What do wine, cheese, and women’s equality have in common? A) Aug. 26, B) democracy, C) the League of Women Voters, or D) all of the above.
If you answered D, way to win. Montgomery County’s League of Women Voters plans to celebrate Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26 with a wine-and-cheese, meet-and-greet at the Crawfordsville Airport from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The evening is a chance to chat with members about what the League does in 2022 here in Montgomery County.
Historically, the League of Women Voters, which emerged after the suffrage movement succeeded in 1919, is committed to the ongoing work of educating and engaging fellow citizens in protecting the right to vote.
Women’s Equality Day is a special day for members. While the 19th Amendment was ratified on June 4, it wasn’t until Aug. 26, 1920, that the words “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged ... on account of sex” were certified as a constitutional right. Fifty-three years later, Women’s Equality Day was recognized in a joint congressional resolution.
The Wine, Cheese and Women’s Equality event is the fourth under the leadership of Helen Hudson, who has served as president and co-president since 2019. As the centennial of the ratification approached in 2019, members of the League cajoled Hudson into taking on the role.
Since Hudson began overseeing Indiana’s second largest League, she’s stamped the League’s work with her energy and passion. She brings together citizens in the bi-partisan work that distinguishes the League.
In addition to annual member roles such as participating in the observer corps — members attend government board meetings both learning how they work and reporting observations to fellow members — she has invited members to join study committees such as education, health, climate, economic health and housing that align with their concerns.
Furthermore, Hudson has made Women’s Equality Day and Centennial celebrations extraordinary.
During her first year of leadership, the League spearheaded a spectacular celebration of the centennial of women’s right to vote with choral singing of suffragists’ songs, a gathering of 300 hundred celebrants at the library, and a short march with women in white. Members recreated the banners, costumes and sounds of 1919. Mayor Todd Barton and State Representative Sharon Negele spoke. Women from local industries represented Pace Dairy, Home Depot and other industries.
In her second year, Hudson recruited a committee and teamed up with the Crawfordsville District Public Library to create The Legend of the Legendary League. It started as a slide show about suffragists from our county, women of color who advocated for the right to vote, and the history of the women’s vote in the country. Every other month Nick Hedrick, Shelbi Hoover, Stephanie Cain and the team presented the slide show at the library. On alternating months the League and library partnered for the Well-Read Citizens Book Club.
The Legend program can still be found on YouTube with a search for the Legend of the Legendary League here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO8xS95FFP0.
Even though the pandemic shuttered many events in 2020, the League continued to celebrate local women who worked for equality. League member Shannon Hudson penned the biography of Dr. Mary Holloway Wilhite. Last Aug. 26 the League finally dedicated the national marker that honors Dr. Mary Holloway Wilhite and stands adjacent to Wabash College’s entrance on the corner of Wabash and Grant.
The pandemic put many of the League’s annual tasks on hold and now it’s ready to engage citizens with their local government again. The League is excited to host this in-person mixer and invite local residents to explore becoming part of the League, participating in the observer corps and encouraging everyone to cast their vote.
The League of Women Voters, a non-partisan, multi-issue organization encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase public understanding of major policy issues and influences public policy through education and advocacy. All men and women are invited to join the LWV where hands-on work to safeguard democracy leads to civic improvement. For information, visit the website www.lwvmontcoin.org or the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County, IN Facebook page.
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