Women's History Month Op-Eds

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Celebrate women who have instilled change

By Joan Crescitelli

Women’s History Month is a time to recognize and celebrate women who have instilled change to make life better for others while making contributions to American history, culture, and society. To me, it represents a time to connect with women in leadership who have transformed the world with integrity and authenticity. It’s a time for acknowledging their achievements with gratitude. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.” When I look at the women who have made a difference, both past and present, I see women who have lived life and kept curiosity alive.

I come from a long line of strong, determined women. My grandmother used to tell me how she was working in the fields just two weeks after my mother was born. My sister and I were encouraged to be prayerful, study hard, and carve out a life for ourselves independently. We were taught by example to fight the good fight of faith and that giving up was not an option. My mother would tell me that everything will always work out in the end and that failing at something really meant that I tried and gained experience. My sister went on to serve her country, then became a teacher and is now a pharmacist.  In 1979, I watched the film “Norma Rae,” based on a true story in which the main character, portrayed by Sally Fields, and mill workers start a branch of the Textile Workers Union of America. That film helped awaken my servant’s heart, and I began to fight for those less able than myself—it did not matter that I was a woman—what mattered was that I knew I could organize a plan to help others. As I reflect on my past, I realize that there were many women who influenced me and helped me become the woman I am today. I am grateful for those women, and all of the women who have made important positive contributions that have changed our lives.

Executive Director, Central Islip Civic Council

Celebrate the beautiful you

Franziska Bernhard

Beauty standards may change, but the relentless pressure to fit them doesn’t. Add the newest trendy Instagram filter, retouched ads and surgically altered celebrities; that ideal is just impossible to achieve. 

You must let go of the idea that beauty is perfect! You are not a plastic doll; you are a living being, with pores, scars, stretch marks. Don’t fall for the beauty trap! Remember the multi-million-dollar beauty and fitness industry wants you to believe that you’re not enough. How else would you try to transform yourself at the expense of your time, your mental and physical health, and most of all, your money?  

Do you want to know the secret to beauty? Self love! Start accepting your wonderful, glorious, wild self! Take time to cultivate that and stop being so critical of yourself. Those voices are lying. Don’t compare yourself to others; there is only one you, and you are exactly how you’re supposed to be. We are all conditioned to focus only on a perceived flaw, to obsess over it and to think that our whole life would be better if only that nose was smaller, the thighs thinner and the skin clearer. Please look at the whole picture—all of you, your kindness, your talents, your warm smile, your amazing cooking, the way only you can make your loved one feel better, your artistic talent, your warm embrace. Ditch the often-dangerous pursuit of a ridiculous ideal and use that time and funds for self-care. Activate the parasympathetic nervous system by spending time in nature, getting a massage or facial, practicing meditation, playing with animals or children, practicing yoga or tai chi, trying progressive relaxation, receiving reiki, or doing your favorite hobby. By strengthening your parasympathetic nervous system, you cause a relaxation response in the body and you lessen anxiety. 

There are few things that adversely affect your looks and your vibe like stress does. Meditation is my favorite way to bring mind, body, and spirit together. This alignment promotes less stress, more overall happiness, and vibrant beauty from within. Research shows that meditation reduces the body’s cortisol levels, reducing acne and slowing down the aging process. 

Support your body and skin by starting a simple routine. Dry brush twice a week in the morning before you shower. This helps get rid of toxins, boosts circulation, aids in lymphatic drainage, exfoliates, and plumps the skin. After the shower, use a good moisturizer. Start a simple skincare routine. Three to four products are all you need: an appropriate cleanser, a vitamin C serum, a moisturizer and SPF. Do not follow TikTok advice, but go to a trained skincare specialist to get customized recommendations. This is the perfect time to practice being kind to yourself. As you are applying the products, say loving affirmations and words of gratitude and appreciation. Celebrate the unique, special, extraordinary beauty you are.    

Businesswoman, owner of luxury spa studio RandianZ, former model

A woman’s place is … in Business and Government

By Sen. Alexis Weik

During Women’s History Month, we recognize the important role women have played in helping to build our society, institutions, and American way of life.

Historic women, like determined suffragettes of the past centuries, inventors, educators and more, play an important part in our reflection. Recognizing the achievements of women in today’s society is equally important. That’s why I’ve taken the time in the past few weeks to acknowledge some of the women leaders in our own communities and small business. There, women play a leading role in building up and improving the kind of communities we call home.

Less than half of businesses in America are now owned by women. Only 41 of the nation’s biggest companies are run by a woman at the top. Clearly, there’s room to grow!

In government, too, we have seen a growing number of women taking the reins. Today, 24 women serve as heads of state. Women make up 31 percent of state legislators, and in the New York State Senate, there are now 18 women serving out of 63 senators.

Women in elected leadership roles helps elevate women’s concerns, needs and priorities, and ensures that more voices are added to important public discussions.

There are many ways that women can stay engaged or become more involved in the civil and political life of our communities. Here are some starters:

First, know who your local representatives are. Contact your leaders and let them know about issues you support. Social media is great, but writing a letter or email is an even better way to make sure your point of view gets through.

Get involved with local civic, community, or political groups that you can support. Nothing contributes to making positive change more than volunteering your time and efforts for causes you support. You may find others feel as you do.

Whether your interest lies in getting involved or understanding how local representation supports and empowers the women of our shared community, know your reps, be heard, and be active! We all have a civic responsibility. 

Women should get involved and stay active

Angie Carpenter

Islip Town Supervisor

3-16-22 Town of Islip Elected officers photographs.Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter.
3-16-22 Town of Islip Elected officers photographs.Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter.
I have had the privilege of being involved in local government for many years, back to my years in school governance, PTA, community governance, Little League, Scouts, etc. It might appear a little odd to cite community involvement as relevant to my roles in government, but it helped me to be a better-elected official.

I worked in the private sector as a small-business owner, yet always found time for community engagement. As a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and founder of the town wide Chamber Council, I felt it important that small business have a voice, interacting with local government officials.

It is important for women, and everyone, to keep growing. Little did I realize when volunteering at the local nursing home, I would eventually serve as the board chair of the Continuing Care Division of a health system, giving me invaluable experience that I have used over the years in my various roles in government.

Keeping ties to the community is very near and dear to my heart, as I still volunteer, and find it so rewarding. Being open to opportunities is something I live by and encourage everyone to practice. You sometimes have to go out of your comfort zone; it is worth it. As a small-business owner, working in the town I love, never did I envision working in government, let alone three different roles: first as a county legislator, then as county treasurer, and ultimately accepting the position of town supervisor. Little did I realize when coming to the town, that I would be making history as the first woman supervisor in its 339-year history.

Based on this experience, I encourage all women to get involved and stay active. You never know where it can lead. My own desire to better my community has led me to the rewarding role of town supervisor, something I truly love, and hope the residents see fit to allow me to continue when I ask for their support again in November of 2023.

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