By Lauren Zeugner
SYRACUSE — “You scream, I scream, We all scream for Ice Cream,” goes the childhood rhyme. Chautauqua-Wawasee hosted an old- fashioned ice cream social earlier today, Saturday, Aug. 29, at Lakeside Park in Syracuse, as part of its week long celebration of the Centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment.
A crowd of about 30 quickly gathered shortly after the event started at 11:30 a.m. to enjoy three flavors of Joe’s Ice Cream, butter pecan, black cherry and strawberry. Among those attending were a host of political candidates running for office on both sides of the aisle.
Congresswoman Jackie Walorski welcomed and chatted with those who arrived early. Also on hand were Kelly Thompson who is running on the Democratic ticket to represent District 22 in the state legislature, Noemi Ponce, who is a democratic candidate for county council at large and Chad Miner who is running on the Republican ticket for judge.
“Thanks for coming out this morning, I can’t think of a more beautiful place to be,” said Walorski as she briefly spoke. She noted today’s ice cream social probably wasn’t that much different than similar events 100 years ago when women were fighting for the right to vote.
She told the crowd it was important to celebrate historical moments that were consequential. She also said she was grateful. “… for the women who fought for the right to vote.”
She noted this has been a record year for women from both political parties to run for office the United States Congress and for office in their state house.
Mentioning her time spent doing missionary work in Romania, Walorski said “Freedom isn’t free. People today fight every day for our freedom, for our right to vote.”
Beth Beams of Chautauqua-Wawasee then took the microphone. Chautuaqua-Wawasee has held a week long celebration of Women’s Suffrage with the final presentation set for 2 p.m.Saturday, Sept. 5. That presentation will be “Hoosier Women Who Raised a Ruckus,” with Marsha Miller as the speaker. The event will be held at the Syracuse Community Center.
“These speakers are bringing history to life in wonderful ways,” she said.
“Think about what it means for a woman to decide she is passionate enough to speak when her community, her family and the organizations she belongs to may have resisted,” she said about those who fought for the passage of the 19th amendment. “Take a moment to think about the women and men who fought to make it happen,” she said. “think about the voices, the visions and the dreams yet to come.”
The microphone was then open for anyone to make comments. One Pat Thompson spoke about her parents, who always watched the election results with great intent. She learned later it was because her parents vote cancelled each other’s out.
John Beams spoke of his time working for the Center for Non-Violence which addressed domestic violence. He recalled listening to batters speak in court ordered deferral programs. “I began to see a pattern of thought… A core thought is that women should know their place. I wanted to stand up and celebrate those women who didn’t know their place,” he said.
One gentleman, wearing a Pat Hatchett pin, asked what Walorski thought of several GOP speakers during the recent Republican National Convention stating that husbands, as head of the household, should determine how to vote, given this was the centennial celebration of the 19th amendment.
Members of Chautauqua-Wawasee’s board intervened stating their organizers had specifically asked that the event not become political. The gentleman did address his question to Walorski privately and reported she stated she was unaware of what was said during the convention, but that she would look into it.