Guest Columnist

Celebrating achievement, hope and equality

Photo provided by the Library of Congress howing Suffragists picketing in front of the White House in 1917. Celebrating the 85th anniversary of women's right to vote in all U.S, elections, the Library of Congress is putting on line photos of the suffrage movement entitled, Women of Protest
Photo provided by the Library of Congress howing Suffragists picketing in front of the White House in 1917. Celebrating the 85th anniversary of women's right to vote in all U.S, elections, the Library of Congress is putting on line photos of the suffrage movement entitled, Women of Protest". (AP Photo/Library of Congress)

For many in Cedar Rapids, August 26 rings in the first day of school. Yet for others, it has another very important meaning.

It will be the 99th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment. Women’s suffrage. The right to vote. The first bill for women’s rights was introduced in 1878. Who knew it would take 42 years until 1920 to have the bill ratified and finally give women the right to vote?

Celebrating the 26th of August has a very important meaning to the Women’s Equality Coalition of Linn County. It is a day to recognize the achievements of women in Linn County. According to Sue Jorgensen of the coalition, the organization has been celebrating this day of equality since 1976, by highlighting the efforts and accomplishments of women in Linn County.

That is why August 26 was chosen as the day the coalition observes its “Linn County Women of the Year” celebration. A day to acknowledge women that are making Linn County a better place to be educated, a better place to work, and a better place for opportunities for women and girls.

This year’s event will honor four such women, LaNisha Cassell of The African American Museum of Iowa, Deb Worm of F & M Bank with Liz Callahan of the Kenwood Leadership Academy and Marcy Mattison of the National Organization for Women. These four women have given of themselves to make our community more aware of the need for leadership for girls and women. They have worked to move our county closer to equal rights.

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made ... it shouldn’t be that women are the exception,” said Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court.

Wise words that are being followed by the year’s recipients. Each woman being honored this year is making important decisions in the areas of leadership, education and equality. They undertake to bring needed rights and fairness to women and girls living in Linn County.

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The “Linn County Women of the Year” awards will be held at the Kirkwood Regional Center in Hiawatha at 6 p.m. with appetizers and a silent auction and entertainment by Alicia Monee of the Funk Daddies and the Cedar Rapids Washington High School Kickers. Special Community Youth Award will be presented to the Cedar Rapids Kennedy GoCyberGirls. The guest speaker is Dr. Lori Sundberg, President of Kirkwood Community College. Tickets are $20, or $15 for seniors and students.

• Lu Wherry is president of the Women’s Equality Coalition of Linn County.

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