The Muhammad Ali Center honored Suzy Post on Friday, March 18, at its regular Daughters of Greatness breakfast, and the Jewish Federation of Louisville cosponsored the event.
The Daughters of Greatness breakfast series invites prominent women engaged in social philanthropy, activism, and pursuits of justice to share their stories with the Louisville community. Post, a lifelong civil rights activist, was a natural choice for this honor.
Each honoree chooses the person to introduce her to those in attendance, and Post tapped Sara Wagner, president and CEO of the Jewish Community of Louisville.
Wagner said Post is a natural choice for this honor and praised the leader for her tenaciousness, passion, loyalty, truth-telling and more. Post, Wagner said, sees the world clearly and never sits on the sidelines. She sees the word “no” not as an obstacle, but as an open door to change the world and make a difference.
Wagner cited the Talmudic teaching that if you harm a single soul, it is as if you harm the whole world, but if you help or save one soul, it is as if you have saved the world. “You have saved many,” she said, addressing her remarks to Post, “and we are all grateful.”
With her trademark humor and candor, Post shared some memories and fielded a few questions. “The biggest problem of telling my life’s story,” she stated, “is I have been involved in every single social justice issue” and she enumerated a few: the impeachment of Richard Nixon, the women’s movement, the civil rights movement, the open housing movement, the anti-war movement (Vietnam).
Post said Dr. Lyman Johnson was her mentor, and he was just one of the many interesting people she met along the way.
She called on those present to be aware of what is going on around them and to speak up and become involved. A single individual can make a difference when that person speaks out, explains his/her perspective to others, who, in turn, speak to others.
Post served on the Jefferson County Human Relations Commission where she served on the Women’s Committee and looked into Title IX compliance in the schools. She found many instances of girls being put in food prep and homemaking courses instead of math and science. She also looked at compliance (or the lack thereof) in the area of sports.
To accomplish this task, she recruited more than 90 volunteers from the National Conference of Christians and Jews, National Council of Jewish Women, and as many other places as she could. When the work was complete, Post and her army of volunteers had documented 93 Title IX violations, which they sent to the national Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Nine HEW investigators came to Louisville and validated every complaint.
The work is not done, Post said. She encouraged those present to pursue social justice issues actively and to hold community institutions accountable for their practices.