As you all are aware, March is Women's History Month, wherein we honor the achievements, contributions, and struggles of women from a variety of backgrounds. This past week, it was my pleasure to serve as a panelist and guest speaker at two events in my wonderful home town of Plainfield. On Sunday, March 24, I was honored to serve as a panelist with Assemblywoman Linda Carter and Neighborhood House CEO Carol Presley at the annual Women's History Month event hosted by Masjidullah to benefit the Muslim Soup Kitchen, which is celebrating 30 years of feeding our community. The discussion focused on how we, as professional women in the public sphere, overcame (or are overcoming) obstacles to success. I was fascinated by the journeys detailed by my fellow panelists, and a lively Q and A with the audience followed the talk. I love attending events at Masjidullah, whose congregants always provide the warmest of welcomes. I honor and thank them.
I visited the Plainfield Academy of Arts and Advanced Studies (P.A.A.A.S.) on Monday morning, March 25, to talk about women in politics and the relationship of politics to art. The talk veered toward a discussion of arts funding and budget cuts, especially in schools. I shared with the students some excerpts from an essay titled "The Sanctuary of School," by artist Lynda Barry. Although the essay was published in the early 1990s, it remains timely and resonates still (see the excerpt below). After I read the quotes, I asked the students for their thoughts, and I heard, LOUDLY and CLEARLY, their eloquent and deeply passionate responses, which can be summed up as: DO NOT CUT ARTS FUNDING. After the talk, we watched two outstanding performances of Shakespearean works by P.A.A.A.S. theater students, and I was honored to be presented with an embroidered shirt and a resolution from the State Legislature.
I will be attending a number of other Women's History Month events, so I will post them!