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Letters to the Editor

Demand an equal voice

To the Editor:

Celebrate the League of Women Voters and the 19th Amendment 1920 – 2020

February 14, 1920 – The Congress Hotel, Chicago, Illinois
 
“There is a new battle cry… to demand an equal voice and leadership with the men of the councils directing the destinies of the political parties.”

Carrie Chapman Catt addressed the 500 delegates at the opening session of the new League of Women Voters in 1920. She urged that the members adhere to a non-partisan course. “You need to get into the party not as a ‘woman’s auxiliary’ but to fight for more than a ‘me too’ by convincing the men that you have the ability to open that tightly locked door that has shut you out and lead a successful drive for what you want. You have to convert them.”

Catt warned about “Blind Partisans” - brought up in a party and unaware of where it stands on the issues - reasoning that a certain party is best because it stands for certain principles. She says that the League is going to educate women for active citizenship and that Democrats and Republicans must work together and work to be nonpartisan. Catt said, “Keep the flag flying for the principles of the Constitution. You need to keep five years ahead of the parties if you are to do your part.”

“Do not go to the polls as a mere endorser of a platform that others have written for you in some back office… you should never vote for a ticket until it has been submitted to your intelligence and ratified by your conscience.”

This is a summary of ideas from the keynote speech of Mrs. Catt. Thank you, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Historical Society. The League of Women Voters is still going strong one hundred years after it was founded in 1920, including here in DeKalb. We will continue to fight voter discrimination and to ensure that our elections are fair, free and accessible.

Pat Vary

Secretary, League of Women Voters DeKalb County, DeKalb
 

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