Political leaders travel to the Finger Lakes to learn about significant freedom movements

Jul 20, 2018

An organization that helps bring political leaders of various parties together to foster better engagement is making a swing through the Finger Lakes this weekend.

It’s called the Faith & Politics Institute, and the Washington, D.C. based group goes on what it terms, ‘pilgrimages’ to inspire politicians to focus on the values that got them to run for office in the first place.

Starting Friday and running through Sunday, two members of Congress, Republican Tom Reed of the Southern Tier and Democrat Carolyn Maloney of New York City, will lead a pilgrimage through the Finger Lakes and the Rochester area  this trip will look at the significance of the abolition and women’s suffrage movements.

Joan Mooney is president and CEO of the Faith & Politics institute, and she says there was some common ground between abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and suffrage rights icon Susan B. Anthony.

“They weren’t drawn together by convenience or comfort, but by the spirit that filled them, with that same courage, conscience and compassion, that allowed them to be dedicated to their cause and Central and Western New York have such a tremendous history of activism and social change and compassion.”

Mooney says a number of lawmakers have been involved in the institute’s activities, and it shows that not all politics in Washington have to be filled with acrimony.

She says these pilgrimages and other events give the lawmakers a chance to, “…renew and go back and think of how they can better relate to one another. So, while you hear a lot of the rancor, what people do not hear is behind the scenes, people endeavoring to work together for the good of our nation and to form that more perfect union.”

The schedule calls for the group of lawmakers to be in the Auburn area on Friday, and in Seneca Falls and Canandaigua on Saturday and Rochester on Sunday.