News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

August 28, 2012

Women’s equality marchers vote with their feet

Marchers celebrate right to vote, other milestones in fight for equality

TERRE HAUTE — With the November election just around the corner, the League of Women Voters of Vigo County on Monday marked 92 years since women won the constitutional right to vote.

Close to 200 people, many Indiana State University students, marched across the ISU campus Monday afternoon marking the anniversary.

Several women, including many members of the league, wore 1920s-era outfits and carried women’s suffrage signs to mark the anniversary.

“We want to honor those women who came before us,” said Carolyn Callecod, president of the League of Women Voters of Vigo County.

Although women in some states, including Utah, Idaho, Washington and California, could vote before 1920, the U.S. Constitution did not guarantee that right for all American women until Aug. 18, 1920.

The march across campus, which began about 6 p.m., included many men among its number. At the end of the march, a small rally took place and several students were registered to vote.

“I’m hoping I can vote here this November,” said ISU junior Taylor Jackson of Illinois who registered to vote at the end of the march on the ISU Quad. Jackson, 20, said this will be her first time voting.

“I’ve enjoyed it very much,” Jackson said of the march and the speeches. She was especially impressed by comments from Valerie Hart-Craig, president of the Vigo County NAACP, she said.

Many of the speakers at the conclusion of the march spoke against voter identification laws, stating they create a barrier to voting rights for many people. Many also called for greater voter turnout.

For anyone unable to get to the polls, “I will take you to vote,” Hart-Craig told the crowd.

The right to vote “is not a black and white thing,” Hart-Craig said. “It’s an American thing.”

Another ISU student who registered to vote for the first time Monday was Vickey Robinson, 21, a senior human and environmental systems major. Her husband, a political science major, encouraged her to attend the march and rally, she said. But she was pleased she did, she added.

Catherine O’Conner, an official with Planned Parenthood, also spoke at the rally, stating that men, on average earn more than women. But black and Hispanic women earn even less on average.

“We’ve got some work to do,” she said.

Bianca Gambill, a member of the League of Women Voters and organizer of the event, said she was pleased with the large turnout. She also said that low voter turnout, especially among women, is a big problem.

“We have to educate ourselves so we don’t go back to before 1920,” Gambill said at the end of the rally.

Elected officials Judy Anderson, Vigo County commissioner, and Pat Mansard, Vigo County clerk, also attended the rally. Dave Crooks, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House 8th District race, was also in the crowd. Crooks is challenging incumbent Republican Larry Bucshon in November.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

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