Holiday Spotlight: Stephanie Sussman

Stephanie Sussman is a retired school district administrator and is currently the Claverack Democratic Committee Town Chair and an executive committee member of the Columbia County Democratic Committee.

She is married and has two adult daughters and two grandchildren, and she enjoys staying active through weekly yoga and water aerobics classes.

What gifts would you like to receive this year?

“The gifts I hope for are continued health, economic security, and personal time to spend with family and friends, and to continue to engage in activism to create, lead, and participate in positive change, both in my local community and the larger world. I believe that living a good life is about people, not things.”

What kind of gifts would you like to give this year?

“Many people face hardships every day and these are deeply disturbing to me. I try to devote my efforts to give others opportunities to seek growth, self-satisfaction, a joyful life, and a sense of safety and security. Besides that, each summer my husband and I spend several weeks with my grandchildren and other family members together on vacation, giving our family time to build strong bonds and happy memories to last a lifetime.”

What is the most memorable gift you have received?

“Several years ago, my husband and I went on a vacation to Costa Rica for my birthday. It was a fabulous trip and I thought that was the celebration for my birthday. Not long after we arrived home, my husband took me out to dinner with another couple, but when we got to the restaurant I discovered that it was actually a surprise party, with 70 of our friends and family members. He had reserved the whole place and also arranged for me to have Cajun cooking lessons with the restaurant’s chef.”

What is a charity you’d like to highlight?

“I have a few that are important to me. I actively support Planned Parenthood, because women’s health and personal choices should not be a matter of politics. The Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center because of their efforts fighting hatred, discrimination, and violence against those that look different or pray differently. Rising hate speech, bigoted, violent, anti-Semitic language, and white nationalist activities are a threat to everyone. Ignoring these behaviors as was done in Europe when Nazi Germany rose to power, should be a lesson to all of us to never tolerate this again.”

Warrior’s Haven is a new local organization that I would also like to highlight. They are a veteran-run not-for-profit homestead in Stockport, acting as a transition, skills, and rehabilitation center dedicated to veterans with disabilities, PTSD, or combat stress, helping them return to civilian life.”

What is your wish for the new year?

“To continue to pursue my activism, to stay deeply connected to my family and friends, and to stand by my personal values.”

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