On Saturday, February 20 I had the honor to present a program on America’s First Ladies: More than the Women Behind the Men. As always the audience for the Saturday brunches was intelligent and engaged with great questions and wonderful conversation throughout the morning–and they gave up time on a beautiful and warm February morning to be part of the brunch activities. I believe this speaks volumes about the community the Dialog Institute has created in the Kansas City and Lawrence area. It was a special treat to see people we have met at other brunches and who have been in our home for fast breaking dinners. I also had the opportunity to see a college friend who is the pastor of the church–Fr. Michael Stubbs. Fr. Stubbs and his parishoners were welcoming to all of us.
My presentation used a quiz about First Ladies as a way of demonstrating that since Martha Washington, these women have made important contributions to their husbands’ presidencies. Just because women were often behind the scenes, they were the eyes and ears for their husbands at social events, they provided sage advice, and many were more politically savvy than their spouses. Most importantly, they were partners in the journey toward the presidency and during it, but each in a way that fit her times. The modern first ladies have a unique platform for social change and to promote important issues that affect average Americans. As we recognize America’s presidents during the month of February, my presentation pointed out that we should also recognize the contributions of the women who shared the experience with the president and the country.