05 Sep Colorado, Centennials and New Citizens
First of all, I want to say thanks to everyone at LHIP (Susan, Maite, Paloma, Rodrigo, Alex, George and everyone else who I may have forgotten) for bringing us interns together for the conference in Colorado. It was great to meet everyone and hearing about the different internship experience, good and bad. It was also my first time in Colorado and WOW, what a beautiful state it is. I never seen so many mountains in my life; the views were amazing. Some of the highlights of this trip included a trip to Calwood and to the Denver Art Museum , which included a discussion on how the museum is working to make stronger connection with the Latino community in the Denver area and the various presentations from fellow interns and by special guests such as Carlos Martinez, Director of the Latino Community Foundation and Julie Chavez Rodriguez, who is the Senior Deputy Director of Public Engagement at the White House and granddaughter of Cesar Chavez. It was comforting for me to also see how Susan, Maite, and Paloma responded to both positive and negative aspects of our internship experience. They really want to make sure that interns have the best experience possible and prepare us for a potential future in the National Park Service. This is my second year as an LHIP intern and while both of my experiences were positive, I did have some of my own concerns about how to deal with certain incidents that risen. It was nice to know that 1. I wasn’t the only one with concerns and 2. there are people to who I can confide in. After my return from Colorado, it was time to finish all the preparation for the Women’s Suffrage 100 Anniversary Commission Meeting. In 1917, New York State granted women the right to vote, three years prior to the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted American women the right to vote, nationally. The Lieutenant Governor of New York, Kathy Hochul is heading a committee that will make plans to celebrate this centennial, next year. The committee had chosen to have their first meeting at the M’Clintock House, the site where the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments was written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others. A lot of preparation was put into the meeting. Prior to the meeting, the rooms upstairs, of the M’Clintock House, have never really been utilized all that much. There is hope that the park will someday turn those rooms into classrooms and offices to increase school visitation at the house. The meeting was a success, The Lieutenant Governor gave an inspiring speech about women’s rights and voting rights and why it was important that we celebrate this upcoming centennial.Of course, in addition to help preparing for the 2017 Centennial of New York Women gaining suffrage, the park celebrated its own Centennial on August 25, 2016. To help celebrate the event, the park hosted a number of activities and events, including a time capsule ceremony. The Time Capsule includes items such as reports about the “pink tax,” math homework and a sample of blood in a microscope slide, showing that girls can do math and are interested in math and science, and several notes from staff, volunteers, and visitors about women’s rights and women today. Maybe in the future we can include a newspaper article about the first female president getting elected, who knows ;). The time capsule will be open until the end of year, so that visitors will have a chance to add an item of their own. Some other activities included living history talks with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alice Paul and the Jr. Ranger activities, which included the Find Your Park Matching Game of National Parks in New York State, that Rangers Ashley and Abby and I helped to create. And finally, my week topped off with the Naturalization Ceremony on Women’s Equality Day. We held the event at the Wesleyan Chapel. I wasn’t around last year to see my mother become an American Citizen and so it was important for me to see the ceremony first hand. It was beautiful and inspiring thing to witness. The new citizens were all excited and nervous at the same time. I couldn’t imagine a better way to end the week with.