By Nick Hedrick
The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Civic leaders, students and local politicians gathered Thursday evening at ISU for the fifth annual Women’s Equality Day March. This year, the march was a celebration of the 96th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — which granted women the right to vote.
The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind.
As she celebrated women’s suffrage, Kaishia Sloan grabbed a pen and registered to vote.
“So I can be the one person that makes a difference between the votes,” said Sloan, an Indiana State University freshman from Indianapolis.
While this fall will be the pre-dental student’s first opportunity to cast a ballot, advocates are celebrating the 96th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — which extended to women the right to vote nationwide.
Civic leaders, students and local politicians gathered Thursday evening at ISU for the fifth annual Women’s Equality Day March, organized by the League of Women Voters of Vigo County. The event was co-sponsored by several ISU offices, Girl Scouts and other organizations.
“There’s still a lot of people that do not know what the suffragists movement was about, or what the 19th Amendment is about,” said Carolyn Callecod, league president.
Callecod and other league members were dressed in 1920s-era period costume, paying homage to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and the other activists — men and women — who led the decades-long fight for women’s suffrage.
The amendment was ratified Aug. 18, 1920. Today, Aug. 26, is Women’s Equality Day in the U.S., recognizing the milestone and a 1970 nationwide demonstration for women’s rights.
Until full ratification, Indiana allowed women to vote only in presidential elections.
Tavia Hedrick, 16, knew the basics before attending the march but wanted to know more about the various groups of people still pushing for women’s equality.
“We finally got our chance to vote, and I think that’s one step to equality — we still have so far to go, in my opinion,” she said, making a sign that read, “My Voice Counts.”
Marchers gathered in a campus parking lot on Ninth Street, wearing T-shirts, buttons and lanyards promoting the cause.
There was a voter registration table and a personal hygiene product drive for Valley women’s shelters.
The Girl Scouts presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance. A moment of silence was held for the lives lost during the suffrage campaign. The 19th Amendment and joint resolution creating Women’s Equality Day was read.
The league hopes the event grows as the 100th anniversary of the amendment in 2020 draws closer, Callecod said.
Mayor Duke Bennett, who offered brief remarks before the march stepped off, said it was important to remember history.
“There are battles to be fought all the time, but this gives us a base to celebrate past achievements,” he said.
Cheryl Loudermilk stood near the front of the crowd, listening to the pre-march program. Her sign read, “How much longer… until November.”
Loudermilk said she wanted to call attention to the long struggle for women to gain access to the voting booth.
“I was thinking how much longer, how long it took us,” she said.
She pointed to the reference to Election Day, adding she sees hope for the future. Loudermilk said she was grateful to be alive to witness a woman nominated for president.
Brownie Scouts grabbed a League of Women Voters banner, and the crowd formed behind a tram full of more marchers.
The group crossed Ninth Street and headed for the center of campus, joining together in the songs the suffragists sang.
“Glory, glory, Hallelujah,” they sang. “His truth is marching on.”