St. Bernard’s was honored by a visit from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand this week. Senator Gillibrand spoke to students in Grades I-VI and IX about her new book, Bold & Brave, Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote.
Senator Gillibrand read from her book and described the women who inspired her to be bold and pursue the path of becoming a United States senator. She described her mother, Penny, who was a sports writer for her school newspaper and attended law school as one of three women in her class. Her mother taught Senator Gillibrand that she could do anything she set her mind to. Senator Gillibrand also described her grandmother Mimi, who inspired her to fight for what she believed in. When the senator’s grandmother was born, women did not have the right to vote. Senator Gillibrand wanted to find a way to pay tribute to some of the women throughout history who helped pave the way for her grandmother, her mother, and women today. She decided to focus on the lives of ten suffragists for this book.
As Senator Gillibrand discussed the ten women highlighted in the book, she interwove personal details about each woman and invited the boys to participate throughout her talk. She asked the boys to share details about each suffragist and was delighted when one student knew the definition of sojourner when discussion Sojourner Truth. She described how closely Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony worked together. When talking about the powerful suffragist speeches, Ms. Anthony said that Elizabeth “forged the thunderbolts” and Susan “fired them.” She described how Inez Milholland’s plea, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?” became a proclamation for the movement. The boys were also excited to learn that Ms. Milholland was an inspiration for the fictional character Wonder Woman.
The boys were engaged throughout the senator’s talk, and each time she asked a question there were many hands raised. They enjoyed traveling through time with the senator, from the 1913 parade all the way through to the Women’s March in 2017. Senator Gillibrand ended her talk by asking the boys what they would write on their signs if they were to march for something they believed in.
Thanks to the generosity of a St. B’s family, every student who attended the talk was given a copy of Bold & Brave, Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote to take home. We extend our thanks to this generous family. Many thanks to Senator Gillibrand and her terrific team. She has inspired our boys to be brave and bold.