NJPAC salutes pioneers of protest who won women the right to vote

NEWARK, NJ — Women were not given the right to vote. They fought for it.

The struggle for women’s enfranchisement, finally achieved in August 1920, took the work of three generations. During the last 10 years of this fight, women’s rights advocates pioneered such modern strategies of resistance as parades, protests and picketing to bring about the largest expansion of voting rights in American history — when women finally won the right to vote, 100 years ago this summer.

A century after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, [email protected] and Newark Council President Mildred Crump will bring together some of New Jersey’s groundbreaking women leaders to celebrate this legacy, which started the journey toward full voting rights for every American, at “Pioneers of Protest: Celebrating 100 Years of Women Voting,” an interactive virtual town hall discussion on Monday, Aug. 17, at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Participants can register for this free event at https://www.njpac.org/conversation-registration/.

Former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way, and U.S. Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman and Mikie Sherrill, who represent the 12th and 11th Congressional districts respectively, will lead a discussion about the impact of women’s enfranchisement and address the influence that both race and socioeconomic status had on the fight for the vote. Law professor Sahar Aziz, the founding director of the interdisciplinary Rutgers Center for Security, Race and Rights, will moderate the discussion. Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Crump will introduce the panel.

[email protected] is focused on celebrating the power of women, and the transformational role we play in our communities. We’re thrilled to host this truly unique event to mark a milestone in our country’s history — especially in an election year,” [email protected] Managing Director Sarah Rosen said. “And at a moment when we’re all discovering anew the incredible power of protest, we wanted, in particular, to note that so many of the ways we practice political resistance today were first practiced by women insisting on their right to vote. The Mothers of the Movement, the Wall of Moms in Portland — they’re walking in the footsteps of their great-grandmothers who won us all access to the ballot box.”

Speakers will also discuss how vital it is that all citizens vote in November’s election — and young women who have just reached voting age will be encouraged to talk about what it means to them to cast their first ballots a century after that right was won.

“Holding this event now, just as this year’s election season enters its final months, is so important,” said Nina Wells, former New Jersey secretary of state and a longtime NJPAC and [email protected] trustee who helped organize the gathering. “This conversation is a vital part of our collective effort to ensure that all of our citizens participate in this hard-fought, critically important right this year.”

[email protected] encourages women voters to submit a video using spoken word, poetry

or a reflection of their choice — one minute or less — about what voting means to them, with

the hashtag #NJWomenVote100. Post the video on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook! Responses received before this event may be incorporated into the discussion on Aug. 17.