By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Marlborough – As the country commemorated the historic 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, the city of Marlborough held a moving ceremony Aug. 26 outside of City Hall to honor its women municipal leaders. As they did so, the speakers on the program noted that there is still much work to be done, in the areas of achieving equal pay, fighting sexism and ensuring that all women are treated equally and fairly, including women of color.
The event was organized by the three current women City Councilors – Laura Wagner, Ward 1 and Kathleen D. Robey and Samantha Perlman, both of whom are councilors at-Large. Invited guests included women who have served on the City Council, Marlborough School Committee and Assabet Valley School Committee.
After a greeting and proclamation from Mayor Arthur Vigeant, U.S. Congresswoman Lori Trahan addressed the gathering.
Although there are more opportunities now for women than ever before, Trahan said, women still only make up 23 percent of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Equal representation is just the first hurdle,” she said. “But sometimes we are still not taken seriously or worse, our ideas are dismissed or stolen.”
When she was elected last fall, at age 24, Perlman was the youngest person ever elected to serve on the City Council.
“I am always reminded of the women who came before me,” she said.
One of those women, she noted, was Crystal Eastman, who was born in Marlborough in 1881 and lived there for several years before her family moved to New York, Eastman was a lawyer, author and an important leader in the fight for women’s suffrage. Among her many other accomplishments was co-founding the American Civil Liberties Union.
Robey spoke of another pioneer in women’s suffrage, Jane Cunningham Croly, who was a syndicated columnist who went by the pseudonym, “Jennie June”. She was a founder of the Sorosis club for women in New York, later expanding it to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, and also founded the Woman’s Press Club of New York City.
Echoing the sentiment of the morning, Wagner noted that it was important to remember that “no community or state can thrive when only some people are valued.”
Citing a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. ‘s “Letter from the Birmingham jail,” she added, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”