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Trailblazing Women of WNY find their voice

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Fri, Sep 4th 2020 01:45 pm

Poloncarz joins King, others to announce narrative project, commemorate 100th anniversary of suffrage

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz was joined Friday by Karen King, executive director of the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women (“ECCSW”), Medaille College Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Lori V. Quigley, and members of the Trailblazing Women of WNY committee to announce a new narrative project that will add an auditory component to the overall project. Each of the three women recognized in the first round of the project will have a narrative of their life and accomplishments, voiced by local women, featured at the site of their monuments to further educate and inspire visitors. The three monuments planned for the inaugural round of the project are Louise Bethune, Mary Talbert and Geraldine “Sid-tah” Green.

“Adding a narrative component to the project lends great perspective to the lives of these extraordinary women and brings them even more to life,” Poloncarz said. “This is a new dimension for learning about them and will enrich the experience for visitors, and I thank Executive Director King and the committee for advancing this project.”

She said, “We are very excited about the narrative initiative; it will add a vibrant dimension to the monument project, really bringing these incredible trailblazing women to life!”

The project’s first monument recognizes Bethune, the first professional woman architect in the U.S. She practiced from 1881-1913 and includes the Lafayette Hotel among her significant and enduring architectural achievements. She was also a founding member of the Buffalo Women’s Wheel and Athletic Club. The second monument will recognize civil rights leader Talbert, a founder of the Niagara Movement that was a precursor to today’s NAACP. A staunch and tireless advocate for civil and women’s rights, Talbert served as a member of the Women’s Committee of National Defense in World War I and was appointed to the Women’s Committee on International Relations following the war. The third woman honored in this phase is Green, a faith keeper and elder of the Seneca Nation at the Newtown longhouse on the Cattaraugus Territory of the Nation. Sid-Tah was respected on the world stage and met with national and global leaders including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss women’s issues and more.

Poloncarz and King also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the women’s suffrage movement with a proclamation honoring the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

“It is important to follow the female leaders of yesterday and today and reaffirm the necessity of strengthening voting rights and promoting civic participation in the spirit of the suffragists from a century ago,” Poloncarz said. “I am proud to recognize the persistent and important contributions women have made to Erie County, Western New York and the United States.”

For more information on the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women, visit https://www2.erie.gov/csw/.

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