Women's right to vote celebrated in Phoenix

The Associated Press

PHOENIX Hundreds of women, some wearing wide-brimmed hats and long, white colonial dresses draped with purple sashes that read ''Votes For Women,'' gathered at the Capitol Saturday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of women's suffrage.

''I hope (the celebration) will encourage more women to become a part of the political decision process,'' said Joan Meacham, co-chair of the Arizona Women's Suffrage Movement celebration. ''I want more women to register to vote.''

The event commemorated the 75th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

Arizona voters gave women the right to vote on Nov. 5, 1912, almost eight years before the 66th U.S. Congress passed the Woman Suffrage Amendment in 1920.

Leading a 500-person parade was a group of Girl Scouts, some of whom were holding patriotic flags and banners commemorating the anniversary. More than 100 Girl Scouts attended the event.

Other parade participants waved banners reading ''You've Got It, Use It, Your Right To Vote,'' and ''Failure Is Impossible.'' One man displayed a yellow sign on the back of his baby-carrier which read, ''Women Need Votes To End Sweatshops.''

Other participants simply waved flags as they rode in vehicles from Cadillac El Dorados and a 1931 Ford to a variety of faux antique cars.

Ann Symington, wife of Gov. Fife Symington, read a proclamation declaring Sept. 23, 1995, Voting Rights for Women Day. Sec. of State Jane Hull presented the governor with a plaque honoring Arizona for it's early anniversary of women's suffrage.

''I encourage you to continue in the steps of your foremothers,'' he said. ''Your vote is your right, your vote is your responsibility, your vote is your power, use it wisely, use it well, but above all use it.''

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a former Arizona state senator, was awarded the Frances Lillian Willard Munds Award. Munds was considered the mother of Arizona's women's suffrage movement.

Many women came dressed in styles reminiscent of the suffrage era, wearing long dresses and capes and carrying parasols.

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