SI2 Reflects on 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote

By Caitlin Burns | August 18, 2020
Female student in front of computer registering for a mail-in ballot
Arcadia Votes member Madelyn Goral ’22 registers for a mail-in ballot at her home in Wisconsin.

After decades of fighting for women’s suffrage, the 19th Amendment was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920, granting women the right to vote. A committee of social justice-minded citizens, which included Helen Keller and Jane Addams, founded the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to protect freedom of speech and to decrease racism and discrimination.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the three-fourths majority approval when Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify the amendment. However, Director of the Office of Social Impact and Innovation (SI2) Dr. Alison LaLond Wyant reminds the community that Black women had to fight for decades after the ratification of the amendment in order to exercise their right to vote.

“We must not take our rights for granted,” said Dr. LaLond Wyant. “Even today, the pandemic jeopardizes this key mechanism of our democracy. Arcadia Votes is in the fight to safeguard voting rights and make sure everyone at Arcadia knows how to vote safely.”

Arcadia Votes is an initiative by SI2 to encourage voter registration, education, and turnout in the University community, no matter where individuals are learning remotely across the country. The non-partisan group is dedicated to democratic engagement.

Anyone interested in learning more about Arcadia Votes and registering to vote in their state can fill out this form.

Arcadia is committed to upholding the right to vote, and is a participant in the All in Democracy Challenge. President Ajay Nair was one of the first presidents to sign onto the challenge after Arcadia Votes presented the initiative to him.

“Not only is voting a cornerstone of our democracy and a civic duty, my ballot says that I believe in something and that I hold on to hope for our future,” said Dr. LaLond Wyant. “Our votes give us a glimpse of our power to shape that future.”