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!
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