2004-10-15 / Columnists

Make History This Fall: Vote

Dr. Geraldine Chapey
Dr. Geraldine Chapey On Wednesday, October 6 CUNY sponsored a reception at the New York Historical Society highlighting its campaign: “Make History This Fall: Vote.”

The hosts were CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson, members of the CUNY Board of Trustees and the Presidents of the CUNY Colleges. Prominent New Yorkers, elected officials and dignitaries joined the celebration. My mother, Dr. Geraldine D. Chapey, member of the New York State Board of Regents and I attended.

Kudos to Hershenson on the publication of the CUNY New York Times Knowledge Network Voting Rights and Citizenship Calendar. This calendar, Chancellor Goldstein observed, is specifically “designed to help inspire participation in civic life by educating students, teachers and the general public about American History.” The Chancellor praised Hershenson for his vision, his energy and his zeal. Jay was the motivating spirit behind this well researched and documented calendar. His inspiration and enthusiasm were the driving force behind this momentous publication. Jay conceived the idea, encouraged its development and marketed it. Its contents are aligned with the New York State Learning Standards. It is unique in many respects: it’s a 17 month calendar; it’s associated with websites and curricula; it has ties to voting and citizenship sites; and it’s intended for national and international audiences. As Chancellor Goldstein noted great organizations can achieve great things through great leadership. Hershenson is that exemplary type of leader.

The calendar project was developed in coordination with the New York City Department of Education and was underwritten by the New York Times, J. P. Morgan Chase and TIAA CREF. The New York Times is used today in many schools in the metropolitan area as a resource to help students meet and exceed the performance standards across the curricula. The themes featured in the calendar are imbedded in the curricula in our schools and universities teaching the important principles of democracy. The calendar is a valuable teaching tool, which will enlighten and inspire our students and future generations. It is focused on increasing civic engagement. The ultimate sign of engagement is to vote. The calendar highlights the connection between voting and citizenship.

The calendar includes information on many aspects of our voting process. From a historical point of view, the calendar lists milestones in voting history dating from July 2, 1776 through October 29, 2002. It looks at the Constitution and Suffrage, Jefferson and the Election of 1800, Contested Elections and the Electoral College, America at Mid-Century, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Women’s Suffrage, Women Get the Vote, Jim Crow, A New Deal for Workers, Big City Voting, American Indians and Chinese Americans Get The Vote, Civil Rights, The Promised Land, Puerto Rican Voters, New Voices, Mexican American Voters and Getting Out the Vote on the Home and Fighting Fronts. Copies of the calendar are available for reference at the Regular Democratic Club of the Rockaways during business hours.

Vice Chancellor Hershenson is to be commended for his vision and foresight in leading this important and excellent educational endeavor. He worked closely with Richard Lieberman, Director of the La Guardia and Wagner Archives at La Guardia Community College, Dr. Steven Levine, Educational Co-coordinator of the Archives and an advisory committee of prominent CUNY educators.

CUNY is fortunate to have such an articulate, motivated and enthusiastic leader as Hershenson. He has a long history of demonstrated competence, effectiveness and achievement. The development of the Voting Rights and Citizenship Calendar 2005 is one of CUNY’s and Hershenson’s greatest achievements.

Please join the Chamber of Commerce as it honors Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey at its annual dinner on Thursday, November 17, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. at Russo’s on the Bay. Tickets are available by calling 718-474-2700.

Please join us on Tuesday, October 26 to hear Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer and Senator Malcolm Smith address The Regular Democratic Club of the Rockaways at 8:15 p.m. Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey is the Executive Member.

Tickets are available for the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show on November 5. Tickets to the show and round trip transportation are $49.

To obtain tickets please call 718-474-1641.

Congratulations to Fern Lieberman on her achieving the first place trophy from the Lawrence Ladies Tennis Club. She is a woman of great artistic and athletic talent.



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