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Drexel’s Vision 2020 and U.S. Sen. Casey Lead Efforts to Designate Philadelphia as the Site of the 19th Amendment Centennial

March 30, 2016

Lynn Yeakel
Lynn H. Yeakel, director of the College of Medicine's Institute for Women's Health and Leadership and founder of Vision 2020, speaks at the Constitution Center on Wednesday. 

U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr., D-Pa., announced the introduction of a U.S. Senate resolution designating Philadelphia as the site of the “national centennial celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment” at the National Constitution Center Wednesday.

Calling also for Drexel University’s Vision 2020 organization to “orchestrate, lead and coordinate” this nationwide commemoration in the year 2020, the resolution pointed to the city’s historic identification with leaders who fought to bring about equality for women.

"This resolution not only celebrates the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment but it also celebrates women's role and voice in our history and the shaping of our democratic values," Casey said.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey

Vision 2020 — a project of the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership in Drexel’s College of Medicine — is a coalition of individuals and organizations throughout all 50 states, united in pursuit of shared leadership among women and men, economic security for women, youth education and civic engagement. In Philadelphia during the year 2020, the organization plans to convene the largest gathering of women leaders in U.S. history.

“The Senate resolution is a welcome recognition of the turning-point importance of the 19th Amendment,” said Lynn Yeakel, Vision 2020’s founder and president. “Achieving the right to vote a century ago inspired the ongoing effort to correct inequities in other areas of life. Our celebration in 2020 will reflect our progress all across the nation.”

In the city of Brotherly Love, it was the women who played an invaluable role in changing the course of history. Activists like Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul and Fanny Jackson Coppin were vocal, trailblazing figures in the women’s suffrage movement.

It is only appropriate then, that Philadelphia should serve as the backdrop for the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. The year-long centennial commemoration will concentrate on three specific periods of the calendar, according to Dianne Semingson, who is chairing the planning effort.

“What we’re doing in 2020, is honoring the past, enriching the present and shaping the future,” Semingson said. “There will be major activities related to history in March, a celebration of achievement in August and a call for record breaking voter turnout in November. We expect women and girls from all over America to participate in what should be a series of unforgettable experiences.”

“This commemoration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment will underscore the core values of liberty and equality exemplified by the one document that unites all citizens, the United States Constitution,” said Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center.