Dems, 19th Amendment Committee team up for community barbecue to celebrate women’s suffrage

State Sen. Wendy Schuler talks to Charles Butcher as Evanston Mayor Kent Williams looks on. Both Schuler and Williams were speakers at a recent community picnic put on by the 19th Amendment Anniversiry Committee and Uinta County Democrats. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — Officials with the 19th Amendment Anniversary Committee welcomed 70 guests to a free barbecue picnic sponsored by the Uinta County Democrats on Saturday, Aug. 17.

“This is a time to come together as friends and neighbors regardless of political affiliation to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment giving women full voting privileges with men,” organizer Kayne Pyatt said, before introducing the first speaker, Evanston Mayor Kent Williams.

“Thank you for the honor and privilege to join in this celebration,” Williams said. “At the end of the day we all want Evanston to be the best of all communities ... if we can take politics out of the way and work together towards that end. We have some big decisions to make as a community and many discussions ahead. I congratulate you on what you are doing today, and I wish you success in your endeavors. Thank you again for this opportunity and enjoy your day.”

Deserae Allred, secretary of the Uinta County Democrats, presented Mayor Williams with a Suffragette tie as a thank you gift.

Keynote speaker Wyoming State Sen. Wendy Schuler then addressed the crowd.

“First, I would like to thank the 19th Amendment Committee for all they are doing to celebrate this year. Wyoming being the first territory to give women voting rights gives us much to celebrate. In fact, there was a movement by President Andrew Jackson in 1820 to try to pass suffrage for women but it failed. The State of New Jersey let women vote in 1844 but repealed it when they became a state, but Wyoming refused to come into the Union as a state if they couldn’t keep the vote for women,” Schuler said.

Schuler continued with facts about the suffragette movement. She mentioned that William Bright was really more instrumental than Esther Hobart Morris in pushing a bill for women’s suffrage. Bright encouraged the Republicans and Democrats to work together toward passing women’s suffrage and they did.

Schuler said Susan B. Anthony was so impressed when she came to Wyoming that she said, “Wyoming is truly the land of the free.” Schuler listed the different women’s organizations that had fought for suffrage and finally joined in the battle together. She told how suffragettes were jailed, beaten and force fed.

“Finally, in 1919, President (Woodrow) Wilson grew tired of the women’s protests and encouraged Congress to pass an amendment. The 19th Amendment was passed in June of 1919 and ratified in August of 1920. It only passed by one vote; the senator from Tennessee voted yes. This is the year of the woman and when I go to the polls now, I think of all the sacrifices of those women who worked to give us suffrage. More women than men voted in the last election. We are a huge block of voters and if women get out and vote they can be a force for change.

“As your Senator I will do my best to represent all of you — men and women, Democrats and Republicans and independents; all 20,000 of you,” Schuler continued. “I am pleased to be invited to be a part of this celebration. Remember, get out and vote,” Schuler concluded.

Allred then presented Schuler with a thank you gift.

Uinta County Democrats Chair David Tanner introduced the last scheduled speaker, Yana Ludwig. Tanner asked the audience if they had enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich and if they had the secret sauce on it. He said, “If you did, the secret sauce may cause you to get the urge to become a Democrat. Don’t let that scare you.”  This brought a laugh from everyone.

Tanner then introduced Yana Ludwig from Laramie, who is intending to run as a Democrat for U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi’s seat. Republican Cynthia Lummis is also running for Enzi’s seat in 2020. Tanner said Ludwig is a real defender of the right to vote for everyone. He went on to say she is an author, a consultant and has worked in nonprofit organizations for 30 years.

Ludwig began by giving some additional highlights of the suffrage movement and then stated that her main goal is universal human rights.

“I think all persons should enjoy basic human rights and the suffrage movement is a story in the middle of where we need to be. There are still too many efforts to keep certain people from voting. We have to peel back layers and layers of exclusion. We need to focus on solidarity so no one is excluded,” Ludwig said.

Ludwig continued with stating her political goal of making sure that all disenfranchised people are included in the political process.

“We need to move towards … politics that include the best of both parties, Republicans and Democrats. The narrative of women’s suffrage is moving us forward to inclusion of all humans. Remember to vote, vote, vote.”

State Legislator Stan Blake from Sweetwater County was in the audience and was asked if he wanted to say a few words. 

“We need more women in the Legislature like Wendy Schuler,” Blake said. “Democrats and moderate Republicans need to come together in order to get bills passed. We need to reach out and appeal to everybody. I just wanted to stop in and say hi and say thank you for doing this. Women bring out another narrative and it’s good for the State of Wyoming.”

In closing the event, officials drew names for the four door prizes that Allred had donated. Winners were Katie Beppler, Kortney Clark, Holly Cordary and Wendy Schuler.

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