Plans announced to reach every county across the state, reinforce Colorado’s role in the national movement, and build new knowledge around this topic.
By Diane Amdur, Philosophy Communication
On Women’s Equality Day, Governor Jared Polis, representatives of History Colorado, and the newly formed Colorado Women’s Vote Centennial Commission (WVCC) made history on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol, when they kicked off the Women’s Vote Centennial commemoration of the 19th Amendment. On the anniversary of the largest voting-rights expansion in U.S. history, the event launched a full year of educational programming, community engagement and partnerships in all 64 Colorado counties. (Photos from Aug. 26, 2019 – photo credit: History Colorado)
History Colorado, the state agency leading the initiative, announced inclusive, historic opportunities for Coloradans to participate, join grassroots efforts, andhonor the bold individuals who fought for female voting rights. History Colorado invites interested organizations and individuals across the state to collaborate together to create space and events for civic engagement, commemoration, impact and support. Statewide partnerships between local museums, libraries, clubs, schools, arts organizations and individuals in communities will provide settings for suffrage-related events and dialogue.
The Women’s Vote Centennial comprises the nation’s most comprehensive statewide effort to examine the importance of voting in our democracy. For more information about ways to get involved and participate, visit COWomensCentennial.org, call 303-620-4933, or email HC_COWomensHistory@state.co.us.
“We want this work to live on and to create a buzz within every Colorado community. It is only through partnerships and collaboration that we can reach individuals statewide with messages, programs and experiences that explore the journey and struggle to achieve voting rights,” said Dawn DiPrince, chief operating officer of History Colorado. “We want to provide educational touchpoints and help tell these untold stories that bridge history with modern-day Colorado.”
In 1893, Colorado was the first state to outlaw, via state referendum, denying citizens the right to vote based on their sex. This took place more than 25 years before the national women’s suffrage act was signed into law on Aug. 26, 1920. The trailblazing collaborative fight for women’s voting rights changed the course of history in Colorado and continues to inspire social, economic, political and cultural advancements today.
“As the first state to give women the right to vote by popular referendum, Colorado has a lot to be proud of and a lot to commemorate,” said Cathey M. Finlon, chair of the Colorado Women’s Vote Centennial Commission. “We also have the opportunity to understand what brought this vote to pass — the coalitions, the economic anxieties, the societal situations that came together to achieve this momentous result. We will call attention to Colorado’s important role in the national movement for the women’s vote, while inspiring new action and research.”
Statewide events and initiatives officially commenced today on Women’s Equality Day and will culminate in 2020, with the 100th anniversary of the 19thAmendment’s adoption. Several organizations are already participating in the grassroots movement, including the Arvada Center, Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, Colorado Encyclopedia, El Pueblo History Museum, Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center, League of Women Voters, Molly Brown House, Regis University, Territorial Daughters of Colorado, and Trinidad History Museum. Statewide, organizations are invited to become partners in programming, with support from History Colorado.
History Colorado’s mission is to create a better future for Colorado by inspiring wonder in our past. The charitable organization and historical agency serves as the state’s memory, preserving the places, stories and material culture of Colorado through educational programs, historic preservation grants, a public research library, collections, and outreach to Colorado communities. History Colorado has become a force for finding new and inclusive ways to serve Coloradans. In 2018, it provided programs to more than 18,000 students in their own schools, and assisted more than 40 schools with bus funds, to expand efforts that now serve more than 85,000 students annually. Its all-day Hands-On History program at El Pueblo History Museum responds to the four-day school week that is now administered by 61 percent of Colorado school districts. Its Museum of Memories project, a public-history initiative to help communities reframe challenges and struggles into histories of resilience and pride, garnered more than 480 participants last year.
With eight museums around the state, History Colorado shares the cultures and stories that define Colorado’s past and present, including History Colorado Center (Denver); Center for Colorado Women’s History at Byers-Evans House (Denver); El Pueblo History Museum (Pueblo); Trinidad History Museum (Trinidad); Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center (Fort Garland); Healy House Museum & Dexter Cabin (Leadville); Ute Indian Museum (Montrose); and Fort Vasquez (Platteville). Visit HistoryColorado.org or call 303-HISTORY, for more information.
For a calendar with upcoming events, please click here and scroll down.