Mayor Myrick is first speaker of 2015 Soup & Hope series at Cornell

January 14, 2015 by Mark H. Anbinder

The idea is simple, and it happens all the time: a speaker series paired with refreshments. But as the eighth season of the Soup & Hope series begins at Cornell this week, it sets out to do a little more, by "nourishing the body and the spirit at the same time."

Mayor Myrick speaking to a local group. 14850 Photo.Mayor Myrick speaking to a local group. 14850 Photo.

The bi-weekly event, which runs Thursdays through the winter, offers free soup and bread, and a different featured speaker at each session. Kicking off the 2015 winter season is City of Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick. He's noteworthy for the young age at which he was elected mayor (and, while a Cornell student, to Ithaca's Common Council before that) and for being Ithaca's first mayor of color. But he's also noteworthy for the hurdles his family faced when he was growing up. Mayor Myrick was raised by a single mother in a family that was, at times, homeless, and struggled to get by.

"I hope to talk tomorrow about how we can overcome the debilitating nature of fear," Mayor Myrick tells us. "I'll talk about my own fears and failures -- and strategies I've learned to rise above."

Event organizers encourage attendees to bring a bowl or a mug for their soup. The lunch series runs from 12 noon to 1pm every other Thursday, beginning January 15th, at Sage Chapel on the Cornell University campus, and the events are free and open to the public. Metered parking is available nearby, behind Willard Straight Hall, and community members driving to campus can stop by an info booth on Campus Road or Hoy Road for other parking options.

Future speakers include Brian Patchcoski, an Associate Dean and Director of Cornell's LGBT Resource Center, on January 29th, and Rebecca (Snyder) DeRoller, of the Einaudi Center for International Studies, on February 12th.

"I think the Soup & Hope Series is a wonderful idea," Mayor Myrick says. "It's just what is needed -- an opportunity to meet in a warm environment, share food, and share inspiration in the darkest, coldest stretch of winter."

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