Women with power recognize and commemorate 100th anniversary of 19th Amendment

Collaborator: Brittany Harlow
Published: 08/18/2020, 7:21 PM
Edited: 03/11/2021, 10:22 AM
(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) Oklahoma women stood united on Tuesday to honor the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which allowed women the right to vote. Females on both sides of the aisle took time to honor the day’s significance. “This is a special day,” House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, said. “Many American women fought hard to get their government to acknowledge their right to participate in our Democracy. We cannot recognize this day, however, without also recognizing that not all women gained the right to vote with the 19th Amendment. “That right would remain elusive for Black women until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Still, the 19th Amendment is a reason for Americans to celebrate. Over the last century, more Americans have gained the right to vote, and when more Americans can vote, our government better reflects the needs of its citizens.” But it wasn't all about celebration. Virgin said also “across the state and country, elected female leaders have been insulted, attacked, and threatened in ways their male counterparts simply don’t experience in the course of their jobs. This is behavior that must change.” Meanwhile, the women of the Oklahoma House Republican Caucus released a joint statement: “August 18, 1920, was the culmination of a decades-long campaign to overturn the unjust and undemocratic system that purposefully excluded women from voting since our nation’s founding. This year, we celebrate the centennial of this historic moment and reflect on the achievements of the trail-blazing suffragists who fought earnestly to secure the right to vote for American women. While women in Oklahoma and many other states had already obtained the right to vote by 1920, the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment represents the single largest expansion of democracy the world had seen. This major step toward democracy was achieved only by the tireless work of thousands of women and volunteers. From holding suffrage meetings in their hometowns to crossing the country rallying support for the cause, they each made tremendous personal sacrifices to further the movement of women’s suffrage. They faced rejection and ridicule to advocate for freedom, liberty and a more democratic society. The tenacious, bold spirit of the suffragettes is the very embodiment of the values we all hold dear. As a result of their efforts, they not only won the right to vote for generations of American women, but they shaped the very future of our country. We recognize that we are here today, serving our constituents in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, thanks to the work done by our ancestors in pursuit of a more representative government and the opportunity to have their voices heard.” The above statement was signed by all 12 women in the Oklahoma House Republican Caucus. In alphabetical order, the members issuing the statement include: Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa Rep. Sherrie Conley, R-Newcastle Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, R-Yukon Rep. Sheila Dills, R-Tulsa Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond Rep. Jadine Nollan, R-Sand Springs Rep. Cynthia Roe, R-Lindsay Rep. Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany Rep. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore House Republican Caucus Chair Rep. Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City The caucus also provided the following facts about women voting: The Oklahoma Constitutional Convention of 1906 granted women the right to vote only in school elections. In 1917, the 6th Oklahoma Legislature passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 5 to authorize a referendum on women’s suffrage. On Nov. 5, 1918, Oklahoma became the 21st state to give women the right to vote after voters approved the constitutional amendment with a vote of 106,909 to 81,481. Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment in June 1919. On Feb. 28, 1920, Oklahoma’s 7th Legislature adopted House Joint Resolution 1 in a special session, making the state 33rd to ratify the amendment. The Nineteenth Amendment received its 36th ratification from Tennessee on Aug. 18, 1920, ensuring that the right to vote could not be denied based on sex. Also on Tuesday, the Status of Women Commission held a press conference to commemorate the anniversary. “Women’s suffrage or the right to vote was codified with 39 words written into our Constitution,” Status of Women Commissioner and Chairman Gloria Torres said. “It took activists and reformers 100 years to win this right.” “As the first Asian American woman elected to the Legislature, I reflect often that it was only 68 years ago that Asian American women were granted the right to vote,” State Rep. Cyndi Munson, D-OKC said. “Today, as we celebrate, we must remember that Black, Native, Latinx and Asian women were not granted the right to vote until years later. We must also never forget the women who came before us to ensure we are able to fully participate in our Democracy for a better state and nation.”


This story has no comments yet