Some women sat on blankets, breast-feeding their infants and reining in toddlers.
Others laughed with friends and enjoyed snacks with family, while waiting on the Mercerdale Park lawn for the final Mostly Music in the Park concert to begin on Thursday.
It was an evening to celebrate Women’s Equality Day, commemorating the passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution in 1920, which gave women the right to vote.
During an emotional speech, Mercer Island Deputy Mayor Debbie Bertlin used the platform as an opportunity to address national issues.
“As we celebrate the recognition of women’s rights and … [contributions] to society, we must equally and openly address our country’s current dialogue of bigotry and hate,” Bertlin said.
She noted that she believes in the importance of “standing as individuals and together as a community against intolerance and in recognizing the contributions” of all people to the Mercer Island community and the country, as well as the importance of open dialogue and mutual respect.
“As we enjoy this beautiful evening, let’s spend some time tonight reminding ourselves why Mercer Island is such a special community, and what brings us together and what will keep us strong,” Bertlin added.
Councilmember Benson Wong then reiterated the values of tolerance and inclusion the City Council set forth last fall.
The national observance of Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26 also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward equality.
Placards throughout the park highlighted photos of women and some of these efforts, including:
• 1942-1946: Susan Ahn Cuddy becomes the first female gunnery officer in the U.S. Navy. She reached the rank of lieutenant during World War II.
• Aug. 19, 1981: Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Today, there are three women on the nine-justice panel.
• June 18, 1983: Sally Ride becomes the first American female astronaut in space.
• December 1978: Bonnie Beers becomes the Seattle Fire Department’s first female firefighter.
• Oct. 10, 2014: Malala Yousafzai is named as a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her work against the suppression of young people and the right for all children to receive an education. She is the youngest winner of the title, at age 17.