Vote” is available here: https://
Also included was a panel
discussion of elected officials
led by Arizona Republic reporter Megan Finnerty. Through
humor and pointed questions,
she urged the women to
explore why they entered elective politics—and why others
Panelists were state Representative Kate Brophy McGee,
Pastor subsequently ran again, and prevailed.
Two elements—aural and visual—pro-
vided powerful capstones to the evening.
One came when poet Divine Valentin tapped
into a deeper well. Her spoken-word piece
transported listeners beyond elections and
campaigns, back to the struggles of women
like Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells, and
Elizabeth Cady Stanton. As Valentin related:
She’s quiet / until her feathers are
ruffled. … She’s a soldier by default /
Her training took place in the womb
/ In the making of her being. … Her
MAKE UP has no room for fear. /
She’s selfless in a world that tries to
suffocate her / Make her THINK
she doesn’t Matter … / She’s a game
changer / HER rules apply /she’s a
HOW woman / not WHY / So when
she is called to represent / She goes
the distance /Breaks molds and glass
ceilings /And thinks everything of it.
You can read more of the poem, and learn
more about the poet, at www.divineforlife.
The second part of the evening’s visual
punch arrived when emcee Kim Covington
invited to the stage every women who had
been elected to any office or who was currently running. The stage rapidly filled with
women representing every level of government—a fitting suffragist legacy.
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CHANGE OF VENUE
“If you think someone is great and should run for
elected office, tell her!”
Those words, spoken by Phoenix Vice Mayor Kate Gallego, could
have been the rallying cry at an August 26 event honoring women’s right
to vote, established nationwide on this month in 1920.
Given the anniversary’s topic, the gender of Gallego’s pronoun was
well selected. And as the evening progressed, speakers encouraged women’s voices as voters—and as elected officials.
The annual event has grown year over year, and organizers say more
than 600 attendees this year packed into the Central High School auditorium in Phoenix. They were there to honor the efforts of early suffragists whose sacrifices resulted in passage of the 19th Amendment.
U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema deliv-
ered the keynote speech, and she
spoke about the positive effects that
flow from engagement with the po-
litical process. The goal is simple, she
said: “That every child gets his or
her shot at the American dream.”
Encouraging women to run for
office, Sinema pointed out that when
media sources report there are a
“record number of women in Con-
gress,” that’s still only about one out
of five members.
“That’s not enough. Women bring a different perspective to the work
we do in elected office.”
She continued, “We roll up our sleeves—if we’re wearing them—and
do whatever it takes to get things done. We’ve come a long way in 96
years, but there’s still so much to be done.”
Organizer Anne Guerrant and Pat Gillum then offered a sobering
view of the obstacles and violence suffragists faced in advancing electoral
justice. They also described legal and political milestones on that path,
including the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments and New York
State’s Married Women’s Property Act, which in 1845 became a model
for the nation.
The audience then watched in silence as a video illustrated the brutal
response to the suffragists’ peaceful protests. (“Suffragists: The Fight to
Ariz. Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, right, speaks at August 26 event.
BY TIM EIGO 19th Amendment Event Takes Modern Turn
Suffragists protest Woodrow Wilson’s opposition, 1916