“Trailblazer, feminist and champion of human rights” are just a few of the words used to describe Elaine Gordon.
Ms. Gordon was a person of the highest character and integrity, representing the state of Florida as a legislator for 22 years, during which she was elected 11 consecutive times. Gordon became an advocate for equal rights in 1964 and was one of the founding members of the Miami chapter of the National Organization for Women. She was a champion for Florida’s 1989 hate crimes law, which became a model for the nation, and her many legislative activities and accomplishments have left a legacy of people she has helped.
Consistent over time, Ms. Gordon was the voice and guardian of abused children, victims of sexual assault, the elderly, the indigent and the mentally ill. She continually sponsored and passed legislation for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment; and she protected women and children through child support enforcement and protection from domestic violence. While in the legislature, she also introduced the terms Ms. and Chairperson. She was a woman ahead of her time, being the first woman to chair a standing committee, as well as the first woman inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame.
The FIU Elaine Gordon scholarship was established in 1999 to honor the life and work of Elaine Gordon, a pioneering feminist, legislator, and leading advocate on issues involving women’s rights, health care, mental health and children’s rights. It was one of her final wishes that her work be carried on through a scholarship that would help others.