History makers pave the way
September 5, 2013
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Glossy black and white photos of Geraldine Ferraro, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony and others greeted attendees of the garrison's "Women's Equality Day," luncheon at Armstrong's Community Club Aug. 26.
The photos were part of a series of carefully-crafted displays that showcased the lives and enduring legacies of prominent women leaders both past and present, many of whom were early trailblazers in the Women's Suffrage movement.
Guest speaker Deputy Garrison Commander Mary Miller, urged attendees to reflect on the past, but to also become history makers in their own communities.
"Yes, women have cracked the glass ceiling but we have yet to break through it. We are still fighting for equality and still facing difficult choices," Miller said. "There's still much more work to be done. That work begins right here in our communities, on our jobs, in the schools and in our homes. We must position ourselves for leadership."
The annual luncheon is designed to honor the passing of the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920, which granted women in the United States the right to vote. However, the event also served another purpose.
"The motive for all of the events that we do in the Kaiserslautern Military Community is to educate everyone on the different ethnic groups that are out there and to increase cross-cultural awareness in the workplace," said Sgt. 1st Class Andre Johnson, U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern Equal Opportunity Advisor.
The luncheon featured live entertainment from Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth Marroquin, Public Health Command District Northern Europe, who donned a 19thcentury period costume as she re-enacted Elizabeth Cady Stanton's impassioned speech at The Seneca Falls women's rights Convention in 1848. Afterwards, Lt. Col. Leslie Dillard, Commander of the 773rd Civil Support Team, read an original poem she wrote for the occasion and "The Shining Diamonds," singing group performed a soulful melody of popular hits.
Group member Janay Flowers said she participated in the event as a way to give back to the community and honor those who came before her. "I love to do anything I can to help out the community and I'm also thankful for the right to be able to vote," she said.
When she's not performing, Flowers works as a marketing clerk for USAG Kaiserslautern's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Directorate.
"I think about women like my grandmother, my mother and other women throughout history, who went through lots of things to help me get where I am today. So it's important that I always do my best to make them proud and honor their sacrifices."
After the performances, guests enjoyed a buffet-style lunch and Maj. Gen. John O'Connor, Commander of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, offered closing remarks to the crowd of service members, families and civilians.
Event organizers invited all community members to come out and enjoy the annual EO observances.
"These events are not only for military but they are also for civilians and families. We want everyone to attend and to also get involved," Johnson said. "We welcome all those who want to share their talents with the community. Whether that's reading, poetry, singing, speaking or cooking, anyone can get involved."