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Women’s Spaces Creator Elaine Holtz Continues to Bring Inspiration

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Women’s Spaces Creator
Elaine Holtz
Continues to Bring Inspiration to Women Through Public Access Television and KBBF Radio

By Cerrissa Kim

Elaine Holtz was working at Athena House, helping chemically dependent women learn to live without drugs or alcohol, when one of the administrators asked Holtz and her co-workers if anyone would be interested in hosting a radio show at KBBF, the first non-commercial, bilingual (Spanish/English) radio station in the United States. She was intrigued with the idea of being on the radio but wasn’t sure what the emphasis of her show should be.  A friend suggested she focus on women and Holtz agreed that women needed a space to discuss issues pertinent to their lives and the world they live in. She decided to produce and host a show called Women’s Spaces that aired in Sonoma County from 1978 until 1981.

Holtz, who was born in East Los Angeles and moved to West Los Angeles as a teen, made her way to Sonoma County as a single mother with a quest for knowledge. Her parents were Jewish immigrants, her mother from Poland and father from Russia. A first generation American, she started her college education with an AA in Journalism, winning a national journalism award for her writing and reporting. Her next degree was a B.A. in Sociology followed by an M.A. in Education. As she pursued her formal education, she also nurtured a drive for social activism, bringing her young daughter with her to marches and meetings where people gathered to find ways to engage in such endeavors as saving the environment, bringing women’s issues to the forefront and helping children in need.

Holtz retired from a successful career as a corporate sales manager in 2003 and in 2007 she resurrected Women’s Spaces but this time for television. At 73 years young, her green eyes sparkle as she talks about her current venture.  “I stand up for what I believe in and I believe once a woman makes up her mind, she’ll make a difference. My show is dedicated to ordinary women doing extraordinary things.”

Her goal is to provide a forum where women are exposed to people who can help them become aware of their responsibilities as women.  She also wants women to become confident in their potential and learn to use their voices to effect change. Holtz believes Women’s Spaces shows women that they have choices about the roles they play the world and that the actions they take are important.  “I want to let my viewers and listeners know they aren’t alone. I want them to be inspired by other women,” says Holtz.

So far she’s featured almost 300 women on her show. Some are high-profile names like best-selling author Marianne Williamson, Jodi Evans, co-founder of Operation Pink and Eve Ensler, creator of the internationally staged Vagina Monologues. Holtz has found that even when a woman is well known, she’s still an ordinary woman in many ways, one who has endured a unique and courageous journey to get to where she is today.

Most of the guests featured on Women’s Spaces are not famous though, they’re women who are active in their communities, doing good work on a daily basis. They’re usually not quick to tout their accomplishments and Holtz has to encourage them share their triumphs. “If you can’t speak out, you give up your power,” she says. She prides herself on selecting progressive speakers who care deeply about children, the environment and social activism, whose work and will inspire and call other women to action.

Holtz says her poem I Am Woman I Am All Women, is at the heart of the show. Her viewers and listeners read it on her website and are inspired. She strives to bring people together, regardless of ethnicity or religion and her intentions are to empower women, uniting them in peace and love. Each show ends with her saying, “Do something for peace, do something for the children”. At the Vancouver Peace Summit in 2009, The Dali Lama announced, “The World will be saved by the Western Woman” and in Sonoma County, Elaine Holtz strives to do just that.

 

Originating from the Community Media Center of the North Bay of San Francisco, Women’s Spaces is broadcast via Comcast Santa Rosa Ch.26 and AT&T U-verse Ch.99 for the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. Internet Radio KWTF.net and Radio KBBF-FM 89.1 also air the show. For a complete listing of times and dates consult the broadcast calendar at www.womensspaces.com.