City of Geneva Seeks Resident Feedback on Proposed “Agents of Change” Quotes for DRI Streetscape Project
The City of Geneva’s Public Art Committee is seeking resident feedback on ten proposed “Agents of Change” quotes as part of the City’s upcoming Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Streetscape project.
The selected quotes will be etched into concrete seatwalls located along Castle St. The ten proposed quotes were chosen from an archive of local history documents by students in the 4th and 5th grade at North Street School and college students at Hobart and William Smith colleges in 2017-2018. The collaboration was part of a larger The People’s History of Geneva K-12 Curriculum Project, a multi-year collaboration between Geneva City Schools, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and the Geneva Historical Society. The goal of the project was to work with teachers and local residents of Geneva, NY to bring multi-cultural local history into the city’s K-12 social studies curriculum.
In the summer of 2017, the project staff hosted a three-day professional development workshop for Geneva City teachers. A group of three 4th and 5th grade teachers expressed their desire to craft a local history curriculum unit that examined local leaders and taught basic research skills. Guided by project director, and Public Art Committee member, Elizabeth Belanger and local historian Anne Daley, the GSCD staff members identified potential individuals or groups in the past who had been “agents of change” in Geneva. Belanger researched the individuals and groups, ultimately presenting 12 possible “agents of change” to the teachers. The teachers chose the individuals/groups they felt were most appropriate for classroom use and devised a curriculum for their students. In the fall of 2017, 4th and 5th graders at North Street school partnered with students in Belanger’s Community Based Research class to research and present on the history of these individuals/groups.
The suggested “Agents of Change” quotes for Geneva’s DRI Streetscape project emerged from the students’ research, and are quotes students identified as expressing the beliefs and values of their speakers, and representing the long history of human rights in Geneva. The ten quotes can be viewed on the City’s website at CityofGenevaNY.com. Any resident wishing to submit feedback on the proposed quotes can email City Planner Katie Labbe at KLabbe@geneva.ny.us by Friday, March 19th.
The Geneva Public Art Committee is composed of seven members of the Geneva community. There are currently open positions on the committee. Please inquire with Katie Labbe at KLabbe@geneva.ny.us if you would like to get involved in the committee.
Agents of Change Quotes
Equality in the use of the elective franchise is the only true basis of a Democratic Government….We demand the restoration of our rights, at the hands of the people of the State of New-York, who, without any cause, took them from us, and have persisted in the wrong for the last twenty-four years.
– James W. Duffin, businessman and secretary of Geneva Colored Anti-Slavery Society speaking at the New York State Free Suffrage Convention in 1845.
Source: Meeting Minuets of the New York State Free Suffrage Convention, September 8, 1845.
Our so-called “Woman’s movement” is for the benefit of the people: Men, women, and children……We must stand together, and think, and work things out, together.
– Anne Fitzhugh Miller suffragette, founder Political Equality Club 1907
Source: Anne Fitzhugh Miller “Summary of the Activities of the Political Equality Club” Pamphlet, 1907.
The center is for intercultural activities for all ethnic groups…These new Puerto Rican residents will be Geneva citizens of tomorrow.
– Finger Lakes Times article speaking about the establishment of the Spanish Association of the Finger Lakes in 1956
Source: “Puerto Rican Families’ Plight in Geneva Eyed” Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York) Sat, Apr 14, 1956 Page 33.
We believe we are faced with an immediate challenge to represent on one hand our greatest source of pleasure and beauty and on the other hand our most important economic asset. We intend our efforts to meet this challenge…
– Seneca Lake Waterways Association advocating for reduced pollution in Geneva and the Finger Lakes Region in 1965.
Source: Seneca Lake Waterways Association Pollution Committee Report 1965.
It is our object to form cultivated women, women whose instruction has hitherto been so unaccountably undervalued. Let us remember education is never at a stand…The present gives a stamp to the future.
– Elizabeth Ricord, teacher, scholar, and advocate for women’s equality in education founded the Geneva Female Seminary in 1837.
Source: Elizabeth Ricord “Annual Circular Report and Catalogue of the Geneva Female Seminary under the care of Mrs. Ricord” (Geneva NY: Mattison & Haskell Printers, 1837.)
Brethren, arise, arise! Strike for your lives and liberties. Now is the day and the hour. …Let your motto be resistance! resistance! RESISTANCE! No oppressed people have ever secured their liberty without resistance.
– Henry Higland Garnett was an orator and abolitionist who founded a school for African American children in Geneva in 1848.
Source: Henry Highland Garnet “An Address to the Slaves of the United States of America. The Past, and the Present Condition , and the Destiny of the Colored Race” 1848.
The truth will be shown by what you do- not by what you say.
-Minister Lawrence Evans was an organizer for Community Action Self Development Inc (COMAC) a human rights organization in Geneva in the 1970s.
Source: “Improvement Goal: COMAC” Rochester Democrat and Chronicle March 26, 1973.
“Human rights is everybody’s business”
Rosa Blue was the founding Secretary of the Geneva Human Rights Commission 1973.
Source: Stella Cecere “Civic Activist Honored” Geneva Daily Times June 1973.
“To speak our minds freely…this gives us great joy, for we now consider that we stand upright before you.”
Born near Seneca Lake circa 1750, Sagoyewatha staunchly advocated for Native American rights to land, religion, and freedom of expression.
Source: From Speeches Delivered by Several Indian Chiefs, Also an Extract of a Letter from an Indian Chief. New York: Samuel Wood, 1812. 11-16.
“We shall not work for less than a specified wage…and not work with any tradesman who works for less.”
In 1833, Geneva shoemakers George Fisher, Stephen Fowler, and Anthony Hoyts initiated one of the first legal cases arguing for the standardization of wages