The legacy of Fannie Barrier Williams

If you’re from Brockport, you probably know about Fannie Barrier Williams. But most of us don’t recognize the name, despite her former status as a national celebrity. Barrier Williams was a suffragist, civil rights leader, orator, and changemaker. She was born and raised in Brockport, and hers was one of the only Black families in the community. In 1870, she would become the first Black woman to graduate from SUNY Brockport.

After college, Barrier Williams took a teaching position in Mississippi and experienced a level of racism she had never before encountered. It broke her spirit and led her toward a life as an activist. She moved to Boston to study piano but was asked to leave after her presence made white students uncomfortable. She met her husband, Samuel, and moved to Chicago where he started a law practice, and she became active in the local community.

Barrier Williams started by fighting for women’s rights in the workplace and pushed for housing and health facilities for women and children in poverty. She fought to become the first […] [Jan/Feb 2024 Issue]

PAWS: Life is Better with Baseball

Twelve-year-old Erik Gomez has one dream: to be a professional Major League Baseball player. He wears a championship ring from a tournament in Cooperstown and his favorite player is Fernando Tatis, Jr. of the Padres. Gomez trains five to six days a week at PAWS, a one-of-a-kind center with a turfed field, pitching machines, an amazing sound system and graffiti-lined walls. You may remember PAWS or “Providing Animal Welfare Services” as a group that supports city pet owners. The owners built dog houses, launched a spay/neuter program, and provided low-cost pet care units. Starting in 2018, they worked diligently on a new vision to serve the community through sports. After a few years and a lot of hard work, the youth and advocacy center officially opened. Cofounders Matt and Laura Piccone believe that sports, primarily baseball and softball, will be the catalyst for social change within their community.

“I still have a strong drive to help the animals, but you have to help the people first,” says Matt. “If communities are suffering, animals are suffering. If people are concerned with baseball, they start to […] [Fall 2023 Issue]

Trick or Treating is for Everyone

Calling all goblins, ghouls, and ghosts! Attention: all princesses, Pokemon, and pumpkins! Do your kids love to play dress up? Be sure to add this Halloweenthemed activity to your October calendar. The Al Sigl WalkAbout is a day of indoor fun where families and individuals served by Al Sigl’s seven member agencies gather together for accessible trick-or-treating at Eastview Mall. This free event, held on October 22, ends with a costume contest for people of all ages and abilities. Everyone is […] [2023 Fall Issue]

Native Made

Angelina Hilton has been traveling back to the reservation in Kansas every year since she was a little girl. She recently made the decision to bring her Native traditions and culture home to the people of Rochester. 

Native Made, Hilton’s small business, provides marketing services for Native American–owned businesses. She has made it her mission to increase Indigenous visibility and reduce barriers for Native people to enter the marketplace. Last November, she saw an opportunity to share her heritage with her Rochester neighborhood. Hilton hosted Indigenous vendors and presenters at the first Native Made Market at POP ROC, the pop-culture cafe she cofounded with her husband, Jason.

Hilton is listed on the roll of the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri and is the sixth-generation granddaughter of Rantchewaime (Flying Pigeon) and Iowa Chief Mahaska (White Cloud). Her family moved to the Rochester area when she was a child, where she learned her new home was rich in Native culture and history, being the land of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Hilton cherished the […] [Nov/Dec 2023 issue]

Rediscover the Beauty Around You

When Joseph Nardone bought his current home in 1999, the simple backyard consisted of a pool, a white fence, and a lonesome walnut tree. After knocking down the fence, he discovered he had been given a blank canvas to decorate. That’s when he started planting. 

“I learned as I went,” Nardone says. “I just kept adding.” […] [Sept/Oct 2023 Issue]

A Fairy Tale Cafe:

Coffee and Smoothies and Cheesecake, Oh My!

Just as Dorothy was transported to the land of Oz, you’ll feel like you’ve entered another world when you walk through the doors of the Old Farm Cafe. Stepping inside out of the bitter Rochester winter, I am instantly transported to a sunny summer day on the farm. “That’s the idea,” says owner Eric Vaughn Johnson. […] [March/April 2023 Issue]

High Flying Fun:

Thrills for All Ages at the Rochester Airshow

Do you hear it? The whir of the wings. The roar of the engines. After a four-year hiatus, the Rochester Airshow returns! Get ready to welcome back the Thunderbirds, the official air demonstration team of the United States Air Force. Mark your calendars for August 12 and 13. The show will be hosted at the Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport.   […] [Summer 2023 Issue]

Hitting All the Right Notes:

The Benefits of Playing a Musical Instrument

Before you send your child back to school this fall, consider encouraging them to choose an instrument and join the school band or orchestra. Find out what is offered at each grade level. In our district, children start learning bowed stringed instruments in second grade and band instruments in fourth grade. Later, they can join the fiddle club, marching band, and indoor percussion ensemble. […] [Summer 2023 Issue]

Here’s The Scoop:

The Best Handcrafted Ice Cream around Rochester

Nothing says summer like a refreshing ice cream cone after a long bike ride. In no particular order, here’s the scoop on some of the best ice cream near you and a few places that are worth a drive. […] [Spring 2023 Issue]

Kindness Rocks

A Rock-Solid Hobby for Christina Smith

On his way to school one morning, an eight-year-old boy spies a brightly colored object peeking out from under a leaf. He bends down to check it out and finds . . . a rock. Painted to resemble a puppy, this is no ordinary rock. He tucks it into his pocket as he smiles. Across town, an orthodontist is unlocking the office door when she catches something out of the corner of her eye. She picks up a rock painted like a tooth with the words “Follow Your Dreams” written in bold lettering. She holds it in her hand and chuckles. Locals are finding painted rocks everywhere in Victor: at the library, on hiking trails, even at the foot of their own mailboxes and porches. Someone here has started a movement, and her kindness has become contagious. […] [Winter 2023 Issue]

About Me

Sarah grew up surrounded by books and loved her notebooks and pens. She loved writing plays and performing them with her siblings. Her long stories won her the future author award in elementary school. As a fourth grade teacher, Sarah earned a Masters degree in writing curriculum, but decided that writing children’s books was much more fun! When she isn’t writing or reading, you can find her dancing to old records, playing board games or watching movies with her husband and three kids. She has a mini-goldendoodle named Oliver who likes to sleep on her feet while she writes. Sarah lives with her family in Victor, NY.