“The name of the event, Dangerous Dames of Dayton, is a nod to the suffragists who were fighting for the right to vote back in the 1900s and who were deemed as “dangerous to polite society” by the local newspaper,” said Christine Corba, executive director of the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area. “The women we are honoring have the same tenacity and grit those suffragists exhibited, and our community is better because of their contributions.”
Renate Frydman, Kaukab Husain and Adriane Miller will be honored as this year’s Dangerous Dames of Dayton. Corba said all three women have devoted their life’s work to building understanding and acceptance across diverse communities.
Meet this year’s Dangerous Dames:
Renate Frydman is the Miami Valley’s longtime champion of Holocaust remembrance and understanding. From being an author to curating “Prejudice & Memory: A Holocaust Exhibit” on permanent display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Frydman has shared her own stories as well as others.
“I believe good education is the best way to teach about these subjects and try to help create a more respectful, inclusive kind society,” Frydman said.
She has spoken to thousands of school children about the Holocaust in personal terms all over the state and the country with her first presentation at Wayne High School in the early 1970s. She said she always mentions bulling, name calling and racism in every speech.
“Something we could all do to make the world a better place is to stop racism, antisemitism, bullying and hatred towards others that we perceive as different,” Frydman said. “Teaching our children and young relatives to be kinder and more respectful would also help make our city and world a better place.”
A lesson she tries to pass along to her students is “by doing small things, you can help another student who feels alienated or bullied or alone.” She previously explained to this news outlet that when her paternal grandfather managed to emigrate to America, he was unable to get enough funds to bring his family to safety. With the help of a stranger, who signed an affidavit acknowledging that he would take financial responsibility for the family for five years, Frydman, her parents and grandmother were finally able to flee.
“That taught me how one person can make a difference in your life,” Frydman said.
In over 45 years of being a volunteer and bringing these lessons to people all over the world, Frydman said she has been determined to create entities that promote learning and provide resources to the general public.
In the early 1990′s, Frydman said she started the Dayton Holocaust Resource Center that is now in the Dunbar Library on Wright State’s Campus.
The exhibit at the National Museum of the United States Air Force features artifacts, pictures and memorabilia of local survivors of the Holocaust, American soldiers who were liberators of the camps and Righteous Gentiles who saved Jews lives during that time period.
“Having been chosen as one of Dayton’s “Dangerous Dames” means to me that there is understanding and support in my city for the effort I have made to educate students and adults, not only about the history of the Holocaust, but also about its lessons for all of us today,” Frydman said.
Kaukab Husain is the director of MYO+ (Muslim Youth Outreach), an organization that provides social, personal and financial services.
Husain was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. After getting married and living in a few different countries, she said they were sponsored by her brother-in-law to come to America.
She said she has been teaching for over 30 years, but after an early retirement, started a charity focusing on the core of her religion — to help humanity.
“When I began my charity, its focus was outward and I didn’t have any personal goals. The focus was on our youth to be good human beings and good Muslims. I wanted to instill in the children the importance of being compassionate and dedicated,” Husain said. “Getting nominated for this prestigious award was beyond my imagination and dreams. I am very appreciative to share this platform with such amazing women.”
As the director of MYO+, Husain engages with local organizations to determine current needs and organizes events with the help of her youth and their families to address those needs.
“Such interactions not only fulfill the acute needs, but also provide inspiration for others in our community,” Husain said.
Organizations MYO+ has partnered with include the Dayton Foodbank, Hannah’s Treasure Chest, St. Vincent’s and Five Rivers MetroParks, among several others. Husain said they also tutor local refugees and most recently responded to the Turkey-Syria earthquake by collaborating with local partners to provide medical and humanitarian relief.
“I very strongly believe that if we all focus on ourselves to become better human beings and practice that, and want for others what we want for ourselves, then this world would be a better place for everyone to live,” Husain said.
She said her faith is a huge inspiration for her work.
“I am very passionate about my work and social justice,” Husain said. “I believe everyone has inherent human rights and we should be living according to these principles. Receiving this honor inspires me to be better and continue to work for what I believe in.
Adriane Miller is the executive director of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) of Greater Dayton that has a mission of building a community dedicated to eliminating bias, bigotry and all forms of discrimination.
Miller, who is originally from upstate New York, but now lives in Yellow Springs, said she first learned about the NCCJ when she was a school-based therapist for 12 years throughout Dayton and Springfield. In Oct. 2013 she became the director of education at NCCJ.
“Once again, my life changed in a way I never imagined,” Miller said. “Creating safe spaces for difficult conversations, bringing people together, thinking outside the box, learning from amazing mentors, and working with passionate community leaders are opportunities I never imagined being a part of.”
In Dec. 2019, she became executive director.
She said she makes an impact in the Dayton community through the relationships she has built. Programs that have been newly implemented include the Mobile Opportunity Center and the four part Diversity 101 Series. She credits her coworkers, board members and community partners for playing a huge part in making the programs happen.
“I am always encouraging people to get out of their comfort zones, to intentionally expose themselves to people who look differently, pray differently, think differently and eat differently than them,” Miller said. “By doing this we are better able to understand each other and realize that we have more in common than we may realize.”
Miller said she is inspired by the youth of the community that have the passion, knowledge and determination to make our community a better place for all, as well as Mary E. Tyler, the previous executive director at NCCJ.
Being named a Dangerous Dame is an honor Miller said she feels like she doesn’t deserve because there is still so much more work to be done.
“Every day I have the privilege of working for an organization that I believe in, providing programs that I am proud of and connecting with people who are making a difference in our community, but none of this I do alone,” Miller said. “This honor has been bestowed upon an impressive group of women and I am thankful and humbled to be called a Dangerous Dame.”
She noted that running a nonprofit organization can be consuming and she is thankful for her family’s support.
All proceeds from the Dangerous Dames of Dayton event will help the League of Women Voters’ provide a variety of services to the community. This includes producing the Voters Guide, hosting candidate forums, publishing the Directory of Public Officials, and providing educational programming on public policy and issues that affect our day-to-day lives.
For more information about League’s efforts, visit www.lwvdayton.org or call the office at 937-228-4041.