Several female leaders mark the occasion on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the amendment giving women the right to vote
CANANDAIGUA — Ontario County Court Judge Kristina Karle is the first woman in the county’s history to be elected to the position she now holds.
And Karle remembers she was sworn in underneath a portrait of Susan B. Anthony, who in 1873 was tried and convicted of voting in the presidential election in the courthouse where Karle now presides.
So for Karle to speak at a ceremony Tuesday dedicating Susan B. Anthony Lane, a small road outside the courthouse formerly known as Court Street, on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, is “truly an honor,” Karle said.
Karle was able to become part of history, she said, in part because of Susan B. Anthony, the noted Rochester suffragist and civil rights activist.
“I hope I make her proud every day,” Karle said after the ceremony. “When I was sworn in, it was underneath a photograph of her. I hope she looks down on me and says, ‘Well done.’”
Canandaigua City Councilman Dan Unrath and City Supervisor Rich Russell helped push for the street renaming, which was approved last month by the Ontario County Board of Supervisors, both saying it was a deserving honor and especially fitting on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendement's ratification.
Several prominent women in the Canandaigua community served as guest speakers for the ceremony, just outside the courthouse, atop of which the statue of Lady Justice stands, serving as a backdrop for the proceedings.
In her remarks, Canandaigua City Court Judge Jacqueline Sisson, who also was the first woman elected to the position she now holds in 2018, the same year as Karle, said it’s fitting a street bearing Anthony’s name is just steps from the courthouse.
Noting the struggles of Anthony and others who fought for women’s equality, Sisson said perhaps it’s taken for granted that this seemingly simple notion of the 19th Amendment required a lifelong fight by so many.
Susan B. Anthony Lane serves as a reaffirmation that “justice prevails here always,” Sisson said.
Former Mayor Ellen Polimeni, who also has a street named for her in the city, asked those who attended the ceremony to be pensive and reflect — as Anthony might be pleased, but not ecstatic, at what has happened since her fight.
Even today, systemic voting disenfranchisement that keeps citizens of color from casting their votes would have been of concern to her, Polimeni said.
“And Susan B. Anthony would realize there’s still work to be done,” Polimeni said.
State Sen. Pam Helming, R-Canandaigua, who was the first woman elected to represent the 54th Senate District she represents, said in the push for equality, there is always more work that needs to be done.
With early voting, and absentee voting and expanded polling sites making it easier than ever to let one's voice be heard, there is no excuse not to vote, Helming said.
“We all shoulder the responsibility of getting that work done,” Helming said. “This fall, a simple and easy way to let your voice be heard is by voting.”
Anthony was tireless in her efforts, noted Ontario County Attorney Holly Adams.
And look at the results, Adams said: “She changed the world.”