October 03, 2016

Senator Gillibrand Announces Bipartisan Legislation To Establish Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission In Honor Of 100th Anniversary Of Passage And Ratification Of The 19th Amendment

Senator Gillibrand’s bill would help recognize New York’s role in the women’s suffrage movement, provide funding opportunities to organizations in the Finger Lakes region to support educational programs commemorating the 19th Amendment

Utica, N.Y. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced the bipartisan Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission Act (S.3073) at Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute. This legislation would establish a Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission in honor of the 100th anniversary of the passage and ratification of 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote. The Commission would work with federal, state and local governments, private organizations, as well as Congress to develop and coordinate educational activities for Americans to learn about the suffrage movement. Under this legislation, the Commission would have the ability to award grants to organizations in New York and across the country to support programs commemorating the anniversary of the 19th Amendment.    

“This legislation would help educate and inspire young people around the country about the unparalleled importance of the women’s suffrage movement in American history” said Senator Gillibrand. “The women’s suffrage movement was born in New York, it was championed by fearless women like Juanita Breckenridge Bates, and nearly a century after the 19th Amendment was passed and ratified, our state continues to be at the forefront of fighting for women’s rights, from paid family leave to equal pay for equal work. The 19th Amendment changed the world for the better, and it deserves our commemoration. I will urge all of my colleagues in the Senate to support the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission Act.”?

“During my congressional tenure, I had the privilege of representing Seneca Falls, the Birthplace of Women’s Rights, home to both the Women’s Rights National Historical Park and the National Women’s Hall of Fame,” said Rep. Hanna. “Some of the greatest women in our history bravely gathered to begin a national conversation about the role of women in American society. That conversation continues today. I thank Senator Gillibrand for her continued work to promote this significant part of our history.” 

“Being a father of four daughters I take pride that Utica was home to many strong and inspiring women who played an integral role in the Suffrage Movement,” said Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri. “Senator Gillibrand’s historic legislation and its commission will ensure we properly celebrate and honor those women who positively transformed our society and paved the way for future generations.” 

“The centennial of the Woman's Suffrage Amendment is a major moment in the history of our nation,” said Sherri Goldstein Cash, Chair of the Utica College Department of History. “Support for the establishment of the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission Act is, in itself, a celebration of democracy.‎”

“The 19th amendment empowered women, opening doors and allowing for greater freedom of political expression. Art embodies a universal means of expression, and museums explore how creativity expresses our beliefs—from political to religious to individual,” said Anna D'Ambrosio, Museum of Art Director, Munson-Williams Proctor Art Institute. 

The State of New York was the birthplace of the women’s suffrage movement and it hosts some of the most legendary landmarks that helped shape this monumental gain in America’s history. New York was a powerful force in the movement for equal rights for women and the passage and ratification of the Nineteenth amendment.  This bill provides the opportunity for New York to be recognized as an instrumental part in the struggle for women’s suffrage by providing grant funding for programs and activities that commemorate the efforts of the movement and the role of New Yorkers who promoted the core values of our democracy.  

Senator Gillibrand is joined by U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) on the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission Act.