19th Amendment centennial celebration set for Jan. 11 in Albany
ALBANY – “Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence,” a centennial celebration of the 19th Amendment, is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at Albany First Christian Church, 432 Ferry St. S.W.
"This will be fun and informative,” says event organizer Christine Webb. “It’s a great way to not only learn more about this period of Oregon's history but to celebrate an accomplishment that was more than a half-century in the making.”
Oregon has a long and contentious suffrage history. The men in the state voted six times before finally passing, in 1912, a state bill that allowed most Oregon women to vote. Oregon’s leading advocate for women’s suffrage was Abigail Scott Duniway, who lived in Albany at one time. After passage of the law that year, Gov. Oswald West asked Duniway to write the Equal Suffrage Proclamation. She did, and both West and Duniway signed it.
Women’s suffrage was a heated and often contentious debate. Would allowing women to vote bring unwanted change for men? Would it change the women? Their commitment to their families? Their communities? The country? And even in the women's ranks there was division. Black women, who had been organizing for decades, were often relegated to the "back of the parade." Poor, working, rural, uneducated and Native American women's voices often went unheard. One side supported state-by-state legislation, the other a constitutional amendment.
In the end, coalitions formed and the hard work produced results, when, after more than a half-century of advocacy, the US Senate passed the 19th amendment to the Constitution (by two votes), guaranteeing most women the right to vote. Oregon's vote to ratify that amendment, in January 1920 – the 25th state to do so – helped the eventual passage of the amendment on Aug. 18 of that year.
The Albany celebration will include talks by Kimberley Jensen, professor of History and Gender Studies at Western Oregon University; Sharon Konopa, mayor of Albany; Fay Stetz-Waters, director of Civil Rights in the Oregon Department of Justice; and Monica Bielski Boris, labor council representative (AFSCME). These women will speak about the history of women's suffrage in Oregon and across the country, the intersection of working women and voting rights, civil rights challenges since women gained the vote and personal journeys and challenges as women forged their way into the public sphere.
Also included will be period music by the Crazed Weasel String Band, dramas and historical vignettes. Costumes and signs are encouraged. All participants are invited to join a march around the downtown area at the conclusion.
The event is sponsored by the Linn County Women's Rally, the American Association of University Women, the League of Women Voters and Albany First Christian Church.
Senators react to U.S. strike that killed Soleimani
Comments issued Friday by Sen. Jeff Merkley:
We are in a dangerous moment.
Without authorization by Congress, the president ordered the assassination of a senior military leader of Iran on Iraqi territory. There is no question that General Soleimani has been involved in plotting lethal attacks on Americans. But there is plenty of uncertainty about whether this act strengthens or hurts American security.
President Trump claims that his purpose was to deter future attacks on Americans. I fear that it may well have the opposite effect—triggering additional attacks, potentially destabilizing the government of Iraq, and driving escalation to the launch of another poorly calculated war in the Middle East.
Our country should never just fall into a war. Our Constitution is clear: The power to go to war rests with Congress, not the president. We must insist that the Constitution be honored.
One reason I refused to support the president's military spending bill last month was that it dropped an amendment blocking the president from launching an unauthorized war with Iran. I had fought for this amendment—which had passed the House with bipartisan support—because restoring Congress's constitutional role is essential to our security. It must be the American people, through their representatives, who decide when our sons and daughters go to war.
Now, after breaking the nuclear deal and months of saber rattling, President Trump and the war hawks he has surrounded himself with have put America at the brink of war with Iran.
Iran is a dangerous foe, and we need a strong, thoughtful policy to meet the challenges it poses to American security. But American lives are too precious to let a reckless president with reckless plans start another war in the Middle East.
Comments issued Friday by Sen. Ron Wyden:
Nearly 20 years ago, countless members of the Bush administration lied to the American people, giving false justifications for going to war in Iraq. Today, many of the same people are at it again, this time with Iran, firing up the engines of war with flimsy claims.
For his part, Donald Trump has once again demonstrated his disregard for diplomacy and the safety of the American people.
During his campaign for president, Trump promised to get America out of endless wars in the Middle East. But now, thousands of Americans abroad – civilian and military – are likely in greater danger, and this morning the Trump administration announced it is sending thousands more troops into the Middle East.
I voted against going to war in Iraq, and I will do everything I can to ensure that America is not dragged into another endless, destructive war.
I will be keeping a close eye on the situation, and will stand against any further military action that threatens Americans at home or abroad.