By Lynn Yeakel
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that nine influential women in my life – my mother and her four sisters, and my father’s four sisters – had been born into an America where they did not have the right to vote.
My mother was 11 when the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution passed in 1920, granting more than half the population the right to vote after 72 years of suffragists pushing for progress. She and all eight of my aunts went on to graduate from college and were strong, resilient women. The idea that they might not have been considered full citizens was a stunning revelation to me.
That’s one reason I take a moment each August 26 – National Women’s Equality Day – to reflect on the tenacity of the suffragists.
This year, I encourage you to join me in a unified salute to the suffragists. Here’s how you can participate:
1. Host your own Vision 2020 Toast to Tenacity™ on Saturday, August 26. Don’t worry; it’s easy! The Toast to Tenacity can be as big or small a gathering as you’d like. This event can be done over snacks and drinks with a close group of friends, among coworkers on your lunch break, or through a discussion in your community center. Download our event toolkit, which includes everything you will need to throw a successful Toast.
2. Virtually participate in the Vision 2020 Toast to Tenacity on social media. Join our #ToastToTenacity campaign in the following ways:
a. Between now and August 26, post a picture to Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter of yourself with a tenacious woman in your life, explaining in the caption why you are toasting her. Be sure to use the hashtag #ToastToTenacity.
b. On August 26, at or close to 1 p.m. EDT, post a video or picture of yourself raising your glass to the suffragists. Again, don’t forget the hashtag (#ToastToTenacity).
3. If you are in the Philadelphia area on August 26, attend our Toast to Tenacity! At Independence National Historical Park and Visitor Center, Vision 2020’s HERstory Hunt – a women’s history scavenger hunt for youth and families, sponsored by Wells Fargo – will take place from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., followed by the Toast to Tenacity from 12:30-1 p.m. Register here.
On National Women’s Equality Day, let’s remember and appreciate this historic milestone of 1920. I hope you will commit to exercising the hard-won right to vote and to completing the unfinished business of women’s equality.