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Photo: Susan Goodier, Assistant Director of the Gage Home, and Helena Jaramillo in front of the Religious Freedom Exhibit.
As an intern at Interfaith Works, I was asked to be the curator for an exhibition on Religious Freedom at the Gage Home, the home and museum of Matilda Joslyn Gage. The focus of the exhibition was to compare Gage’s words and quotes to contemporary issues concerning religious freedom. Through the process, it was easy to find similarities between Gage’s mission and the mission at Interfaith Works.
Matilda Joslyn Gage was among other things, a suffragist, religious freedom activist, and most well known for her role as a visionary in the Women’s rights movement of the 19th century. On the topic of religious freedom, Gage was well beyond her times, declaring that the church was one of the biggest obstacles in the fight for women’s freedom, and that the only way to overcome this was through separation of church and state. Gage’s ultimate goal was for equality and dignity among women and humanity, believing that, “There is no peace without equality.”
Although radical for her generation, Gage’s notions of justice were much like those of Interfaith Works today, where we are trying to continue with that same spirit of social justice and equality , by “affirming dignity” not just for women but for many different groups, including the elderly, refugees, and the disabled. The goal is that by coming to be a better understanding of different faiths and situations, a better sense of unity and tolerance can be shared amongst the community.
Gage once pointed out that, “To judge how much our acts will influence the future, we must look back and see what influence the past had on us.” Surely, Interfaith Works has seen the influence Gage has had on society and can only hope to advance with the same dedication
Helena G. Jaramillo
To see the exhibit and pay a visit to the Home, please call (315) 637-9511, or stop by 210 E. Genesee St., Fayetteville, NY. Or follow this link to The Gage Home for more information.