Marcy Dam was my first tool pack-in, back in the summer of 2012. I was fresh out of finals week, the airless world of fluorescent screens and dim libraries, and wholly intoxicated by the smell of balsam fir, the sun glinting off Heart Lake, the entire summer before me. It was late May, but the morning was already warm.
Outside the Wiezel Trails Cabin, my fellow first-years and I practiced tying-on — the artful process of lashing a share of gear and tools to one’s pack-frame with parachute cord. I situated a box full of cans of tuna and pineapple on my frame’s shelf and pulled the cord tight across the cardboard, securing it with a clumsy half-hitch. Holding the frame steady with my knee, I looked at the massive pile of tools beside me and tried to envision how they could all fit onto this small rectangle of metal, which would then, somehow, be strapped to my body. » Continue Reading.
For decades, history books have fed us the simplistic notion that women struggled for the vote while men opposed them. Hogwash! Some women opposed suffrage and some men supported it. The issue was a battle about the sexes; the battle itself was fought by women and men against other women and men.
The North Country region resembled most of upstate New York in the 1800s, rural and a hotbed for reform movements: abolition, prohibition, forest preservation, women’s rights. Of course, there was also opposition to some of these changes. The major reason for resistance to women’s rights had to do with long-held conventional notions about the roles of men and women, the roles of blacks and whites, and the interpretation of the Bible. In general, these views supported a white patriarchy and contested any threat to the perpetuation of its authority. » Continue Reading.
Women’s history month (March) is a reminder of the struggles they have endured for equality and fair treatment. Unity is important in any movement, but in the North Country, women were often on opposing sides in the battle for equal rights. The region’s rural nature had much to do with that division, as did the population’s roots: mountain folk, farmers, and miners were primarily immigrants (many via Quebec) from European countries that were overwhelmingly Catholic or Protestant.
Resistance to change was organized by branding the opposition as silly and simultaneously ungodly. For more than a century in the United States, those promoting women’s rights were labeled Bluestockings, a term that has been used both in a complimentary and a pejorative sense.
Its origins are nebulous, but it’s known that in the 1700s, Bluestockings in England were educated women unwilling to settle for being simply an adornment on a man’s arm. They learned languages, engaged in political discussions, and sought to better themselves by gaining certain rights previously enjoyed only by the privileged in society: men.
The Adirondack Film Society (AFS) is partnering with the human rights organization John Brown Lives!, the new Adirondack Diversity Initiative, and the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA), to screen three highly acclaimed films for area students and the general public, March 16-18th. » Continue Reading.
In honor of the tenth anniversary of Women’s History Month, I want to recognize the work of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness, a national grassroots organization dedicated to protecting wilderness and wild lands. This organization was conceived by older women who love wilderness, giving voice to the millions of older Americans who want to protect their public lands as wilderness for this and future generations. The group prides itself on the thousands of hours (37,857 last year) people volunteer to care for the environment. Based in Durango, Colorado, their on-the-ground work happens throughout the country, with 36 active chapters in 16 states. » Continue Reading.
The Ticonderoga Historical Society will unveil ‘Votes for Women,’ the first of three new exhibits being installed at the Hancock House on Friday, March 31 at 7 pm. Historical Society Programs Assistant and former Essex County Historian Diane O’Connor will present the opening talk, which is free and open to the public.
Votes for Women looks at the fight for women’s suffrage in New York State, where women won the right to vote in 1917, more than two years before the national amendment to the Constitution was ratified. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the appointment of Rosa Méndez as Director of the Office of Environmental Justice.
Méndez comes to DEC from the New York Department of State’s Coastal Management Program. In this position, she analyzed federal proposals in coastal areas to ensure consistency with state policies and worked to meaningfully involve impacted communities in local waterfront revitalization programs. Her prior experience includes working in criminal defense law, and as a Public Service Fellow, empowering New York’s vulnerable homeless population. » Continue Reading.
Goodness has long been an admirable part of our identity as Americans. It is evident at the national level in our response when natural disasters strike here or abroad. Closer to home, we see it manifested daily in our own Adirondacks and foothills, where people donate, volunteer, and reach out to help others. Our foundation as small-town folk is one of welcoming, caring, sharing.
Along with that comes the knowledge that we’re also lucky to be Americans, lucky to not have been born in some other country where things are much different. Many of the lessons we learned in school were derived from the struggles of others in less fortunate circumstances.
We were taught to appreciate certain rights and freedoms, to speak out against perceived wrongs, to defend the less capable, and to question the directives of those in leadership positions. In some countries, those rights are viewed as privileges for the chosen few, or are not available at all. » Continue Reading.
Rallies are planned across the region on Saturday, January 21 to show solidarity with those at the Women’s March on Washington. Local marches have been gathering momentum and the national organization says 300 Sister Marches are planned, each with its own program, “from music and speeches to a rally at a suffragist’s grave in upstate New York, to a verbal ‘human mosaic’ of people in Napa Valley sharing their vision for the future.”
“The day after the Presidential inauguration, people from around the country will unite in Washington, DC in the spirit of democracy, dignity and justice,” according to Sandra Weber, co-organizer of a local march. “Some people are travelling to DC, but many of us will not be able to make the trip. When I heard that Seneca Falls was holding a Sister March, I thought it was a great idea for our North Country community to join the movement.” Weber’s in one of three related marches planned for the region. » Continue Reading.
New York State has issued $3 million in Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants to mitigate environmental and public health threats in low-income and minority communities. This funding was included in the expanded Environmental Protection Fund, part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Environmental Justice initiative, in this year’s State Budget. More than $3 million is expected to be distributed to communities around the state.
The Community Impact Grants are administered through the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Office of Environmental Justice. DEC officials say that since the program’s launch in 2006 the Department has distributed more than $4 million for 121 Environmental Justice projects statewide. » Continue Reading.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual way to memorialize those who have died or were murdered as a result of transphobia, the hatred or fear of transgender and gender non-conforming people. Transgender Day of Remembrance serves to bring attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community.
A Transgender Day of Remembrance observance will be held on Sunday, November 20, 2016 from 5 to 6 pm at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 136 Main Street, in Saranac Lake. » Continue Reading.
The Alice T. Miner Museum has announced a free program featuring author Sandra Weber, who will tell tales of the strength and courage of Adirondack women, on Thursday, October 20, at 6 pm.
In this program of portrayals and stories, Sandra Weber presents the voices and wild spirit of Adirondack women. Dressed in period costume, Weber will deliver dramatic narratives of women such as pancake-flipper Mother Johnson, adventurer-activist Kate Field, poet Jeanne Robert Foster, and suffrage martyr Inez Milholland. » Continue Reading.
Nearly 80 attendees, representing 23 communities and 13 counties, gathered at the historic Stone Mill in downtown Keeseville for the Adirondack North Country Association’s Annual Meeting “Unpacking the Secrets of Successful Communities.”
Recent national analyses and media coverage have reported that things are not so good in rural communities across the nation. According to a May 2016 Washington Post article by Jim Tankersley, “rural areas have seen their business formation fall off a cliff.” The article says “experts warn that the trends could be self-perpetuating and endanger the very life of rural economies in the years to come.” “Not so fast,” was the underlying theme of ANCA’s meeting. » Continue Reading.
Adirondack North Country Gender Alliance is co-sponsoring a LGBTQ Pride Parade in Plattsburgh, on Saturday, October 1, 2016, from 1 to 4 pm.
The event begins in Trinity Park and is free and open to the public. It will include musical performances, a variety of guest speakers, and other entertainment. Event participants will then march from Trinity Park to Plattsburgh State University of New York campus for additional speakers before returning to Trinity Park. » Continue Reading.
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