November 30, 2021

Zonta shakes up fall fundraiser

Katie Keyser/Living and Leisure Editor

Dana Hogan of Homer poses as Amelia Earhart Wednesday outside the Center for the Arts of Homer, the site of the Nov. 1 “Wine, Women, History” fundraiser for Zonta Club of Cortland, a look at Zonta’s 100 years of service and advocacy.

Dana Hogan is having all sorts of fun delving into women’s history as she prepares for the Zonta Club of Cortland’s “Wine, Women, History” fundraiser.

The Homer woman will impersonate Amelia Earhart, the first woman pilot to fly across the Atlantic ocean, at the November event.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on now in popular culture with conspiracy theories on her death,” said Hogan, a speech pathologist at Guthrie Cortland Medical Center. Earhart disappeared at the age of 39 in 1937 while attempting to circle the world in an airplane with her navigator Fred Noonan.

“I am interested in her life, what she stood for — Women taking chances,” Hogan said. “I love this quote I found on this site: She said (of a prospective flight she was planning) — “I am taking this one solely because I want to. I want to show women what women can do.”

Wine, Women, History will take place 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Center for the Arts of Homer, 72 S. Main St., Homer. Get tickets by Oct. 23 by calling Molly Lane at 315-403-4196, from Zonta Club members or at the YWCA, 14 Clayton Ave. Cortland.

“We wanted to have an event that was fun but provided information,” said Chris Cecconi, a Zonta Fall Fundraiser committee member. “We typically do a fashion show. But we decided, because of the 100-year anniversary of Zonta International, we wanted to do something that really paralleled the mission of Zonta: to empower women through service and advocacy.”

“The idea is to represent historical figures who made an impact in the last century — activists,” said Cecconi, a retired speech pathologist at Ithaca College.

Besides Earhart, there will be America’s first woman medical doctor, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, played by Deb Wines of Cortlandville. Feminist Gloria Steinem will be played by Molly Lane. Retired YWCA director Amy Simrell will play Eleanor Roosevelt. Cecconi is re-enacting Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second female justice of four to be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We’re going to have so much fun,” said Hogan, who is leading the historical part of the program with Lane. “It’s more about mingling, with a silent slide show.”

At key intervals, the five historical speakers will act their part as DJ Kat Walters, a Zonta Club member, is master of ceremonies.

“We should do $1 for a selfie with a historical figure!” Cecconi said. “That’s fun.”

“It’s going to get some (discussion) going, talking about what they know. What they don’t know. Create an atmo-sphere of asking questions,” Hogan said.

A $25 ticket pays for the venue, the food: tapas-style hors d’oevres by Scratch Farm House and a free drink ticket.

Zonta makes money for the programs it supports by the themed raffle baskets: “Beer and Barbecue,” “Matinee Madness,” “Fun with Kids” and “Super Bowl.”

Zonta raises money for YWCA Aid to Victims of Violence, Model Moms, the Red Book Shelf and scholarships for women to attend college. It also supports a teen Zonta program, where both men and women do service projects to help women in other countries, health kits for the poor, helping supply access to water in dry areas.

“Zonta is looking for new members. This event shows our mission,” Hogan said.

Wines, a retired speech pathologist in the Cortland Enlarged City School District, said she’s playing Blackwell, the first woman to get a medical degree in the U.S. — in 1849 — from Geneva College, now known as Hobart and William Smith College.

The administration thought Blackwell was a joke and accepted her on a whim, she said. “She was ostracized and the subject of ridicule,” Wines said.

Blackwell opened her own clinic in New York City “for poor women and children, so they could get proper healthcare. She was a champion of proper sanitation,” Hines said.

Hogan was impressed in Earhart’s autobiography, where the pilot payed homage to women aviators before her, and how she formed a club, the Ninety-Nines, to promote female pilots.

Hogan found in her research that first lady Lou Henry Hoover invited an African-American woman, Jessie DePriest, wife of a African-American congressman, to a tea at the White House.

The uproar made national news.

Hogan was dismayed by the report that said the 1929 tea gave Jessie DePriest “social legitimacy and equal standing with a white person” — as if that was needed for the woman — according to a piece in the National Archives on Hoover Heads.

“That wasn’t that long ago,” Hogan said.