Women’s contributions highlighted during Wallingford 350th Jubilee event

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WALLINGFORD — Women from the past and present were highlighted during Women’s Day on Tuesday, part of the Wallingford 350th+2 Jubilee celebration.

The day began with speakers at the Wallingford Public Library, where the rows of chairs in the Community Room were filled with women. 

“I applaud you for being here and celebrating those who have come before us in history,” said Christine Mansfield, co-chair of the Jubilee Committee. 

Eileen Farmer, president of Wallingford Community Women, explained that the group was asked five years ago by Mansfield and fellow co-chair Bob Devaney to host Women’s Day during the jubilee.  

The first two events that the group came up with were a tea and an art show. 

Wallingford Community Women member Amy Blakeslee, who died last year, came up with the idea for a speaker event.

“It became extremely clear to us that we needed to continue her endeavor and to make sure that we made sure that this event happened,” Farmer said. 

Liz Krebs, education director for the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, was the first speaker. She discussed women inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Some of the inductees include Helen Keller, Marian Anderson and Alice Paul. In total, there are 136 members.

“From suffrage to abolition, reproductive rights to same sex marriage, all of these women and many more like them all over the state have led the charge for equality in its many forms,” Krebs said. “Their powerful voices have challenged the status quo, blazed new trails, pioneered new fields and affected profound change in our society.” 

The next speaker, Dr. Niamey Wilson, was introduced by Gary Havican, president of MidState Medical Center in Meriden, one of the event’s sponsors. Wilson spoke about working in the male-dominated field of medical surgery.

“The overwhelming majority of surgeons are men,” said Wilson, a breast surgeon. “A woman in scrubs walking through the hospital hallways rarely gets recognized as a doctor and almost never as a surgeon. I am most often confused for a nurse amongst other professions, which is nothing against nurses, but I’m not a nurse.”  

After Wilson’s speech concluded, Judi Gallagher, a founder and president of The Sisters Project, an organization that supports residents battling cancer, spoke about the effort.

Following that speech, Farmer encouraged attendees to check out the exhibit on display in the Community Room called “Powerful Voices: Connecticut Women Changing Democracy.” It will be on display throughout the week during the library’s normal hours. 

At 2 p.m, the Wallingford Community Women hosted a high tea at the Library Wine Bar and Bistro. Attendees sipped tea and lemon water and ate finger food. In the evening, an art show was held at the Wallingford Country Club. The show included 50 pieces of art submitted by 28 Wallingford women and 17 historical pieces from women of the past. 

“We’ve heard a lot of what has happened but we know there is a lot more that needs to move forward for equality,” Farmer said.

The event was also sponsored by Mutual Security Credit Union.

jsimms@record-journal.com203-317-2279Twitter: @jessica_simms99


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