Thanks to all who helped make this year's 9th annual Westchester Women's Equality Day Reformed ceremony such a success! Held once again at the County Board of Legislators' Michaelian Building in White Plains, the day's events, its speakers and honored guests were preceded by a pre-ceremony invitation to visit the 9th floor offices of County Executive Rob Astorino, an original sponsor of the reformed event.
If you could not participate in person, here is a partial transcript.
Our Westchester Women’s Equality Day Reformed Committee welcomes you and thanks you for taking time to be with us to celebrate this amazing 90th anniversary of woman’s suffrage. It was on August 26, 1920 that the faith, foresight and fortitude of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lurectia Mott and others were rewarded with full citizenship and participation through the granting of voting rights to women with the Ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution! Each ceremony for the last eight years has been uniquely gratifying for this Committee, and we hope for you as well. This, our 9th year, is no exception. Our theme is “Calling Youth to Excellence in Education and Life”. Our honoree epitomizes that vision – longtime educator
and champion for youth, Dr. Catherine Hickey. Our wonderful keynote speaker is pediatrician Antoinette Cosentino, M.D. Her views and forthright approach to the day’s topic will give us all much to think and pray about during these challenging times.
We would first like to introduce those whose annual sponsorship allows us this space under equal access and free speech. This year we are thrilled to have three sponsors who will say a few words to us – our first is the Hon. Gordon A. Burrows of the County Board’s District 15. We also welcome the Hon. John G. Testa, District 1, and our most recently elected member of the County Board of Legislators, the Hon. Sheila Marcotte of District 10. Thank you, all.
John Testa, Gordon Burrows, Sheila Marcotte
This time last year our earliest WEDR sponsor at the Board, Rob Astorino, was a candidate for Westchester County Executive. We congratulate Rob on his election victory, and we ask you all to keep him in our prayers during these difficult County budget cuts. We also thank him for meeting with us to wish us well prior to today's ceremony where he presented Dr. Hickey with a County Proclamation. Thank you, again, Rob.
Another important point. Regina Riely usually holds down the feminists-for-life fort with us on this day. She is in Wisconsin, but sends her regards to all. We miss her especially since it was through her work and subsequent successful lawsuit that we have been able to present these programs every year since at these, our citizens’ County offices.
With us today as co-MC is a familiar face, author Susan Konig. Susan, busy Mom of 4 children, author and columnist, was our memorable keynote speaker five years ago at Women’s Equality Day Reformed. Last year she ran for a County Board seat for District 9, losing to her opponent by only 12 votes! Thank you, Susan, and thanks to you all for joining us today – you are vital to the cause for life.
Now we will officially begin with our Invocation by Sister Mary McCaffrey of the John F. Kennedy High School in Somers.
Susan Konig will now lead us in the Pledge and National Anthem. Please stand.
(Co-chairperson Susan Konig continues:)
Most of you know that in 2006 Carol Crossed, President of the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum and one of our first keynote speakers, purchased the original Anthony house in Adams, Massachusetts. The Museum that includes a pro-life exhibit and is now open. There are fliers in the front of the room, or you can find the museum online at www.susanbanthonybirthplace.org Carol, a previous WEDR speaker, has agreed to be our guest speaker next year – our 10th anniversary! There is also the possibility of an online article on the 90th anniversary that I am working on for National Review with Carol.
The previous recipients of our Mott-Stanton-Anthony award are listed in your
program this year, along with a commemorative bookmark for you! A special welcome
to Theresa Bonopartis and Mrs. Dorothea Muccigrosso who join us today in person.
Mildred Fay Jefferson, M.D. - surgeon, political activist & educator;
Lisa Marrero, M.D. - physician, Elinor Martin Residence counselor;
Dorothea Muccigrosso - educator, multi-cultural motivator;
The Domincan Sisters of Hawthorne at Rosary Hill Home – palliative end-of-life
caregivers to all in need;
Christine Mortell-Plazas – courageous prolife witness and women’s interracial business collaborator;
Gabrielle Long Wright - midwife and Natural Family Planning instructor;
Rev. Geneva Patterson – pastor, worker and friend in service to incarcerated women
and the community;
Theresa Bonopartis – professional woman and advocate for post-abortive women
Today’s honoree, of course, is inspirational educator and mentor to youth,
Dr. Catherine Hickey
It was during the American Revolution that the notion of “republican motherhood”
came to the fore, that is, the essential role of mothers in instilling in their children
values conducive to a healthy Republic. As the saying goes, “Everything old is
new again,” for this sense of values necessary for a “healthy” society is challenging
us as a Republic today in ways we could not have imagined.
Fast-forward history. Most of you know that Mott, Stanton and Anthony were
involved with the abolitionist and temperance movements of their day. It was that
activism that led them into the fight for a woman’s right to vote that had begun earlier
in England. These early feminists in America courageously challenged the laws that
excluded them. The words of many of the suffragettes sought to elevate women, and
protect the vulnerable child in the womb. Despite what you hear – or rather don’t
hear - pro-life feminism is a most authentic part of our American history!
90 years and 37 years after Roe, we are asking women and men to see their roles
in society reflected in the lives of children as their primary protectors, and hopefully
inspirational role models. Women saw the problem of exclusion so clearly when
their voices were stifled as half-citizens. Today women have the vote, but the
problem now is excluding the unborn as not fully human. Will women and men share life-affirming values? Will the next generation find grounding in a morality that
elevates human dignity that is ours from the Creator God in our Constitution?
As the first guardians of life women have always possessed a power and
responsibility that goes beyond self. It is a daunting challenge, without doubt,
but one that our feminist fore-mothers saw not as an impediment to personal
fulfillment, but as the ultimate expression of it. So should we all.
(Susan introduces keynote speaker, Antoinette Cosentino, M.D.)
Our guest speaker is a pediatrician graduated from Mt. Sinai School of
Medicine in 1992; she was in private practice in Teaneck, NJ before going into
private practice in Croton in 2002-2009. She is currently at home with her three
children Katherine 10, Anna 5, and Peter 15 months, and her husband Michael
Schwenck, who is a lawyer. She is Board Certified in Pediatrics and a Fellow of the
American Academy of Pediatrics, and we are privileged to have Dr. Antoinette
Cosentino address us today on "Calling Youth to Excellence in Education and Life".
Antoinette gave a wonderful talk with Q&A. Watch for video postings on LifeNet.
Watch for additional video postings, including the presentation by Mrs. Dorothea Muccigrosso to Dr. Hickey and her remarks, along with the day's commentary by Susan and Judy.
Our artist in residence, Brigid Faranda reads and presents the 2010 Mott-Stanton-Anthony award to Dr. Hickey; Judy presented roses on behalf of the HVCL.
Brigid, Susan Konig, Dr. Hickey, Judy
(Judy's closing remarks)
Today we are challenged as never before in our roles in society. Our very identity
as women and men is being questioned in an attempt to offer a gender-neutral
approach to parenting. This is not the equality that our feminist foremothers
envisioned. The expanding number of single-parent families has drawn women into
greater poverty and circumstances of violence. Men and women, both, have become
sandwiched in between the escalating violence to women and the child through
abortion on one end, and male-identity problems on the other side that include
violent acts by men against women who choose to give birth to their child, as well as increasing gang-related violence by young males seeking acceptance, while in need
of strong male role models in their lives.
Ten years from now, at our 100th anniversary of woman's suffrage, will women and men be looking at abortion as legal or as a shared blunder in society?
(Sending by Susan)
Thank you, Dr. Hickey and Dr. Cosentino.
As has been said, I have attended Women’s Equality Day Reformed as a guest
speaker, as a journalist and as a pro-lifer. The thought that women would not be
heard in the home or in the public square 90 years ago is hard for us to fathom.
The thought that pro-life women, mothers, families will not be heard now is even
Women who get up and speak out, like Dr. Cosentino and Dr. Hickey, are central
to our way of life. They will not be bystanders when children are in danger. It’s
easier to hope that someone else will say something or do something. These women
take the tougher road. But it is a road that we all must walk in our own way. So I
urge you to give witness and support in the public square. Reflect on what it means
to be a woman, and share yourselves with others with a feminine dignity that is your
unique gift of self to the world, and thank you for continuing this remarkable American tradition of pro-life feminism, Women’s Equality Day Reformed.
Thank you all for all you do for life and to promote life-affirming choices for women.
Thank you for being part of this day honoring Westchester women.
Additional pictures of some of the day's 40 participants.
Dr. Hickey is flanked by her daughter Clare and granddaughter Delia
Dr. Hickey and Sr. Mary McCaffrey, who gave the invocation
Donna Grau-Dixon and Susan Konig
Joy Dechario and Richard Brand flank Judy Anderson
Yvonne Rivera, Ronnie McNally, Pat Vasta from Holy Name of Mary, Croton-on-Hudson
Ed Riely with Judge Matthew J. Byrne, running for New York State Supreme Court
Dorothea Muccigrosso with Marie Brand
Good fellowship & networking throughout the day! Thanks for your support!
The Women's Equality Day Reformed Committee invites you to join them this year on Friday, August 13 at 12 Noon, sharp, at the Westchester County Board of Legislators offices at 148 Martine Avenue at Court Street, White Plains, 8th floor large conference room, to celebrate a monumental occasion. It was 90 years ago on August 26, 1920 that the 19th Amendment to our Constitution was ratified and women began to fully participate as citizens with voting privileges.
The Mott-Stanton-Anthony Award will be presented to Yonkers' own Catherine T. Hickey, Ph.D., life-long educator and recently-retired Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York. Dr. Hickey is also the mother of six daughters, and so an even more perfect choice on this day honoring women!
Two thousand ten marks the 37th year that women in Westchester have been recognized for personal and professional contributions to the County. It is also the 9th year that a new group of women are being honored. These are the Westchester women who for 27 years were ineligible for consideration for Westchester "Woman of the Year" simply because they voted their conscience on the abortion issue. Annual protests by many women at the biased County ceremony, and the eventual $10,000 court judgment to Regina Riely on the grounds of "free speech and equal access", opened the doors of our taxpayer's County office building for this ongoing annual ceremony to rectify this injustice.
WEDR has three sponsors this year: long-time sponsor, the Hon. Gordon A. Burrows; Hon. John G. Testa; and the newly-elected Hon. Sheila Marcotte. Former Legislator County Executive Rob Astorino was our earlierst sponsor. We enjoy the opportunity to work with these County Legislators as we continue to honor Westchester's women, and present topics and speakers of vital interest to all, whatever voting persuasion.
Our keynote speaker is pediatrician Antoinette Cosentino, M.D. who will focus on the day's theme that calls youth to excellence in "education and life", as we gather to honor our feminist foremothers in their own words. Almost a century ago Alice Paul called abortion "the ultimate exploitation of women". Today Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List is quoted, "The modern feminist mantra calling for a taxpayer-funded abortion in every home flies in the face of Susan B. Anthony's legacy of equal rights for all, born and unborn."
Celebrate with us and remember to bring ID for the building security check. Seek long-term (3 hour) parking across the street to avoid having to leave the 1-hour ceremony.
Hudson Valley Coalition for Life, Inc.
Ossining, NY 10562
July 14, 2010
“Good evening Chairman Jenkins and members of the Board. As co-chair with Susan Konig and Regina Riely, I am pleased to speak before you once again about the 9th Annual Westchester Women’s Equality Day Reformed that will have its annual celebration this year on Friday, August 13, here at the County Board Michaelian Building. We will commemorate 90 years of women being recognized with full citizenship through the granting of voting rights. Ninety years – quite a milestone! We, as always, extend an invitation to all members of the Board, but especially its women: Legislators Myers, Williams, Spreckman and Marcotte. We especially thank the Hon. Gordon A. Burrows who has been our sponsor for many years and the Hon. John G. Testa, also a sponsor this year. We thank them for attending and look forward to working with them this year on Board business, as well as with Sheila Marcotte. We hope she will join us each year, and for many years to come.
Our 2010 honoree is Dr. Catherine Hickey, Yonkers multi-award winning, life-long educator and recently retired Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York. Our theme this year is ‘Calling Youth to Excellence in Education and Life’.
Women’s voices have been heard in the public square these last 90 years, and so what we have become as a society rests equally with women as with men - as it should be. The four women who sit on the County Board of Legislators are testaments to the unique voice and perspectives that women bring to the great debates of our time. When we speak of our young people in particular, we seek for them parents, heroes and heroines, teachers and mentors that inspire and call them to the highest standards in the classroom, and in the living of life itself.
The day’s program will challenge women on this occasion of reflection on the powerful words and actions of our most outspoken feminist foremothers – Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony – who did not see the advancement of women or activism as opposed to motherhood; quite the opposite. Elizabeth Stanton was known to raise a flag outside of her home with the birth of each of her five children – shocking her neighbors in Seneca Falls surely as when she fought with Mott and Anthony for women’s voting rights! Join us on August 13. It will be another grand celebration!”