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Western Slope Women Celebrate Right To Vote

women's suffrage
Laura Palmisano

The 19th Amendment guarantees women in the United States the right to vote. Tuesday was the 94th anniversary of its passage and Women’s Equality Day.

To celebrate about 15 women dressed like they’re from the early 1900's marched around the courthouse in downtown Montrose. They chanted and waved signs that said “vote it counts” and “women make a difference”.

Karen Connor wore a tri-color sash that read “votes for women”. 

"We’re here to remind people that women worked really hard to get the vote and they need to remember that and go out and vote," Connor said.

Many of the women incorporated green, white and violet into their costumes. 

Montrose Court House, League of Women Voters
Credit Laura Palmisano / KVNF
The League of Women Voters of Montrose County put on the demonstration in front of the Montrose Court House. They were there to celebrate the 19th Amendment and Women's Equality Day.

Jean Blanning of Cedaredge explained how the colors relate to the suffrage movement.

"The colors which are green, white and violet stand for G for give, W for women, and violet [for] vote," Blanning said. "So give women the vote. I trimmed my hat with white, violet and green."

Most of the ladies who attended are members of the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization that encourages people to vote.

Caitlin Switzer, the president of the Montrose chapter, said she dressed like Alice Paul, a leader of the women’s suffrage movement.

"She is an early suffragist who was on a hunger strike and forced fed by people in favor of the Wilson administration who objected to the women seeking the right to vote…and have a voice in our democracy," Switzer said.

Women in Colorado gained the right to in 1893. That's 27 years before it happen nationally.

"As a citizen of Colorado it makes me feel great that Colorado was ahead of the game getting the right to vote, but Wyoming beat us," Connor said.

Wyoming was the first territory to grant women suffrage in 1869. It became a state in 1890. 

Connor said the demonstration was about celebrating women empowerment, but they also had another message they want to get out.

"It’s important to vote [and] to have a voice in what happens in our country," she said. "If you don’t vote then you don’t have a voice."

Laura joined KVNF in 2014. She was the news director for two years and now works as a freelance reporter covering Colorado's Western Slope. Laura is an award-winning journalist with work recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, Colorado Broadcasters Association, and RTDNA. In 2015, she was a fellow for the Institute for Justice & Journalism. Her fellowship project, a three-part series on the Karen refugee community in Delta, Colorado, received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award.
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