We already celebrated NYS women securing the right to vote on November 6, 1917. Now is the time to plan to celebrate these dates:
- LWVNYS was founded on November 19, 1919
- LWVUS was founded on February 14, 1920
- The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution (giving American women the right to vote) was officially certified on August 26, 1920
Across the state, local leagues will celebrate, partake in discussions, and bring awareness to the women’s movement that cumulated with the right to vote. The movement continues as the League works to protect individual’s rights, register people to vote, and take positions on issues that are important to its mission.
HOW TO USE THE RESOURCE KIT
The kit is designed to assist local Leagues as they plan their activities and events for the anniversary and afterwards. Steps are laid out as examples to follow for a successful event. Each League and event is different so modify or add to the ideas in the kit. Be aware of the interests that are important to your area. Think “outside the box.” Be creative. But don’t be afraid to adapt someone else’s idea.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO REINVENT THE WHEEL!
LET’S GET STARTED
The women, who came before us, didn’t do it alone. They organized, gathered like-minded people, assigned roles, and made plans.
DECIDE ON THE EVENT
- Think local. How did the suffrage movement play out in your area?
- Was there a person who played a role in the movement or did an event take place nearby.
- Talk to your local historian.
- Do research online or at your library.
START A TIMELINE
- Timelines often need to be modified as plans go forth.
- Include: publicity, committee meetings, contacts, thank you notes.
- Find the Events Planning check list or Planning Sheet in the resources. It will be helpful keeping your program on track and ensure that nothing is missed.
Publicity is important. It brings attention to your event and awareness of the League’s work. There are many ways to get publicity: from an interview on a TV station to a flyer in a store window.
Social media may be one of the best ways to bring attention to the event.
If you haven’t already, make a Facebook page for your League. Ask members and others to “like” the page. Make a couple of members Facebook page administrators. They can post and change the look of your page.
Twitter is increasingly popular. It’s like a newsfeed where posts are 280 characters or less. The posts are called tweets and include images and links to websites. Twitter uses hashtags #. Hashtags help your message be part of larger conversations and be more visible. Use hashtags that are popular for your event, e.g. #vote.
THE EVENT AND AFTERWARDS
- Ensure that all who have a role are aware of what they have to do. Write it down and distribute to all. Give them your cell phone number to text or call you for a last minute question or problem.
- Enjoy the event. Remember that if things don’t go 100% the way it’s planned, no one will notice.
- Afterwards, meet with your committee and do a wrap up. Report to your board of directors.
- And always write thank you notes to all involved.
New York State has resources specifically under the tourism and historic preservation agencies. Included is an online map of locations where women made history, the Women’s Heritage Trail. http://www.iloveny.com/path-through-history/womens-rights
Sample League Activity
Below is an example of an activity and how the local LWV organized and carried out the event.
- A parade in your town is a visible way to bring awareness to the LWV’s anniversary. Parades celebrate events or holidays, such as Independence Day. Members marching as suffragists is fun and gets positive attention.
- The LWV of Saratoga County walked in the Memorial Day parade dressed as suffragists in honor of women veterans and to support the Guardian House. The Guardian House is a shelter that was being built for homeless female veterans.
BUILD, COLLABORATE, PARTNER
- The LWV of Saratoga County learned that the parade’s theme would be in support of the Guardian House for homeless women veterans, making for a good fit.
- The LWV of Saratoga County worked with the veterans to make the Guardian House come to fruition. The result was a request to join the parade.
DECIDE ON THE EVENT
- The image of suffragists is often in a parade, so marching in the Memorial Day parade for the Guardian House worked well.
- Members wore white tops with dark or white skirts and a hat. Sashes in purple or gold marked the colors of the suffrage movement in America.
- They carried banners and signs to complete the look.
TIMELINE FOR PARADE: (sample)
Guidelines for 1 year, 6 months, 3 months and 1 month.
- The LWV of Saratoga County sent our press releases to the papers and radio. Members were alerted through mail chimp emails, the newsletter and social media.
- Their Facebook and Twitter started posting a Save the Date as soon as plans were finalized.
- Tips: Decide on an image to include in your posts. Pick a hashtag that fits your event. Make an event on Facebook’s event page. It’ll give you a rough idea how many people are interested.
THE EVENT AND AFTERWARDS:
- A location to meet on the parade route was established. It was a hot day, so a cooler of cold water was provided. Signs distributed.
- The LWV of Saratoga County took photographs during the event and posted them on social media alerting followers to look for them during the parade.
- Afterward, an article was written for the newsletter, thank you emails to the members who marched and supported the activity and a report with recommendation was submitted to the Board of Directors.
- Tips: Waiting to march and walking in the parade can be difficult. Look out for anyone needing assistance. It’s ok to step out and enjoy the parade on the sidelines.