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My Special Reasons for Celebrating a Century of Suffrage

August 18, 2020

Tuesday Thoughts and Inspiration on Women’s Suffrage

This morning’s New York Times headline, “A Century of Suffrage” immediately transported me to front row experiences at three special events celebrating women’s suffrage.

In Syracuse 2002, female leaders from all walks of life in Syracuse read the transcript of the third National Women’s Rights Convention held in Syracuse on September 8-10, 1852. As an up-and-coming leader of women entrepreneurs in Central New York, a new career choice for many females, I was invited to attend. Listening to prestigious female leaders from Syracuse including past N.O.W. president Karen DeCrow ignited an instant fire in my spirit for women’s rights. At one moment at the reenactment, my spirit joined the current speakers and the ghosts of past women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, from my father’s hometown of Johnstown and Matilda Joslyn Gage, a Syracuse feminist.

The second soul-moving experience was receiving the prestigious WCNY Maker’s Award in Seneca Falls once again for my dedication to women in business. After receiving the award, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with women honored for their own unique contributions, a woman dressed like historical feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton approached me thanking me for continuing the work of foremothers like her. “At the end of my life, I didn’t accomplish all I wanted to but because of women like you today, I know my life’s mission had purpose. Thank you for all you do,” she said. Stunned by the accolade and a lump in my throat, my entrepreneurial life took on new meaning.

The third event that moved me took place high above New York City’s new Hudson Yards project on November 6, 2017, invited there by New York State Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul to celebrate the passage of New York State’s Women’s Suffrage in 1917, with my two twenty-year old, professional working sons by my side bathed in purple, yellow, and white lights. We celebrated with wine and viewed the skyline where we were inspired by the words of the presenters. My sons got a first row seat this time amongst mostly feminists learning why I champion the cause of equal pay for women. It was a surreal moment and one never to be forgotten.

Today as our country celebrates the national passage of the 19th Amendment, there is still much work to do for women’s rights including passage of the Equal Rights Amendment which will bring more equality for women across other key issues. When my youngest son called me the morning Senator Kamala Harris was picked to be Joe Biden’s running mate he said, “Mom, did you hear the wonderful news? A female vice president has been officially chosen. You must be happy.” “Yes, I am Adam,” I said.

My sons grew up respecting a woman’s equal right in business, sports, and life because of my discussions with them and my example. If it wasn’t for accepting that first invitation to listen to the reenactment of Syracuse’s third National Women’s Convention and trying to follow best I could in the footsteps of such feminist icons as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Karen DeCrow, athletic barrier breaker Kathrine Switzer, and others, I wouldn’t be as joyful as I am today to celebrate a “Century of Suffrage” with my sisters and brothers who believe that women are equal to men in all ways.

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