATAN or the Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights-Philippines

Palabay, along with women before her, have moved us to continue our Thankful Chain on Check back throughout the year to see our updates.

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