Michael Hamilton:

Michael Hamilton"When two Kennedys can't get in the news, you know something's wrong."

Yes. It's me again. We all know I'm an artist. And like most artists I have a great social consciousness. So it bothered me when last month, which happened to be Women's History month, the Maryland Commission for Women and the Women Legislators of the Maryland General Assembly, inducted five of the most extraordinary women into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame and there was not one mention of it by any of the media. Don't get me wrong. When I was a lowly reporter for a small army news paper, I had to cover the officer's wives' club meetings. You probably think that's what this occasion was like. But while I sat there and listened to the lifetime accomplishment these women have made, and the millions of lives they have affected I knew something special was happening.

It was held at the U.S. Naval Academy Officers & Faculty Club and the opening remarks were made by Frances Hughes Glendening, First Lady of Maryland. Note worthy. The introduction of the honorees and presenters was the Hon. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Lt. Governor of Maryland. Certainly note worthy. And the honorees were Kathleen Freeley, SSND, Dr. Misbah Khan, M.D., Charmaine Krohe, SSND, Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Dr. Sandra W. Tomlinson. The fact that these peerless women were ignored is bad enough, but when two Kennedys can't get an article in the paper or thirty seconds on TV you know something's wrong. Do you hear me? Why do the negative aspects of Eunice Kennedy Shriver's life make news and not the fact that she established Special Olympics. One person assumed she was accepted just because of her name.

The front page headlines of the Baltimore Sun's Maryland section went something like this.

  • "City wants to sell strip club site at discount ."
  • "Panel rejects payday loans."
  • "Waverly killings laid to revenge."
  • "Judge refuses to halt Memorial Stadium demolition."

There were several other articles not worthy of pixel space.

These women have all been and still are connected to the higher education of others. They all have international connections through their work. One is dedicated to the public health of women and children in Maryland as well as world wide. And one has changed how we view mental retardation. In a society who's growing concern is on how what we see, hear and read influences us and the importance of role models, one would think some good news about a select set of outstanding women would get a little air time. Is someone asleep out there?

I called my mother, another unrecognized devotee to the youth of Ohio for over 50 years, and told her of the event. When I told her there was nothing in the paper, she proceeded to lecture me on how women never get proper recognition and how they always have to fight for their rights. She was preaching to the choir. But how could this be? This is the new millennium. Could it be that we are still ignoring our sisters? Could someone explain this to me? Am I missing something?

It reminded me of a conversation I had at a local pub with an inebriated critic of women artists. Easy prey for me. He told me I couldn't name 4 women artists. I paused for 2 seconds and out of my mouth flew, Cassatt, Morisot, Kollwitz, Hartigan, Neal, de Kooning and, ah, oh yea, O'Keefe. I had Peale and Kahlo on the tip of my tongue but I thought I had bombarded him enough. This is the type of twit brain that would give an article on a discounted strip club location priority over an article on 5 women who have just made their place in Maryland history.

Weeks after the event, the Governor honored the three male astronauts from Maryland, who just returned from the space lab. It was on TV and in the papers. I always wanted to be a space jock but I would like to have rather seen those women in front of the cameras and reporters. Not just because I knew one of them and it would have been great to see her get recognition, but because millions of people who have had direct contact with these women were deprived of seeing or reading of what had taken place. If March was suppose to be Women's History month then the media missed the biggest opportunity to SUPPORT and HONOR the gender that gave them birth. Don't you think? It's time for them to wake up and get off their lazy butts.

by Michael Hamilton, Contributing Editor
Baltimore Maryland
Graduate, Maryland Institute College of Arts
more on Michael Hamlton



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