For members of the League of Women Voters, Wednesday’s centennial celebration of Women’s Equality Day is more than just winning the right to vote; it’s about a movement that reshaped American politics forever.
“It’s the single most transformative political moment in the history of our nation in terms of the number of people who were allowed to vote,” said Mary Ellen Summerlin, a member of the League of Women Voters and a former Kerrville City Councilwoman.
Aug. 26 marks the day when the 19th Amendment was formally signed into the U.S. Constitution.
That moment will be commemorated on Wednesday when the League of Women Voters-Hill Country Texas will host a virtual celebration starting at 5:30 p.m. on video conferencing website Zoom. The event will feature a speech by Jeannette Cockroft, a Schreiner University faculty member, who will provide an update on the progress of the Equal Rights Amendment.
One of the event’s biggest moments will be the debut of a video produced by Diana Bamerick and Karen Johnson. The video project celebrates the contributions of 100 women from around the Hill Country.
“What I wanted to dive into was the women of our community and how much they contribute,” Bamerick said during a recent interview on KDT Live. “We wanted to reach out to the women who are working behind the scenes.”
Those women include educators, health care workers and scores of others who find themselves in key leadership roles across the region.
“I’m humbled and awestruck by the women I’ve had the honor of talking to,” Bamerick said. “So many of the women wear so many different hats: They have a job; they’re on a board; they volunteer; they raise a family; they care for a family. They’re just doing so much.”
Just some of the women that Bamerick and Johnson will feature:
Karen Burkett, who helped start Kerr Konnect, which provided affordable and reliable transportation to those in need.
Dr. Sandra Haldeman, a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist who sees patients at a Bandera community clinic. The clinic functions solely on donations and grants. After many years of practice — first as a nurse and later as a midwife — Haldeman decided she wanted to do more and enrolled in medical school to become a doctor.
Vicar Katie Rode Evans, who is in seminary to become a Lutheran pastor and is currently serving Immanuel Lutheran Church in Comfort as their vicar.
During the long fight for women’s suffrage, which enveloped 72 years of struggle and was marked by the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, there were questions whether women had the ability to make big political decisions, but that has proven to be a fallacy, and it has been women who have made critical votes when deciding the future of this country.
“It shows what we can do as a nation when we make up our minds to live up to our ideals,” Summerlin said. “It’s never easy. It always requires struggle for a long time and people are brave enough to risk violence, but there are always people who step up.”
For more details and the Zoom link, go to the League of Women Voters-Hill Country Texas website at www.lwvhillcountrytexas.org.
Meetings of the league are open to the public, and men and women are welcome to attend. LWV-Hill Country Texas has members and events in five counties of the Hill Country: Bandera, Blanco, Gillespie, Kendall and Kerr.
League of Women Voters-Hill Country Texas has 40 years of work focused on registering citizens to vote, educating citizens on candidates and issues, and mobilizing citizens to vote. Visit the League website: lwvhillcountrytexas.org for more information or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.