Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Matilda Joslyn Gage - Wednesday's Woman of the Week!

After a brief hiatus due to the very hectic budget season we our back with Wednesday's Woman of the Week! This week we are highlighting the suffragist and Native American activist, Matilda Joslyn Gage.

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Gage was a native New Yorker born in Cicero, NY. After settling in Fayettville, NY she made her home a stop on the Underground Railroad. Gage was an abolitionist who faced prison for her actions under the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 which criminalized assistance to escaped slaves. Even though she was beset by both financial and physical (cardiac) problems throughout her life, her work for women's rights was extensive, practical, and often brilliantly executed.

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Although Gage was able to speak at the first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls she went on to address the third National Convention in Syracuse. Later in life Gage focused her attention on the brutal and unfair treatment of Native Americans. 

Gage was a major playing in both the suffrage and abolition movements. Her home remains as a historical site in Fayettville where visitors can tour the home and even sit on her antique furniture. To learn more visit:  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Happy International Women's Day!

Today we celebrate women from all over the globe for their perseverance, dedication, and achievements. Without the women who came before us we would not enjoy the rights and freedoms that we hold so near and dear.

Today we would like to highlight a woman that played a very direct role on the League, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Most people know Eleanor for her work as a humanitarian and activist but many are unaware that Mrs. Roosevelt was also an active League of Women Voters member. She believed that the League enabled people to become informed citizens. The League also helped many women become involved in politics at the local and even national level.

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Deeply involved in social justice work, Eleanor Roosevelt believed strongly that women deserved a place at the table when it came to politics. Prior to her husband’s presidency, she worked with and helped lead a number of women’s groups, including the International Congress of Working Women, the Woman's Trade Union League and the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom. After the League of Women Voters was founded in 1920 – the same year that Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for Vice President – she helped establish its policy agenda. As the League’s Vice President of Legislative Affairs, she lobbied for reforms in Congress and worked tirelessly to strengthen women’s role in politics, helping mobilize women voters through the League’s nonpartisan training and lobbying work. “I’ve always found that the best workers in a political party frequently are graduates of the League of Women Voters,” she wrote in 1953. “Members learn how to find out what they really want to know on a wide variety of subjects. The League…trains good citizens who have a sense of responsibility about what goes on in their locality, in their state and in their nation.” Even after she resigned as League Vice President in 1924, she remained an active League member and continued to promote the League’s platforms and ideals, including regularly writing for the League of Women Voters of New York’s newsletter.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s work to empower women’s participation as voters and political leaders only strengthened after her husband assumed the presidency in 1933. She consistently campaigned for the Roosevelt administration to hire women for executive level appointments, supported anti-lynching campaigns and fought for fair housing for minorities. Throughout these efforts, she held press conferences to inform women voters, including urging them to speak their minds and engage on policy issues.

Today we give thanks for all the Eleanor Roosevelt did for the League.

You can read more about Eleanor Roosevelt on the National League of Women Voters Website here.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Happy Women's History Month!

Today the League joined Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, the Legislative Women's Caucus, and the Suffrage Celebration Commission to kick off Women's History Month! Our President, Dare Thompson, is a member of the New York Suffrage Commission and we are so excited to be a part of the state's celebration.

Tomorrow we will be joining our Albany County League at Huxley Theater in Albany to watch "Petticoats of Steel", a Capital Rep production and recreation of the events surrounding women winning the right to vote.

The Lieutenant Governor's office will be launching a website to collect information on women's suffrage celebrations in New York State. The League has already created a calendar of events put on by our local Leagues all over New York State which can be accessed here. Be sure to check back on the calendar as we are updating it almost daily!

We are so excited to move forward with the Commission and can't wait to see what new events will be on the horizon!