YWCA celebrates 100th anniversary of 19th amendment with outdoor exhibit

The YWCA is celebrating all the women who worked toward the ratification of the 19th amendment. This year marks its 100th anniversary.

Posted: Sep 19, 2020 10:08 PM
Updated: Sep 19, 2020 10:22 PM

GREATER LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) -- It's officially been 100 years since the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote in the U.S. On Saturday, the YWCA Greater Lafayette is celebrating with an outdoor educational exhibit.

"This is a traveling Smithsonian display called 'Votes for Women: Portrait of Persistence' and you'll see the portraits of women who were significant," said Angie Klink, board member of YWCA Greater Lafayette.

Significant household names like Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul are being celebrated for their leadership in helping women get the right to vote. But it's the women who haven't seen that same recognition that the YWCA wants to particularly highlight. While American women of various ethnic groups fought together to have the right to vote, when the ratification of the 19th amendment happened, not all women were included right away.

"These women that are featured were significant in the suffrage movement, it's women of color which were often not included so that whole story is told [through the exhibit]," said Klink.

"Black and Brown people very frequently get left out of history because they were often very intentionally pushed out of movements," said Vanessa Pacheco, member of the Working Hoosiers Vote Coalition. 

Working Hoosiers Vote has partnered with the YWCA to put on this event. Pacheco said she appreciates the event for highlighting information that our nation can't afford to forget.

"When we learn lies about the suffrage movement, that teaches us that we can afford to leave people behind," said Pacheco. "We can really learn from exhibits like this one because it teaches us all not to leave anybody behind."

Pacheco said had there been more inclusivity and collaboration among different ethnic groups within the women's suffrage movement, she believes women may have been granted the right to vote much sooner. 

"The women's suffrage movement lasted almost a hundred years and it might have lasted a lot less time, it might have been a much quicker fight if people were in meaningful coalition together where they trusted each other, where they believed each other, where they supported each other and that's not always what the women's suffrage movement was," said Pacheco.

This event is all about celebrating all the trailblazers who gave women a voice and platform to make political decisions in the U.S. Attendees like State Rep. Sheila Klinker of District 27 are able to serve in office because of the women's suffrage movement. 

"With the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg this is a very timely moment where we can thank her and others for doing so much to encourage women to become active," said Klinker

Klinker is reflecting on all the people who have made it possible for her.

"I felt very fortunate that I have people in this community that were not only supportive of educators but they were also supportive of women in office," said Klinker.

This traveling Smithsonian exhibit is free for organizations to use nationwide. YWCA was one of the firsts to request to bring it to Greater Lafayette.

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