Since 1987, we’ve celebrated March as Women’s History Month as a way to honor the countless women who have triumphed over adversity, established themselves as cultural icons, and made their mark on the world. That’s why I’ll be hosting my 8th annual Women of Distinction Awards ceremony at the end of March to recognize some of the remarkable women here in Central New York who have changed our communities and made a significant impact on the lives of others.
History has been shaped by women who fought against injustice and stood up for equality. Our nation’s first women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls in 1848. Nearly 300 people gathered at the convention organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who had been turned away from the 1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention because of their sex. There, the Declaration of Sentiments was drafted, which called for women’s equality in politics, employment, family, education, religion and morals. The convention laid the foundation for the battle for full women’s equality – one that still continues to be fought today.
The fight for women’s rights and suffrage has roots right here in Central New York. Renowned suffragette and abolitionist Matilda Joslyn Gage was born in Cicero and later settled in Fayetteville with her husband. Both her childhood home and her Fayetteville home were stations on the Underground Railroad. Gage dedicated her life to the pursuit of equality and fairness, becoming a noted speaker on women’s right to vote and, along with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a founding member of the National Women’s Suffrage Association. Her tireless work and determination paved the way for women in our nation to claim the right to have their voices heard in the halls of government.
We owe it to remarkable women like Gage, Anthony and Stanton to pay tribute to the work of true trailblazers in our communities who continue to make an impact. Last year, I had the honor of recognizing four extraordinary Central New Yorkers for their work – Jodi Anne DeAugustine for her volunteerism, Mary L. Oot for her work in health care, Toni’Lyn Brauchle for her dedication to helping local youth, and Maureen Patterson for her years in education. This year, I look forward to celebrating even more hometown heroes who make our region a better place for all.
I encourage Central New Yorkers to nominate a local woman who has inspired them and helped shape our communities into the places we call home today. The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 6. They can be submitted through my website at nyassembly.gov/Stirpe or by stopping into my office at 7293 Buckley Road, Suite 201, N. Syracuse. The Women of Distinction Awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, March 21, at 11 a.m. at the Fayetteville Village Hall Courtroom, 425 E. Genesee St.
As always, my door is open. If you have any questions about the nomination process, the awards ceremony or any community issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 315-452-1115 or StirpeA@nyassembly.gov.