LEWISBURG — With no right to vote, there is no voice in government, something women 100 years ago recognized, fought for and won. Today their achievement is a reason for our celebration.
The 100th anniversary of the founding of the League of Women Voters and the ratification of the 19th amendment will take place on Sunday from 1 to 3:30 p.m. at the Campus Theatre in Lewisburg.
“The day is designed to appeal to a diverse group of Valley residents,” said Teri MacBride, president of the League of Women Voters of the Lewisburg Area. “A talk (by Bruce Teeple) about local women’s roles in the context of the U.S. suffrage movement will interest local history buffs. Local League history involved many Union County residents who will be recognizable in the displays and screen show at the fabulous Campus Theatre venue.
“The ever-popular Kj will perform songs relevant to women, voting, and the days’ general topic. We will honor Union County women currently serving in elected office across all corners of the county. And finally, the non-alcoholic (sparkling cider) toast to tenaciousness is suitable for all ages, i.e., kid-friendly and historically appropriate, reflective of the Temperance Movement of that period which resulted in Prohibition.”
It took at least a hundred years even to get the right to vote, said Nancy Neuman, former national president of the League of Women Voters, noting that Abigail Adams tried to convince her husband, President John Adams (1797 – 1801), to let women vote.
“Since (the League) grew out of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association, our whole goal is to make sure people vote and are informed about voting, about their right to vote,” Neuman said. “It’s in our DNA.”
The event at the Campus Theatre will be a double celebration, MacBride said.
“We celebrate 100 years of women voting in federal, state and local elections as an important milestone,” she said. “It is also the 100th anniversary of our organization. I predict the League will continue to attract a tenacious and powerful membership. We’ll stay focused on getting citizens involved in our democracy by being active voters. Here in Union County and across the nation, women and men active in the League have fought hard for years and will continue on for years to come.”
While the month of March is women’s history month, and March 8th is International Women’s Day, Sunday’s event specifically focuses on voting rights. The League of Women Voters’ website features Vote411, a resource that provides nonpartisan information on election candidates.
“It doesn’t matter what party people are from,” Neuman said. “We just encourage them to get out and vote.”
“I hope for a large turnout,” MacBride said of Sunday’s event, “so years from now, girls who will be women then will say, ‘I was there for the 100th anniversary. I was there and raised a glass to the tenacious women who fought over decades to get me the right to vote.’”