HISTORY DISCUSSION – 7 p.m. Explore the personal stories of Japanese American incarcerees during World War II. First learn about some of the people Ansel Adams met while taking his pictures of the camp at Manzanar, the listen to local resident Liane Hirabayashi as she discusses the effect the camps had on her fathers family. Free, recommended donation $10. Auditorium, Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org
The League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area joins the New York State Volunteer Ambulance and Rescue Association, Inc. in supporting state legislation that would create a task force to study the unique problems facing ambulance services in rural areas of New York State and to propose long-term solutions for them.
The League believes that every resident should have access to a basic level of quality healthcare, including acute care, of which ambulance services are an essential component.
We also support allocating additional medical resources to underserved areas, and New York State rural residents are chronically underserved.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only made the importance of rural emergency medical services more evident, and the need to address their pre-existing challenges more pressing.
The hardworking volunteers and paid emergency medical technicians are local heroes in our rural communities, and their dedication and commitment have a direct impact on health outcomes and quality of life. Establishing a task force that systematically identifies service gaps and makes recommendations on how to sustainably support this critical component of rural healthcare is a much-needed first step.
State Sen. Hinchey and Assembly Member Santabarbara are sponsoring the bills in their legislative chambers, and we call on our local representatives — Sen. Oberacker and Assembly Members Salka, Miller, Tague, and Angelino—to support the bill’s swift passage before the legislative session comes to a close at the end of June.
Liane Hirabayashi and Patricia MacLeish
Co-presidents, League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area
Editor’s Note: In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we asked some of the speakers at the recent rally against violence against people of Asian descent to submit their speeches as columns. The first one submitted came from Bassett researchers and League of Women Voters Co-President Liane Hirabayashi.
Thank you Olivia, and Cate, Riley, Elizabeth, Jaina, Maya and Charlotte for organizing this event.
Today we have the actions of these students and the words of our leaders read earlier as shining examples of how to respond to hate and racism. I’m going to take a few minutes to talk about a different kind of proclamation, the actions that followed, and the consequences of those words and actions.
In 1942, my father Edward was 19, not much older than these students, when he and his family joined 120,000 persons of Japanese descent—more than 72,000 of them American citizens—in being taken away from their homes on the West Coast and incarcerated in hastily built concentration camps—the term used by the US government. This was the ultimate result of Executive Order 9066, issued on February 19, 1942.
Dad’s brother James was 16, sister Esther was 13, and youngest brother Richard was 11. Can you imagine that? All born in the United States, never been anywhere outside Washington State, where their parents were farmers.
They lost their rights as citizens, in fact, they lost the title of “citizen”— instead they were referred to as “non-aliens.”
Words matter, don’t they? From double-speak words like non-alien comes the justification for preemptively locking up a community because, well, they didn’t have the time to figure out who was loyal and who wasn’t. And yet, they did know.
The League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area would like to applaud Jaina Bischof, Cate Bohler, Charlotte Feury, Riley Fillion, Elizabeth Hughes, Olivia Lowenguth, Maya Pandit, who, with the support of their families and friends, organized the Otsego Rally for Solidarity with Asian Americans on Sunday, May 2, in Cooperstown. These students’ activism is fully aligned with the League of Women Voters’ goal to create a stronger, more inclusive democracy.
Such outstanding civic leadership and teamwork is an inspiration to all of us to commit ourselves to combating racism through character, intelligence, and compassion. It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child; in this case it is these teenagers who have raised the Village of Cooperstown to a new level of community engagement with this highly charged issue. With the shining example of these students to light our way, let us continue this important and good work of making Cooperstown, as Dr. Namita Singh put it so well in her speech at the rally, the “all-American village” of this century: one that celebrates our nation’s diverse cultural, racial, ethnic, and religious roots and on these strong foundations remains a thriving, vibrant community.
Co-president, Cooperstown Area League of Women Voters
One of the joys of living in our part of Upstate New York is the ability to recognize and appreciate some individuals who truly make our world better, and who, in a larger populated area, might go unnoticed.
In this particular case, I would like to thank and congratulate Liane Hirabayashi and Lynne Mebust for the success of the “Looking in the Mirror: Cooperstown Reflects on Racism” programming made possible this year via Zoom and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area and The Friends of the Village Library.
The ability to participate in this important series from the comfort of our homes, and to view at a preferred time through Zoom – all recorded and available through the Village Library website – was a truly brilliant concept.
I am sure that all speakers who shared their expertise so generously would not have been willing to travel on our wintry roads to attend a live event.
Participation was high, technology worked! Our community has a better understanding of racism and now has some tools in our toolbox with which to combat racism here and in the larger world.