A celebratory march commemorating the women’s suffrage movement and Women’s Equality Day takes place in Lewiston on Saturday.
The event comes nearly a century after the 19th Amendment was ratified and barely a year after Hillary Clinton became the first female presidential candidate nominated by a major political party.
Clinton went on to win the popular vote, but came up just shy in her bid to be America’s first woman president.
Saturday’s march starts at 9:30 a.m., with a line-up at the Lewiston Library parking lot at the intersection of Fifth and D streets downtown. Participants will then walk to Pioneer Park, where several guest speakers will discuss the history of the women’s suffrage movement, women’s contributions to politics since 1920 and current issues in society.
“I’ll talk about the history of how women got the vote. Others will talk about what getting the vote has done in terms of control over our own bodies and how it has influenced legislation,” said Amy Canfield, an associate professor of history at Lewis-Clark State College.
Domestic violence, for example, was historically viewed as a private family matter best addressed behind closed doors, rather than as a crime.
“It really took women’s voices getting louder for it to be addressed as a social issue,” Canfield said. “I don’t think that would have happened without women having a public voice.”
Other speakers Saturday include Marcia Banta, a local activist; Laurie Lewis, executive director of the Lewiston YWCA; Joy Peltier, chief external affairs officer for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho; and Cari Miller, a Lewiston City Council member and military veteran.
Although several states and territories previously had recognized a woman’s right to vote, it wasn’t until the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920 that women’s suffrage became a constitutional right and was granted nationwide.
As a historian, Canfield said she’s interested not just in what led up to that, but why it matters – and that’s the focus of Saturday’s march.
The event is being held in conjunction with LCValley Indivisible, a group that has begun challenging the votes and positions of local congressional representatives after the 2016 election. Canfield said the national Indivisible group “led the charge” in organizing the nation Women’s Equality march in Washington, D.C., as well as local events such as the one here.
The Lewiston march and speeches are scheduled to end by noon.
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