Celebrating 100 Years Of Women’s Right To Vote

Legislator Cornell: ‘As We Recognize Historic Achievement, We Also Look To The Future Of The Women’s Movement’

Series of Events Scheduled To Mark Milestone

Events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote, continue to be held in Rockland County, albeit with some changes due to the pandemic.

Such is the case with the launch Thursday of a new three-part series, the Power of Persistence, which combines poems, correspondence, speeches, music, and art into video presentations that tell the far-reaching story of the fight for women’s voting rights. The content was created or inspired by Suffrage activists and women’s rights pioneers.

“It was an incredible and momentous occasion – women finally obtaining the right to vote 144 years after the Declaration of Independence,” said Rockland County Legislator Harriet Cornell. “It took generations and plenty of persistence to make it happen, and even then, sadly, deliberate hurdles like poll taxes and literacy tests prevented most women of color from voting for another 45 years. There is still plenty of work to do, including pay equity; quality, affordable childcare; equal job opportunities; and passage of an Equal Rights Amendment,” Legislator Cornell said.

Legislator Cornell is a member of the Suffrage Forward steering committee, which also includes its chair, Paulette Ross, an actress, creative marketer and the owner of p.ross boutique in Nyack; Joe Allen, an award-winning filmmaker and activist; Cristina Biaggi, a renowned artist who has created a commemorative tote bag for the organization; Lilian Morvay, an attorney and the founder and CEO of Independent Broker Dealer Consortium; and Robin Rosenberg, an attorney and the founder and president of the Garner Arts Center in Garnerville.

“One hundred years ago a pandemic almost halted the women’s movement and now, let’s fast-forward to the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote,” Paulette Ross said. “Here we are again in a pandemic, but as our foremothers have shown us a way through their strength and resiliency and yes, persistence, we’ve created a way to continue our mission, celebration and hopefully inspiration.”

Suffrage Forward is a not-for-profit organization formed through the Rockland Community Foundation. It was specifically established to mark the 100th anniversary, to empower women now and going forward, and to create awareness among all people of the strength and resiliency of girls and women the world over. Not only will women be honored, but also the men who supported and fought for women’s right to vote.

Many of the events originally planned, including a parade, have been cancelled due to the pandemic, but there are still plenty of ways to mark the occasion, including The Power of Persistence series, which will continue with Episode 2 on Aug. 6 and Episode 3 on Aug. 25. Allen is the filmmaker and Ross is the executive producer for the series. The series is free, but donations are appreciated.

Episode 1 will feature Gloria Steinem, who has been a powerful national force in the effort to propel women upward, as well as many well-known Rockland women and men who will in various ways be showcasing important figures in the struggle for the vote.

Prior to the pandemic shutdown, several in-person events were held. Lately, events have gone virtual. Please go the organization’s website to register for The Power of Persistence so you can get the link to the premiere, as well as more information about Suffrage Forward and upcoming events:  https://www.suffrageforward.org/upcoming-events.