Lakewood League Of Women Voters Celebrates 100 Years In Lakewood With Afternoon Tea

 Venera Foti, Terri Frederika, Cindy Strebig, Nora Katzenberger

On Saturday, October 8, 2022 the Lakewood Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland hosted an Afternoon Tea. The event was held at the Women’s Club Pavilion at Lakewood Park in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Chapter in Lakewood, Ohio. The theme of the event was Celebrating 100 Years and Looking Ahead to the Next 100.  

The event began with a warm welcome from Cindy Strebig and Susannah Selnick, the 100th Anniversary Champion and the Chapter Chair, respectively. An explanation followed, from Pam Smith and Kathy Kosiorek on the history of the chapter and the Ohio Historical Marker outside of the Women’s Club Pavilion, recognizing Lakewood Women’s right to vote in 1917 and the League of Women Voters charter in 1922. John Pyke spoke of his grandmother, Bernice Pyke and her efforts in the Suffrage Party of Greater Cleveland. He believes she would be pleased that the chapter is still active in the community today, although disappointed that we have not had a female President of the United States yet. 

The event continued indoors with a description of a true afternoon tea from Carlos E. Ramos, Managing Member of The Tea lab, and sponsor of the event. In 1840, afternoon tea was held at 4:00P to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner at 8:00P. The guests at this Afternoon tea sampled teas from The Tea Lab and refreshments from Karen King Catering. Students from the Lakewood City Schools H2O Program served the refreshments and desserts to the guests while Cindy provided a reading from the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments before turning the program over to table moderators for discussion.

State of Ohio Senator Nickie J. Antonio presented Susannah with a Resolution recognizing the 100th Anniversary and shared her thoughts on the trail blazing that the League continues to provide for our community. Cindy presented the Lakewood City Schools Social Studies Program with the Community Partner and Lakewood Pillar Award for their continued work of educating and empowering voters. Ron Lewis and Dr. Charles Greanoff accepted the award on behalf of the city school’s program. 

Lakewood City School Board and League Member, Nora Katzenberger introduced Dr. Greanoff, who shared the Vision of a Lakewood Schools Graduate. It is not enough for graduates to get a good job if they are not also good citizens. He recognized the League’s efforts to protect voting rights and fight against voter suppression. The next guest to speak was Meryl Johnson from the Ohio Board of Education. She shared updates from the state and the current efforts to exclude trans students from protection under Title IX, and asked us to provide testimony before a vote later in the week. 

Cindy continued and asked the table moderators to evaluate the 16 abuses outlined in the Declaration of Sentiments to determine what we had accomplished in 174 years and what work still needed be completed. We moved from the past to the present and lastly to the future with Lakewood’s second elected female Mayor, Meghan George. Mayor George talked to the group about the passage of parental leave for women in Lakewood, the recently hired first female fire fighter, and making the city more welcoming to female entrepreneurs. 

Nora introduced her daughter, Shannon Katzenberger, a high school sophomore and political activist. Shannon talked about her experiences and disappointments with election results and called for more diversity in decision-making from trans women, women of color, and people with economic diversity.

Courtney Noster, certified counselor and healing practitioner was the last speaker and talked about embracing change, slowing down, being a good beginner, and seeing the world with fresh eyes. The table discussions finished with recognizing what we have left to do and how we have to change to accomplish it. Cindy thanked a wonderful team in Terri Fredericka, Venera Foti, and Nora Katzenberger in addition to everyone in attendance and all who helped make this event a success.

Cindy Strebig

Community activist and concerned citizen.

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Volume 19, Issue 1, Posted 2:50 PM, 01.10.2023