100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment
The year 2020 marks the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting the women’s right to vote. This historical centennial offers an opportunity to commemorate a milestone and to explore its relevance to the issues of equal rights today.
Suffragists began their organized fight for women’s suffrage in 1848 during the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. For the next 72 years, women leaders lobbied, marched, picketed,and protested for the right to the ballot.
During NJSFWC President Ida W. Dawson’s Administration (1906-1908), clubs were studying such topics as American citizenship and Women’s Suffrage. The U.S. House of Representatives finally approved the “Susan B. Anthony Amendment,” which guaranteed women the right to vote, on May 21, 1919; the U.S. Senate followed two weeks later, and then the 19th Amendment went to the states for ratification. Thirty-six states needed to approve the Amendment for it to become part of the Constitution. On February 9, 1920, New Jersey ratified the amendment and finally on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th and final state needed to ratify. A proclamation declaring the 19th Amendment ratified and part of the U.S. Constitution came on August 26, 1920, forever protecting American women’s right to vote. Today, more than 68 million women vote in elections because of the courageous suffragists who never gave up the fight for equality.
NJSFWC is asking all club members to consider a project commemorating this event with a draft of the following Resolution. GFWC is offering a $100 award to the club who has the best celebration of the 100th Anniversary. Entry forms to come at a later date. Your club can recognize the day with a special project. Here are some ideas that can be done with limited social distancing:
- Light your community buildings, such as town and city halls, libraries, schools, community centers in gold on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment becoming law (August 26, 2020).
- Plant yellow roses and share on Social Media in your home, school, or community gardens and share photos on social media using the hashtags #WomensVote100, #SuffrageSisters, and #SuffraGents.
- Ask your community to display yellow or gold lights or lanterns on the outside of their homes on August 26, 2020.
- Encourage members and the community to wear yellow roses in the month of August.Your club can make or buy them and distribute them.
The following resolution may be submitted to your local elected representatives.
WHEREAS, The 19th Amendment recognized the significance of woman’s suffrage, which when ratified in 1920, affirmed the citizenship of more than 26 million women and granted them a mechanism to empower themselves, their families, and their communities; and
WHEREAS, The 19th Amendment was ratified on August 26,1920, and
WHEREAS, The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment and offers an unparalleled opportunity to commemorate a milestone of democracy; therefore
RESOLVED, That (name of municipality or government body) is proud to recognize that the ratification of the 19th Amendment marked the end of a three-generation struggle to win the right to vote, for women; and
RESOLVED, That (name of municipality or government body) supports (name of club)’s (celebration event details) to mark the 100th Anniversary of women winning the right to vote;
Sample of last RESOLVED that would include a project your club will do:
RESOLVED, That Anytown Board of Commissioners supports GFWC Anytown’s 19th Amendment Centennial Festival to be held on the courthouse parking lot, August 16, 2020 from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm to mark the 100th Anniversary of women winning the right to vote.
Here are two other projects that you can do with your club members or in your community throughout the year:
- Work with your local newspapers or schools to sponsor an essay contest for students on topics related to NJ or local suffrage history, such as highlighting suffragists from your area or your state’s or community’s role in the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
- Start a Suffrage Book Club in your club that reads and discusses books about the women’s suffrage movement. This could be an excellent ESO project as well. Send photos of your book club group and share what you learn to this chairman.
Please remember to share with this chairman your projects, including photos.
Chris Sienkielewski, Chairman
2020-2022 NJSFWC Legislation Chairman
NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE DESIGNATION ACT
This resolution was passed at the 2020 NJSFWC Convention. The bill requires the Federal Communications Commission to designate 9-8-8 as the universal telephone number for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs must jointly report on how to make the use of 9-8-8 operational and effective across the country, and HHS must develop a strategy to provide access to competent, specialized services for high-risk populations such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth; minorities; and rural individuals.
On May 13, 2020, the Senate Bill S2661 was passed by a Senate vote with an amendment that now designated the bill as S2412 and was then sent to the House on May 14. The bill is currently being held at the House desk. The companion House Bill HR 4194 is now in committee and has no NJ House members co-signing the bill. It is now a great time for us to contact our House members and ask that they co-sponsor this bill.
Here are some points you can outline in your letter:
- Suicide rates have increased by more than 30% in the past two decades in half of the U.S. states. Suicide rates are higher with at-risk populations including veterans and the LGBTQ community.
- More than 20 veterans die by suicide every day and more than half a million LGBTQ youth will attempt suicide this year (according to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai). A shorter, simpler suicide number would, although may be more expensive at first, it would save money in the long run as most people will call 911, which will bring first-responders, who may not be equipped to handle suicide attempts.
- Last year, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which currently uses a 10-digit number, and where calls are routed to 163 crisis centers across the United States, answered 2.2 million calls in 2019.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, have stated that people making calls because of suicidal thoughts can often be helped just by talking them through it with a trained counselor.
In your letter, please make sure you designate yourself as a club member of the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs and that our members have designated this issue as extremely important through a state wide vote involving approximately 6,700 women.
As a benefit to belonging to a federated club the GFWC is planning on 6 informational webinars for later this summer.
The topics include:
Communications and Public Relations; Membership; Signature Programs Domestic and Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention; Legislation and Public Policy; Leadership; and Junior’s Special Program: Advocates for Children.
We will let you know when dates and access information become available through the eConnection, NJSFWC website and emails to Club Presidents.
This is a great opportunity to attend a GFWC event without leaving your home
Thanks to Claire Hill, NJSFWC Health and Wellness Chairman, for the new U.S. flag donated by Christopher Macaluso owner of PanaLuna Design in Oradell. It was flying at Headquarters in time for the 4th of July.