Newsletter of the Needham Rotary Club for March 1st, 2022
Mark Your Calendar, Upcoming Events:
  • Thursday, March 10th: Needham Education Foundation Trivia Bee in Needham High School cafeteria at 7:00pm
  • Rotary Club of Westborough: Trex Plastic Recycling Challenge. Louise Condon and Kathy Whitney are collecting plastic shopping bags by March 16th to help the environment and the Westborough club.
  • Tuesday, March 29th: Flowers for the Elderly, at Condon Real Estate, noon
  • Friday, April 22nd, Earth Day: Kathy is looking for volunteers for cleanup projects
Our Speaker: Fredie Kay, Founder and President, Suffrage100MA
Here's the actual language of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America: " The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex." Fredie Kay, our speaker and the Founder/President of Suffrage 100 MA, pointed out that it's a guarantee of the right to vote, not actually a grant of a right to vote. It took 72 years before this guarantee was finally ratified from the date in 1848 when Elizabeth Lady Stanton published the "Declaration of Sentiments" asserting equal rights for women at the first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY. Suffrage 100 MA's mission is to commemorate the centennial of the certification of the 19th Amendment on August 26th, 1920, and raise awareness of the long and continuing struggle of the suffragists and women today to achieve equal rights.
The goals of the organization are to increase voter participation; to support education about the struggle for women's rights; to recognize the progress and the remaining restrictions on women's rights; and to highlight the many dynamic women's rights organizations. Their website: http://www.suffrage100ma.org is a huge resource with a booklist to promote learning and a toolkit to prompt discussion, and timelines on women's suffrage and on voting rights.
We should not allow ourselves to feel as if we've reached some pinnacle of justice. Fredie's speech and the website make clear that the path towards equal rights is bumpy with constant, powerful opposition. Despite its position as an intellectual hub and home for many suffragists, the state of Massachusetts was not an early adopter: Massachusetts was the 8th state to approve the 19th Amendment in 1919, 36 (3/4ths of the states, then) were needed, the Amendment failed to pass in 8 states, and Tennessee crossed the threshold in 1920. Congress had already approved and the 19th Amendment was certified on August 26th, 1920. By that time, 15 states had already granted voting rights to women. Further, Massachusetts was home to one of the largest anti-suffrage organizations in the US. The voting rights timeline points out the US Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v Holder in 2013 that vacated the Federal government's pre-clearance power (in the Voting Rights Act of 1965) of proposed changes to voting laws in Southern states with a history of voter suppression. That case opened the door for the current round of voter identification and vote-by-mail restrictions that have greater impact on voters of color.
Our Next (Zoom) Meeting: Tuesday March 8th at noon. Our Speaker will be: Kristen Sajdak, Ellie Fund for Brest Cancer