During her last speech to the public, Susan B. Anthony proclaimed that
with so many people devoted to the cause of women’s suffrage, “Failure
is impossible!” Our guide, Anne, taught us about the civil right
leader’s push for equality at the Susan B. Anthony house, as members
from the Soulforce West van toured through the communities of
Rochester, New York.
It was a pretty jam-packed day. Along with a visit to the Susan B.
Anthony House, we visited a food bank, an LGBT coffee house, and the
local youth group. In the morning, we visited the FoodLink food bank,
where we sorted donated food from local grocery stores into
categories, ready for distribution. By noon, we sorted dozens of boxes
containing nearly 3200 pounds of food.
The Susan B. Anthony House was next, and while we didn’t have enough
time for a full tour of the house, a friendly tour guide came out to
the van to tell us how Susan B. Anthony’s work for full equality was
never-ending, and she was optimistic about the movement on her dying
day. She set the building blocks for a movement that would result in
the women’s right to vote, which came 14 years after her death.
Many of us had lunch in a local eatery, called Penguin, which had some
pretty awesome mozzarella sticks. Then it was off to a local LGBT
coffeehouse named Equal Grounds. We immediately popped open
our laptops, as Equal Grounds had gloriously free Internet access.
When you’re on the road without 24/7 Internet access, it’s easy to
feel disconnected, especially when you’re coordinating events and
Mapquesting parts of the trip. We met members of the local Rochester
LGBT community at the coffeehouse in the late afternoon and had some
lively discussion about topics ranging from the issues facing the
senior citizen LGBT community to the latest reality shows on TV.
In the evening, we went to the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley Youth
Community Learning Center where we meet the local LGBT youth group.
They asked us to participate in a brainstorming session of how to get
more young LGBT people involved. Rochester is the city of festivals,
especially in the summer, and we discussed how to promote the
organization to the public and promote leadership within the group.
Since young people typically don’t have access to their own cars or haven’t come out to their parents, the youth group is thinking of putting together a volunteer
carpool where older members can drive younger members to events.
We were pretty conked out by the end of the day. We were staying with
a community member, and he greeted us with chocolate-covered
strawberries and a dish of crackers and hummus. Delicious.