Celebrating Votes for Women

Last week I attended the reception for the Votes for Women Oregon exhibit opening in the Collins Gallery of the Central Library.  The event was insiring to say the least.This year marks the 100th anniversary for Oregon Women gaining the right to vote.  The exhibit itself was very impressive.  It contained documents and books form Oregon suffrage history, as well as accounts of various cultural struggles within the movement, particularly those of Asian American, African American, Latina, Chicana, and Native American women who were frequently excluded from the mainstream Women’s Movement.

Photos from Century of Action
1. Two former Secretaries of State, Gov. Barbara Roberts and Hon. Norma Paulus sashed current Secretary of State Kate Brown.
2. The Hon. Avel Gordly expressed her appreciation for all the women who paved the way for her generation of activists and elected officials.
3. Suffragists surround Secretary of State Kate Brown to hear the story of Charlie Parkhurst, the first woman to vote in Oregon.

As someone who often subscribes to radical politics, I often feel like my vote doesn’t really matter in the current political machine.  But then I hear about Republican efforts to take the vote away from black voters and all of the struggles that various groups have gone through to gain the right to vote and it seems that despite my apathy toward certain political systems, perhaps it’s my duty to vote, if only to honor those who fought for this right.

This event also highlighted the importance of being knowledgable and engaged in local politics where, honestly, your vote actually counts more because it has a more immediate impact on the lives of our communities.  I may be one of the worst offenders. While I dutifully turn in my ballot for national elections, I often balk at the packet that comes in the mail for local elections, thinking,  “I have no idea who these people are or who to believe!” Hopefully this means I’ll turn over a new leaf and become more engaged in the local political community.  Who knows, with all the work these amazing groups are doing, maybe change is coming?

And on that note, who wants to be a suffragette with me for Halloween?


Thank you to Century of Action, Vision2020, and The Center for Women in Politics & Policy.


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