PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There was a celebration outside of Independence Hall Wednesday afternoon to mark Women’s Equality Day and the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
Vision 2020, a non-partisan initiative based at Drexel University working for women’s equality, organized the commemorative event.
“Our foremothers worked so hard to win the right to vote, and there are still one out of three women in the United States that does not exercise that right, eligible women. So we want to change that,” Lynn Yeakel, Vision 2020 founder and president, said.
The program, which was livestreamed online, also educated people about the struggle women endured to win the right to vote. It lasted 72 years before women of all races were included.
RAISING A GRAPE JUICE TOAST on #WomensEqualityDay2020! Why grape juice? It’s what the suffragists toasted with to celebrate their victory in winning the right to vote 100 years ago (it was 1920 during Prohibition!) More on the celebration @ Independence Mall @CBSPhilly @ 5:30pm pic.twitter.com/s8jxGTJg4I
— Trang Do (@TrangDoCBS3) August 26, 2020
There were in-person and virtual speakers, a grape juice toast to the suffragists who fought for women’s voting rights and the ringing of the Justice Bell, a symbol that was used to raise awareness of the women’s suffrage movement.
“I had turned 18 recently this July and with that came one of my newest and biggest privileges and responsibilities, voting,” speaker Mia Melendez-Ruiz told the crowd.
Melendez-Ruiz and fellow speaker Niya Ray helped to ring the Justice Bell. Both will vote for the first time in the upcoming presidential election.
As a Black woman, Ray used her remarks to draw attention to the fact that Black women were not guaranteed the right to vote until 45 years later, with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“I feel like I’m on their backs and I’m doing the things that they weren’t able to do, something they fought almost their entire lives to do,” Ray said.
Participants toasted with grape juice as a homage to the suffragists who celebrated their victory with grape juice in 1920 during Prohibition.