The 20th Anniversary Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner was a smashing success! Thanks to the 185 people that attended and to all the committee members that worked so hard to pull it off. Special thanks to Amy Lambiase for an outstanding job in the Silent Auction and to Brooke and Dennis Orr, who provided the beer for the bar.
It was particularly special to have six of the seven women who founded the original Democratic club in Boerne. Gwen King’s remarks were an inspiring reminder of the history of our club. Kim Olson was a truly motivating speaker and we should all remember her advice to get out and vote!
The Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner (ERD) was first hosted on October 30, 1999 in a member's barn. Like today, it included a silent auction, but unlike today, it also included a cakewalk. Our founders chose to name the fundraiser for Eleanor Roosevelt: a great first lady, diplomat and activist. Our first speaker was Dr. Coleen Grissom, and each year since, we've heard from other interesting and prominent speakers, often an elected official or candidate running for office. Last year, Mike Collier gave the main address in 2017 and we met many of the candidates for US TX-21 and Texas SD 25.
· Ever wonder why the Boerne Area Democrats host an “Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner?”. Well…maybe this will help:
· Eleanor Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884, in New York City. She was, in her time, one of the world’s most widely admired and powerful women. With the entry of the United States into World War I in April 1917, Eleanor visited wounded soldiers and worked for the Navy–Marine Corps Relief Society and in a Red Cross canteen. She joined the Women’s Trade Union League and became active in the New York state Democratic Party. Later, as the wife of President Franklin Roosevelt, she served as America’s First Lady for 12 years.
· During these years as first lady, the unprecedented breadth of her activities and her advocacy of liberal causes made her nearly as controversial a figure as her husband. She instituted regular White House press conferences for women correspondents, and wire services that had not formerly employed women were forced to do so, in order to have a representative present in case important news broke.
· In 1939, when the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused to let African American opera singer, Marian Anderson, perform in Constitution Hall, Eleanor resigned her membership in the DAR and arranged to hold the concert at the nearby Lincoln Memorial; the event turned into a massive outdoor celebration attended by 75,000 people.
· On another occasion, when local officials in Alabama insisted that seating at a public meeting be segregated by race, Eleanor carried a folding chair to all sessions and carefully placed it in the center aisle. Her defense of the rights of African Americans, youth, and the poor helped to bring groups into government that formerly had been alienated from the political process.
· After President Roosevelt’s death in 1945, President Truman appointed Eleanor as a delegate to the United Nations, where she served as chairman of the Commission on Human Rights and in 1948, played a major role in the drafting and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy appointed her chair of his Commission on the Status of Women, and she continued with that work until shortly before her death.
· In 1998, President Bill Clinton established the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights, honoring outstanding American promoters of rights in the United States. The award was first presented on the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, honoring Eleanor Roosevelt's role as the "driving force" in the development of the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
· * “Throughout the crowded years of her lifetime, Eleanor Roosevelt was the tireless champion of working men and women…Wherever there were battles to be fought …for minimum wage or social security…on behalf of sharecroppers or migratory workers…against the unspeakable evils of discrimination, segregation or child labor…she was an ardent advocate of the ideals of the United Nations…the architect of its Human Rights program…But more than that: she was one of us…”.
* AFL-CIO Pamphlet, 1963, George Meany Memorial Archives, Silver Spring, MD.