Celebrating Women's Suffrage in Newburgh

Newburgh’s once great Palatine hotel received national figureheads of the suffrage movement during the annual New York State convention in November 1895. That historic gathering was Ophra Wolf’s inspiration for organizing a community circle (with help from The Restorative Center) and a pageant ride down Broadway with participants draped symbolically in white. Leetha Berchielli of Mrs. Max boutique provided yellow flower poofs in honor of the unifying rose worn during the vote for ratification in 1820. Melzina Canigan and Ophra Wolf led the way down a rain-soaked Broadway with the glow of streetlamps and their helmet flashlights guiding them. They breezed simultaneously into the foyer of the Ritz under the radiant marquee several minutes after launching from the peak cross-street of South Williams.

Ophra during her interview at Space Create

Onlookers joined in their celebration of a small, joyful victory, commemorating women’s rights, boldness, and bravery. Johanna Porr, Orange County historian, said that New York State will be pushing for a three-year celebration beginning in 2017 to signify 100 years since the passing of the law on a state and then national stage.

During the community circle, participants called upon their personal relationships with inspiring women and shared their stories of triumph, perseverance, and kindness.  Ophra Wolf summed up the beautiful parts of the evening when she said, “Whether because they are compassionate and give life or something else altogether, women are expected to put their own cause down for the welfare of others. It’s something that hasn’t changed in all this time. It’s ingrained in our identity.” History tells many tales. On November 19th, in a circle of dialog with all parts equal, the power of women as caregivers, pioneers, and political progressives was acclaimed by all.


Returning from ride Ophra and Melzina, headlining photo