“Equal Means Equal” film upcoming, plus lots of suffrage centennial news notes

"Equal means Equal" film“Equal Means Equal” is a documentary film about the status of women in America that will put suffrage centennial celebrations into perspective. It’s expected to be released in 2016. We’ll be featuring efforts to push for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by 2020, the nation’s suffrage centennial celebration of 100 years of American women voting.

Welcome this weekend to delegates attending the AAUW state summer convention on July 24-26, 2015 at Cazenovia College.  The AAUW state organization in New York is a long-time friend of women’s suffrage centennial events and celebrations. A big thank you to the NYC Department of Records & Information Services for mentioning SuffrageCentennials.com on Facebook and Instagram. The city records department has committed to planning five years of programs featuring women’s history topics and special events associated with the upcoming 2017 New York suffrage centennial. Check our Twitter feed for ongoing announcements. To sign up for news about the 2016 suffrage centennial observance honoring America’s suffrage martyr Inez Milholland, check out this link. We’re featuring women’s history and suffrage events from a variety of organizations as a regular feature on our Twitter feed.

Celebrate the 95th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on August 26, 2015, Women’s Equality Day, by downloading a file with pertinent information from the National Women’s History Project.

IN OTHER NEWS: Women’s Equality Party formed in UK to bring women’s issues out into the public. Save the Sewall-Belmont House says the National Park Service. There’s a list of possibilities as to how this important historic site can be operated in order to keep its doors open. Women’s history artifacts in the collection of the New York State Museum publicized. Story of the July 4th co-conspirators in 1876. If you missed Convention Days in Seneca Falls, NY this summer, set aside some time for a pilgrimage to the Finger lakes region of NYS this coming fall. Another “save the date” reminder for the October 1 conference promoting cultural heritage tourism and suffrage through the NYS Cultural Heritage Tourism Network. A recent press release from NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York is the most visited state by overseas travelers for 14th year in a row. Will New York be ready for its 2017 suffrage centennial? Funding sought for recently-passed New York suffrage centennial commission, but the observance is approaching quickly. Stay tuned!

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The 95th anniversary of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 2015. . . plus news notes

This coming August 26th, Women’s Equality Day, is the 95th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that extended the right to vote to American women. There are many media references to 2020, the nation’s suffrage centennial or the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. And five years to go might seem like a long time, but the time is passing quickly. The Women on Money campaign this year set 2020, the national suffrage centennial, as its goal for the U.S Treasury to place a woman’s image on national currency. And advocates for the revival of the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) are also looking toward 2020 for the completion of the ERA’s ratification. There’s still plenty of time to plan something special for August 26th. Check out the audio recording to find out about the designation by the U.S. Congress in 1971 to create Women’s Equality Day on August 26th.

OTHER NEWS NOTES: New York State residents are urged to contact their state representatives in the NYS Assembly and Senate to fund the New York women’s suffrage centennial commission that will be planning events and celebrations in 2017. The New York Council for the Humanities has made available a web site link that makes this easy for the state’s citizens. New York State women won the right to vote in November 1917. The year 2015 is the centennial observance of the 1915 NYS suffrage referendum that may have lost, but an infrastructure was created that led to the 1917 victory. For more information. October 1, 2015 is the date for a conference sponsored by the NYS Cultural Heritage Tourism Network at the Holiday Inn Waterloo/Seneca Falls, 9-4 p.m., to address issues including: Working with “I Love NY” to promote 2017 events, the connection of Native-Americans, African Americans, and religious groups to the women’s rights movement, and how to attract visitors to the state during 2017. For more information.

Suffrage CentennialsimagesFollow SuffrageCentennials.com on Facebook page, Twitter, email subscription, and the Quarterly Newsletter. Sign up for email on this web page. Stay up to date with postings, audio podcasts, and videos. Plan for your suffrage centennial event. And don’t forget to pass on women’s suffrage storytelling to the next generation. Suffrage Centennial videos on Vimeo.

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Buckle your seat belt for suffrage centennial celebrations that could knock your socks off!

Suffrage centennials are taking the nation by storm! on Vimeo.

New York State is positioning itself to be a frontrunner in cultural heritage tourism that could demonstrate to the nation the type of sustainable economic development that’s possible on the ground. Current shifts toward favorable public opinion about the history of women’s voting rights and upcoming suffrage centennial celebrations suggest that such observances can be meaningful as well as economically advantageous for local communities, regions, states and the nation.

In recent years, the following states celebrated their centennials of women winning the vote prior to 1920: Wyoming (1890), Colorado (1893), Utah (1896), Idaho (1896), Washington (1910), California (1911), Arizona (1912), Kansas and Oregon (1912). Montana and Nevada observed one hundred years of women voting in 2014 with special events, projects and activities. New York’s centennial celebration is scheduled for 2017, with Michigan, Oklahoma and South Dakota to follow. And there’s the upcoming national suffrage centennial in 2020.

SUFFRAGE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS HAVE THE POTENTIAL OF GOING VIRAL

Opportunities for New York State are in the early stages and they follow the best practices of states that have already held suffrage centennial observances. The pieces are in place to develop cultural tourism networks and infrastructures. There’s a state suffrage centennial commission recently passed in the NYS Legislature, the involvement of state agencies, the result of long and dedicated work by citizens and organizations working together.  New York City and upstate communities are involved. Passionate grassroots advocates have taken leadership roles. Funding is available. And the internet is exploding nationwide and around the world with stories of amazing women, today and in the past. A major motion picture, “Suffragette,” will direct public attention to voting rights struggles. It’s a matter of bringing all of this together that will make the difference between blowing an opportunity and the potential of suffrage centennial celebrations going viral.

We can’t take anything for granted in a controversial climate that has marginalized women’s history over the past century. We could miss opportunities and assume that someone’s in charge, when in fact, a grassroots collaborative initiative is underway that could be taking on more than it can handle. The good news includes the efforts of visionaries who have set 2020 as the goal of achieving equality for women in the United States. There are stirrings in the U.S. Congress to revive the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) by 2020. A woman on U.S. currency is now a possibility. Special projects are downright exciting, including the building of a statue of women in NYC’s Central Park, a nationwide women’s trails initiative, upcoming conferences, literary initiatives, a proposed suffragist national memorial outside of Washington, DC, and a core of dedicated activists who view sustainable economic development of cultural heritage tourism as key to the process.

COMPARED TO THE 2017 WORLD WAR I CENTENNIAL OBSERVANCE, WOMEN’S CELEBRATIONS COULD TURN OUT TO BE A FLASH IN THE PAN

Compared to the big bucks being invested in the national centennial observance of World War I in 2017, the story of women and our accomplishments could turn out to be little more than a flash in the pan. Getting our story out to the nation takes dedicated and persistent work. Local communities must set priorities about how to honor this extraordinary opportunity. There’s a cultural struggle underway in light of the 2016 presidential elections and a great deal of past neglect of women’s history to overcome. A great deal of our history has been buried or marginalized. We can blow these openings and opportunities. And we can built infrastructures and constituencies that will last longer than any planned centennial celebrations.

WE NEED ALL HANDS ON DECK!

Are you on board? The move to celebrate suffrage events and centennial celebrations is about insisting on taking our place in the sun, assuming leadership, and spreading the word about how we stand on strong shoulders with not only women’s issues but our shared national activist history. Marriage equality was once thought impossible. One commentator recently called the activist who took down the Confederate flag in South Carolina as someone who had committed “patriotic civil disobedience.” Women’s suffrage history has a strong tradition of patriotic protest. We can connect the past and present and future by supporting efforts to build sustainable lifestyles and practices necessary for life in the 21st century and beyond. We’re moving mountains, but we can’t take anything for granted yet. Let’s make the most of every door that opens to us. We can sail through the challenging times ahead if we pull together. We’re on our way. Onward!

Suffrage CentennialsimagesFollow SuffrageCentennials.com on Facebook page, Twitter, email subscription, and the Quarterly Newsletter. Sign up for email on this web page. Stay up to date with postings, audio podcasts, and videos. Plan for your suffrage centennial event. And don’t forget to pass on women’s suffrage storytelling to the next generation. Suffrage Centennial videos on Vimeo.

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New York State could blow its 2017 suffrage centennial celebration or it can lead the way to 2020!

Goal of 200 storytelling videos about women’s suffrage movement makes learning American history easy for young people on Vimeo.

Just because New York State has an opportunity to market its unique position as the “Cradle” of the women’s rights movement in the United States doesn’t mean it will be successful. All the pieces are in place for New York to walk into the sunset with the entire nation and the world paying attention. This requires a correct balance of circumstances and attitude. If New York State believes it can bus people in from China and Australia and have them leave excited, it’s possible. And it’s more likely that the intentions will be good but there won’t be the necessary followup and input and grassroots support to make it work. The key is in bringing the right balance of excitement and connection together, to link the past and present and redefine the “Spirit of 1776″ for a new time and place and set of conditions in this contemporary world.

WE COULD BLOW THIS OPPORTUNITY, OR ALL THE PIECES COULD COME TOGETHER!

Today the internet is exploding with stories of suffrage activists. Sometimes they’re called suffragettes. Other times they’re referred to as suffragists. In the past, some women preferred one term over the other which is why we here on SuffrageCentennials.com refer to votes for women advocates as suffrage activists. It’s important to not leave anyone out. Many different types of people were involved in shaking up the status quo during this time in history, including men and those who opposed the idea of women voting altogether.

Women vote in high numbers today. More than at any other time in history, there’s a fascination with storytelling about the votes for women movement. We even find descendants of the anti-suffragists lamenting the day women won the right to vote. It’s essential the entire story of the suffrage movement be told: the warts, the compromises, the courage, especially the parts revealing the movement’s weaknesses and prejudices.

LET’S TELL THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT…!

Women of the 20th century didn’t invent racism, classism, and sexism. They inherited it. We’re all born into this social and economic system where discrimination and prejudice is profitable, which is why women’s suffrage storytelling can bring us together as we peel back the layers. The storytelling about this remarkable social movement of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, other family members and ancestors has the potential of completing the unfinished American Revolution, hopefully in our lifetimes.

There are so many stories to tell. Women’s suffrage storytelling was featured on Suffrage Wagon Cafe on July 8, 2015. Storytelling features the women of the past reaching out through time to meet us where we are today. Transferring the messages and spirit and content into upcoming women’s suffrage events and celebrations is up to us. Let’s get together to celebrate suffrage centennial celebrations, whether in New York State in 2017 or the national observance of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 2020!

Suffrage CentennialsimagesFollow SuffrageCentennials.com on Facebook page, Twitter, email subscription, and the Quarterly Newsletter. Sign up for email on this web page. Stay up to date with postings, audio podcasts, and videos. Plan for your suffrage centennial event. And don’t forget to pass on women’s suffrage storytelling to the next generation. Suffrage Centennial videos on Vimeo.

 

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Save the Sewall-Belmont House says the National Park Service!

Torch from Library of CongressThe situation is urgent notes the report from the National Park Service (NPS) in a special 75+ page report that makes recommendations about the future of the Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, DC that’s presently owned and operated by the National Woman’s Party (NWP). The historic site is described as “one of the premier women’s history sites in the country.” The feasibility study notes how financial constraints in recent years have “… decreased the capacity of the NWP to preserve and interpret the site and its extensive museum and archival collections, creating the need to explore options for increased National Park Service assistance.”

Sewall-BelmontHouse4

But all is not lost, the report reveals, even though the NPS admits it is extremely limited in funding. “Since the economic downturn of 2008, the NWP has experienced challenges in raising necessary funds to operate and properly maintain the property. As a consequence, the site is currently only open to the public on a limited basis. The NPS is not currently authorized to provide additional financial assistance to the NWP after surpassing a legislated cap set in 1988, a loss of roughly $100,000 in annual funding.

“A recent condition assessment determined that the house itself is largely in good condition. However, without attending to deferred preservation maintenance needs in the near future, the condition of the structure is likely to deteriorate. Of particular concern is protection of the portion of the NWP collection stored in the library on the first floor of the house; the library is not climate-controlled and lacks a fire-suppression system.”

The study analyzes different management options to address the site’s financial and preservation challenges:

“Model 1, where the NPS takes on the greatest management role and staffing commitment, is projected to cost the bureau $636,000 annually. In contrast, in Model 3 the NWP continues most operations and maintenance with increased NPS financial assistance totaling $312,000 annually. Model 2 presents two variations of an option in which the NPS and the NWP jointly operate the site. This model is probably the most feasible given a balanced distribution of responsibilities between the two entities and the comparably moderate annual cost to the NPS, at $511,000 for Model 2a and $445,000 for Model 2b. These variations, particularly Model 2a, are the preference of the NWP, which sees the responsibilities required of the NWP most in line with its capacity and mission.”

The feasibility study’s report contains photographs, analysis, charts and more information than you could possibility imagine. For those of us who follow women’s history, suffrage centennials and related observances, this is an excellent opportunity to become informed about the challenges and possible solutions, especially as the national women’s suffrage centennial approaches in 2020.

Suffrage CentennialsimagesFollow SuffrageCentennials.com on Facebook page, Twitter, email subscription, and the Quarterly Newsletter. Sign up for email on this web page. Stay up to date with postings, audio podcasts, and videos. Plan for your suffrage centennial event. Suffrage centennial Vimeo channel.

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