Staff Columnist

Ready for four more heroines?

Lisa Bluder will headline annual Women's Equality Day event on Sunday

The 2018 Women's Equality Day celebration will be held Sunday, Aug. 26, at Kirkwood Community College's Linn County Regional Center in Hiawatha. (Submitted graphic)
The 2018 Women's Equality Day celebration will be held Sunday, Aug. 26, at Kirkwood Community College's Linn County Regional Center in Hiawatha. (Submitted graphic)

Youngsters in Linn County will be officially introduced to four more female role models on Sunday, Women’s Equality Day.

The event, hosted by the Women’s Equality Coalition of Linn County, is a long-standing annual celebration of the anniversary of women being granted the right to vote combined with recognition of local adults, named Women of the Year, and a recent high school graduate and scholarship recipient. All those being recognized were nominated by co-workers and friends and are chosen for their footprint in the community, especially the work they do to improve the lives of local women and girls.

The 2018 Women of the Year are:

• Iowa Rep. Liz Bennett

• Betty Daniels

• Carol Bernard-Freeman

• Stefanie Munsterman-Scriven

In addition, Grace Miller, a graduate of Xavier High School, will be recognized as this year’s scholarship recipient.

Honorees will gather at Kirkwood’s Linn County Regional Center, 1770 Boyson Rd. in Hiawatha, on Aug. 26 at 6:15 p.m. for recognition and for an opportunity to hear from this year’s keynote speaker, Iowa Women’s Basketball Coach Lisa Bluder. Additional entertainment will be provided by a talented group of young refugees from Burundi, the Amen Choir. Tickets are $15 at the door, with proceeds benefiting the scholarship fund and future Women’s Equality Day events.

As Sue Jorgensen, president of the Women’s Equality Coalition of Linn County, noted in an earlier guest column, taking time to recognize and honor the hard work of local residents builds equity in our neighborhoods and larger community. This is because role models are key to changing perceptions and stereotypes, and society does best when a wide variety of role models are identified and their voices are amplified.

Strong women, especially those who fight for the betterment of other women, are the bedrock of society. They always have been, even long before they were recognized as such.

Mothers who are valued are also empowered to nurture strong children, regardless of gender.

Workers who are valued are also empowered to mentor others, boosting local workforce enticement and retention efforts.

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And, on the opposite side of the coin, young people provided with role models from all walks of life — and especially role models in which they can see similarities to themselves — are less apt to feel isolated, more apt to dream of and plan for an ambitious future. These young people feel more connected to their families, their schools, their neighborhoods and their communities. When they see others seeking out ways to better society, they believe they can make a positive difference too.

In this world of in-your-face politics, where the insults and belittlements exchanged by elected officials are more likely than not to lead news broadcasts, our youth need ample opportunities to see local residents working together toward a common good.

This is one of those opportunities. I hope you’ll be there to applaud our latest role models.

• Comments: @LyndaIowa, (319) 368-8513, lynda.waddington@thegazette.com

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