Today, in honor of Women’s History Month, we held a service where we celebrated the women who influenced our lives. The first category of influential women will surprise no one… mothers. We remembered mothers who voiced wonderful stories as she read to books and poems to us. Mothers taught us to feed the birds, and the names of all the birds. Mothers taught us that we are the most important thing in the universe, but also they teach us that we are among the least of god’s creatures when we are not allowed to eat the cornbread that was baked specifically to feed the birds. Genesis 9… behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you, and with every living creature. Mothers taught us to play fair and follow the rules, but also one person remembered the time a man came to repossess the sewing machine because they were behind in the payments, but mother sat on it, so the man had to leave without it.
Another category of women was Suffragettes. Many of us knew women who received the right to vote in 1920. One of us remembered meeting a woman who helped found the league of women voters.
Women who made great strides in science but received no credit for the work was another category of influential women we discussed. Maria Mitchell (August 1, 1818 – June 28, 1889) was mentioned. Mitchell was the first American woman to work as a professional astronomer. She discovered a comet in 1847 which became known as "Miss Mitchell's Comet". She won a gold medal prize which was inscribed "Non Frustra Signorum Obitus Speculamur et Ortus" in Latin (taken from Georgics by Virgil (Book I, line 257) (English: “Not in vain do we watch the setting and rising of the stars”). Mitchell was the first American woman to work as a professional astronomer. She was raised in the Quaker religion but later adopted Christian Unitarianism.
Women activists were mentioned as influential women by several of us. Women began several social reforms, and invented the international day of dance. Malala Yousafzai was mentioned particularly as an inspiration to education for women. Someone mentioned Wangari Maathai of Kenya who took on the rich and powerful men of her country and prevailed. Eleanor Roosevelt was mentioned because she served as the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights.
Finally, there were working women who inspire us. Specifically, the women who worked at Richmond Brothers suits. Seamstresses there became stalwarts of the community because of the Richmond Brother’s dedication to fair pay and fair treatment of women.