Wilton selectmen OK celebration of 19th Amendment centennial

Selectmen
National Woman’s Party activists watch Alice Paul of Ridgefield sew a star onto the NWP Ratification Flag, representing another state’s ratification of the 19th Amendment. Contributed photo

Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment which guaranteed women the right to vote. To commemorate the historic moment officials have proposed a celebration.

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice discussed a town-wide celebration for the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment at the Board of Selectmen meeting on May 20. The centennial of women winning the right to vote is officially on Aug. 18, 2020.

“There aren’t a lot of things that we celebrate town-wide, but I believe this would warrant it,” Vanderslice said.

While attending an Ambler Farm benefit she learned of Hannah Raymond-Ambler, a Wilton resident who wrote about the times leading up to women getting the right to vote. She and the women in her family would be amongst the first women in Wilton to vote, Vanderslice said.

“I just thought it would be a good idea if we were to do it big,” she said. “Let’s do it town-wide.”

She added the Wilton Library and Ambler Farm are planning celebrations.

Selectwoman Deborah McFadden said the proposal was a great idea.

“It’s a bipartisan thing,” McFadden said. “I think it’s a terrific concept.”

The selectmen all agreed the anniversary was something everyone could get behind. The commemoration could include a parade as one of the events. Vanderslice said she hoped to do it before the start of next summer to avoid the 2020 election.

“That’s why I wanted to discuss it now because we’re going to tie it in with the schools and they could get it in their curriculum when they come back in the fall,” she said.

Vanderslice said she hoped to put together a working committee to plan the event and wanted volunteers who aren’t typically involved in civic events. She added she’s looking for broader diversity to help put together the celebration of the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote.

“I don’t think it has to be just women. There certainly should be some men involved too,” Vanderslice said.

Wilton League of Women Voters member Tina Gardner said her organization was also planning a celebration to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the League of Women Voters. She added there were different avenues to find more information on the suffrage act.

“We have information in our collection also that might be helpful,” Gardner said.

dj.simmons@hearstmediact.com

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