Schuylkill Indivisible marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendement to the US Constitution by holding a rally on the steps of the Courthouse in Pottsville on Saturday.
The 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote in the U.S., was ratified on August 18, 1920.
And nearly 100 years later, a group of nearly 30 people – mostly women – gathered to celebrate the historic moment and also call for awareness to what they believe is an ongoing threat to that right.
Schuylkill Indivisible Holds Suffragette Rally on Courthouse Steps in Pottsville
Members of the group and others gathered and wore black face masks with VOTE printed on the front and sashes that read “Votes for Women”. The masks were provided by Anne Perryman, of New York, who’s currently living outside Summit Station.
Outside of the photo opp, Schuylkill Indivisible co-chair Lisa Von Ahn, grabbed a bullhorn and addressed the crowd, stressing the importance of the suffragette movement.
“We’ve made great strides since the 19th Amendment was passed, but with each step forward, we seem to get push back,” she said. “We must keep fighting for the rights we have and the progress we still haven’t made. But equally important, we must be mindful of the widespread efforts to suppress the vote in this crucial election year.”
Von Ahn added, “It’s in times like these that we must remember the suffragists who wrested the right to vote from all-male state legislatures and Congress. So let’s do more than vent on social media; let’s tell our elected officials what we think of their attacks on women’s rights and their voter suppression tactics.”
Claire Kempes, a member of Schuylkill Indivisible, also addressed the rally.
“It is equally important to learn about and honor the courage and leadership of the women who came before us. We celebrate them today,” Kempes said. “One hundred years ago, women weren’t given the right to vote. They saw something that was wrong and unjust and they worked hard to change it. These women set a great examples for all of us. We need to safeguard the right to vote and work hard to end injustices that we see today.”
Saturday’s event was organized, in part, by Anne Perryman. She stressed, in an interview prior to the gathering, that the group’s mission or at least her mission is not to impart partisanship, but to stress the importance of voting.
“Voting is not just a right. It’s a responsibility,” she said. “Way too many Americans, especially young people, do not vote.”
Again, she noted that reminding people of the importance of voting isn’t partisan.
“People want to vote for Donald Trump? Go ahead,” Perryman said. “It’s not up to me tell people who to vote for. Find those candidates and hold their feet to the fire. I just want to see people vote.”
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