When it comes time to head out to the polls to cast your vote in a given election, I think many of us take for granted that women have only had this right for 100 years. In 1917, New York State granted women suffrage. The 1917 result followed 50 years of marching, fundraising and rallying held throughout the state. That triumph was achieved despite the fears of anti-suffragists who were confident that when a woman was bestowed the right to vote, such political distractions would cause her “to neglect the home, forget to mend our clothes, and burn the biscuits.’’ Boy, were they wrong!
In honor of the New York State Women’s Suffrage Centennial, the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House received a $75,000 grant for VoteTilla, a week-long nautical celebration along the Erie Canal running from July 16 through July 22, 2017. VoteTilla is a partnership of several private and nonprofit educational, civic and historic organizations and government agencies. The event is also a reminder of all the hard work, perseverance and cooperation that was needed to secure the right for women to have a vote.
VoteTilla boats will embark on a journey down the Erie Canal, departing from Seneca Falls on July 17 and arriving in Rochester on July 21, 2017. As the boats travel down the canal and dock at various towns and cities along the way, communities along the route are invited to join in with their own boats or to simply show support by greeting the boats as they pass through your respective neighborhood.
The “Last Mile” of the journey will be celebrated in Rochester on July 22, 2017 with a parade in the city, with a final destination of the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House. On behalf of GRAWA, I am pleased to announce that we will be participating in the parade, as members march through the city streets of Rochester in honor of the centennial of women’s suffrage in New York State. We are privileged to have been given the opportunity to participate in such a wonderful event that stands for a pivotal milestone in women’s history.
I believe those same anti-suffragists who were convinced women would not be able to handle political involvement would be pleased to learn that women have magically not skipped a beat. We have mastered the ability to achieve and succeed in a career, manage the household, raise children, and get out to the polls to cast their vote, without burning a thing (including the biscuits)!
If any GRAWA members are interested in joining us in the parade on July 21, 2017, please visit our website at grawa.org for more information. Even if you’re not inclined to march in the parade, feel free to show up along the canal path and lend your support to such a wonderful event. We hope to see you there!
Jodie Ryan is of counsel in the Rochester office of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP, and president of the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys.