A Week Five Message from Chautauqua’s President

Welcome to Week Five of CHQ Assembly! This week we reach the midpoint in our 147th Assembly. It’s remarkable to think how much ground we have already covered, and I’m excited about all we have left to discover. 


This week we mark an important milestone in our nation’s journey to become a “more perfect union,” as we discuss “The Women’s Vote Centennial and Beyond.” We have been planning this week for a long time, and I’m particularly grateful for the wise counsel and leadership of the distinguished former U.S. senator from Maryland, Barbara Mikulski, with whom I have had the privilege of meeting and discussing this week multiple times over the last couple years. From a fated meeting on the Athenaeum Hotel porch when the senator was last at Chautauqua, she has been an invaluable partner to us in this work. She also closes the Chautauqua Lecture Series on Friday.  

As we join the nation in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, we also consider those who were left out of the mainstream suffrage movement, examine the slow progress toward gender equality in the United States, and seek lessons from the fight for women’s suffrage that might apply to ongoing battles for equality.

Sen. Mikulski has shared over and over again: the 19th Amendment didn’t give all women the right to vote when it was passed, and there is still so much work to do if every voice is to be appropriately counted in our electoral life. As the senator would say, I hope this is a week to “remember, reflect and recommit,” and that our programming and conversations can play a role in all of us getting to work.

In our companion Interfaith Lecture Series, we celebrate “The Feminine Spirit.” In the Taoist image of Yin/Yang, the feminine charisms are juxtaposed with the masculine charisms (neither are strictly gender-specific), and in this emerging era it has been observed that the feminine is finally rising, ultimately to restore balance and to revitalize the world. In this week, we ask how seemingly opposite forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate. And we shine a light on the feminine charisms and spirit and some leading women who embody this spirit. 

We also welcome this week the words and reflections of the Rev. Janet Broderick, rector of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, who formerly served at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown, New Jersey, the year-round home of our interim organist Joshua Stafford. And don’t miss this week’s Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle book discussion about Susan Straight’s memoir In the Country of Women

It’s an exciting week to celebrate all that women have contributed to our nation and world, and to remind ourselves that many are still marching on the road toward equality.

Tags : CommunityFrom the Presidentmichael e. hill

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