One hundred years ago, on June 4, 1919, the United States Senate voted in favor of the 19th Amendment, following the House of Representative’s passage of it two weeks earlier. This move by Congress laid the foundation for states to begin voting to ratify the amendment, and soon after, several states followed with their support.
However, it wasn’t until 14 months later in August 1920 that the required number of states – three-fourths of them, or 36 states at that time – passed the amendment and it was ratified into the U.S. Constitution.
As part of NPC’s advocacy building blocks for citizenship and service, we will be asking member organizations, College Panhellenics and Alumnae Panhellenics to help NPC mark the Women’s Suffrage Centennial. Now, we realize that the 19th Amendment didn’t automatically create equality for all women and that for these last 100 years many women have continued to challenge privilege granted to others based on ethnicity, race, identity and sexuality. But, as a women’s-only organization, NPC wants to acknowledge that the 19th Amendment was a major first step for all of our members.
Proudly, many of our members were involved in the efforts that led to the passage of this piece of landmark legislation and so much more to advance a variety of women’s rights. Look for NPC social media posts throughout the year highlighting sorority women suffragists and other key events. In the meantime, keep these dates in mind:
March: Women’s History Month
April 1: FGRC Annual Capitol Hill Visits
Aug. 26: Centennial Anniversary of the 19th Amendment ratification
Sept. 22: National Voter Registration Day
Nov. 3: Election Day
Attendees at the 2020 College Panhellenic Academy had the privilege of kicking off NPC’s year-long efforts during a Women’s Suffrage Centennial Celebration on Jan. 25. Here are a few ideas for you to continue the celebration by engaging in activities that promote citizenship, women’s empowerment and our right to vote:
- Host events on campus celebrating Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day (March 8), 50/50 Day (March 31) and more.
- Share Women’s Vote buttons, which can be purchased from the NPC Store.
- Promote NPC and TheSororityLife.com social media messages.
- Celebrate on Aug. 26 when government and recognizable buildings across the United States will glow through the night with purple and gold lights, the traditional colors of the suffrage movement commemorating the actual ratification of the 19th amendment. We encourage you to work with your campuses to light up buildings, such as student unions or your own chapter houses, to commemorate the special day.
NPC is also working with the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, whose mission is to commemorate and coordinate the nation’s 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and to educate the American people about the efforts and undertakings of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States in a bipartisan fashion. A toolkit developed by NPC’s marketing department will soon be shared enabling us all to participate in this landmark celebration.
Carole J. Jones