WXXI AM News

Suffragist City Parade celebrates Susan B. Anthony's impact on multiple issues

Jul 22, 2017

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Women of all ages marched in downtown Rochester Saturday morning promoting the history of women suffrage and the centennial of a woman’s right to vote in New York State.

The theme was "Because of Women Like Her…" and encouraged participants to wear white, purple and gold, the uniform of early 1900s suffragists.

Alicia Compton and Brooke Ophardt brought their daughters to march; they were walking with Planned Parenthood. Compton says it’s important to being young girls to events like these to empower them.

"It’s very easy for women to lose their voices and to feel small in this world. And these sorts of events show them that there are a lot of strong women and role models, and that’s important."

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Ophardt agrees saying they need to grow up knowing they’re surrounded by other women.

"I want my girls to be able to see that there is a community of women around who support each other even if they are of different choices."

Women from a number of groups participated saying Susan B. Anthony was a universal suffragist whose legacy goes beyond voting rights.

Nancy Watson was with the Nursing Friends of the Susan B. Anthony House.

"Everything she was for are the things that nurses care about. Human rights, health, equality, opportunity. And those are things that we're all involved in every single day."

Another group was the Feminists Choosing Life of NY, a pro-life organization.  Caroline Bennett is with that group which believes Susan B. Anthony herself was anti-abortion.

"We really wanted to break the assumption that all feminists are pro-choice because we are a pro-life feminist organization. We all embrace a consistent life ethic."

Bennett claims excerpts from the newspaper “The Revolution” started by Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton confirm their beliefs.

But Director of Communications at the Susan B. Anthony House Victoria Brzustouicz says that Anthony never made a statement regarding the issue.

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

"I’m not a scholar but from talking to some scholars who really are experts in what Susan B Anthony’s words are, she did not make a statement one way or another. I think it’s very easy to put words in her mouth.”

The parade stepped off on Court Street and marched to the Susan B. Anthony House and Museum on Madison Street.

The event was part of a yearlong series celebrating the centennial of a women’s right to vote in New York State.