It probably hasn’t escaped your notice, but this year marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which added women’s suffrage to the Constitution of the United States.
The expansion of voting rights is always something to celebrate — too often in recent years we’ve seen attempts to prevent citizens from voting. However, Idaho has a fine tradition of women’s involvement in voting and politics that extends back before 1920.
Idaho was the fourth state to grant women suffrage, in 1896. Indeed, during Idaho’s own constitutional convention, in 1889, the question of whether women should vote was a big part of the discussions. Unfortunately, Idaho entered the Union in 1890 without women having the right to vote, but that was rectified six years later.
And, of course, we regularly recognize the contributions of some of the town mothers of Idaho Falls, like Kate Curley and Rebecca Mitchell, who were very involved in creating some of our finest institutions and traditions.
Their involvement provides us with a template today. As we look around, it’s clear that our community and our state need us, as citizens, to be involved. No matter our gender identity, we have important things to say and do. It’s a right of ours to be engaged and to be involved in what goes forward in the community.
The organizers of this year’s Idaho Falls women’s march have created a series of events designed to inspire us to learn more about our history and to get involved in our present. In addition to a march (starting at 11 am on Saturday, January 25, at the Museum of Idaho) focused on the importance of suffrage, there will also be the following activities:
- 6:30 pm, Friday, January 24, at New Day Lutheran (sharing space with St. Luke’s Episcopal) on Placer, there will be a presentation on 100 years of the 19th Amendment.
- 10 am – 1 pm, Saturday, January 25, at the Idaho Falls Public Library, there will tables set up from local community organizations, providing volunteer opportunities.
1:30 pm, Saturday, January 25, at the library, a panel of local women will talk about how their professions have evolved in the last 100 years and speak to what changes still need to be made.
If you’re interested in seeing what services are available in the community, as well as seeing what opportunities there are for involvement in the community, this is a great opportunity. Plus, there’s plenty of time to enjoy Winter Brew downtown and still attend the panel at 1:30.
As citizens, we have a lot to offer. It’s up to us to be engaged and push for positive change. We have a long history in Idaho of being outspoken, involved citizens of various gender identities. But it’s up to us to ensure that the tradition continues.
Image Copyright @1910 Cargill Company [Original pre-1923 postcard]