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March honors 100 years since ratifying the 19th Amendment, speakers discuss work still to be done

People in Wausau say there's still work to be done in telling the full story of women's right...
People in Wausau say there's still work to be done in telling the full story of women's right to vote.(WSAW)
Published: Aug. 15, 2020 at 5:48 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - People in Wausau say there’s still work to be done in telling the full story of women’s right to vote.

People gathered this morning for a march organized by AAUW to honor the passage of the 19th Amendment 100 years ago, officially ratified in all 50 states on August 18th, 1920.

Marchers gathered at the 400 Block and marched on Third Street toward the Historical Society.

Speakers asked people to honor the right to vote by exercising it. They also recognized those who were excluded in 1920 but they believe are an important part of the story.

"I feel like I'm doing my ancestors right, I'm honoring them today and I'm really proud of that," said Kayley McColley, a student at NTC who spoke Saturday. She says she was also there representing Black Lives Matter.

Marchers matched their ancestors in suffragette outfits and sent a message of inclusivity. Speakers acknowledged Black women could not vote until 1965, and in some Native American tribes, not until 1970.

“When people get to hear the stories accurately, they can start to piece together why this is so significant and critical to know,” said McColley. “We have to realize that when Black women weren’t included in voting, that means we’re excluded in so many other areas of politics and government and that still impacts us today.”

Speaker Barbara Munson discussed the role of women in indigenous societies-- specifically, the Iroquois of Upstate New York.

"Women raise up the chiefs. They also keep them in position, and if necessary, they remove them from office. And that's part of their political responsibility," said Munson, a member of the Oneida Nation.

She says that model inspired suffragettes.

"Those are all things that the early feminists found very refreshing and very different from their own culture," Munson said.

Marcher Nancy Stencil with Wausau group Women for Women says she believes voting laws still restrict some from exercising their right.

“Women fought for the right to vote. But they fought for the right for white women to vote. Today I still feel that people of color are very much disenfranchised. I don’t understand why we’re making it harder for people to vote,” Stencil said, referencing registration laws and the controversy over the U.S. Postal Service delivering ballots for the next election.

Speaking Saturday, Wausau Mayor Katie Rosenberg reminding the crowd of an opportunity to vote in the November election that’s only 80 days away.

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