Freeport Marches in Gratitude for Suffragettes

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Approximately 70 women and men marched in solidarity on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Ratified on August 18th, 1920 after being passed by Congress on June 4th, 1919 the 19th Amendment granted all American women the right to vote. Of course this didn’t prevent poll taxes, lack of citizenship documents, and other voter suppression tactics to prevent women of color from voting. In most respects the 19th Amendment granted white women the right to vote.

All told it took about 70 years for the movement to gain as much ground as it did. The 170 years was certainly not lost on those in attendance. Guest speaker Dr. Julie Hartman-Linck spoke to the history of the suffrage movement as did Sharon Koch. Both are members of the League of Women Voters of Freeport who organized the rally and march. The march started down East Douglas Street, to North Chicago, through downtown on West Stephenson Street past the Stephenson County Courthouse as well as Freeport City Hall, a short jaunt down North Cherry, back towards downtown on West Exchange past both the Freeport Police Department and the Stephenson County Sheriff’s office, and winding once again past the Freeport Post Office as well as The Stewart Center building. The signifigance of the Post Office being it holds a Federal Court House and the Stewart Center being the home of the Stephenson County Board. It was noted that all of these institutions were once somehow complicit in preventing and harming a woman’s right to vote.

The approximately one mile march ended back at Lincoln-Douglas Debate Square on Douglas Street. The crowd was then fired up by local educator LaFrancine Baker who impressed upon the crowd the power of the vote reminding all that women “had to do what they had to do to move the country forward”. Her signature “COME ON NOW” followed with a final chant of “PACK THE POLLS” with the crowd enthusiastically chanting along.

Linda Truckenmiller-Krum then wrapped up the rally with a litany of tricks and suppression tactics used over decades and to this day to prevent marginalized groups from voting. Truckenmiller-Krum ended with an inspiring missive, “Keep moving forward, looking backwards is only for time travelers. We cannot change the past but we can use the lessons to change the future. Our history shows in seeking the right to vote, groups of people were left out of the progress made by others. While it brings great sadness as we recognize this historical alienation it does not need to limit our future. In working together we can make sure this disenfranchisement does not limit our movement forward. By sharing each others injustices and carrying the burdens of each other.” Her speech ending with a loud “March On” which the crowd chanted along with.

League of Women Voters President Sharon Koch wrapped up the 57 minute rally and march with information on where people can register to vote as well as instructions on when voting starts and ends during our current election season. County Board Member Casey Anthony was in attendance as well as Independent candidate for Illinois State Representative of the 89th District John Cook. If any other local elected officials or candidates were in attendance please let us know. You can watch the entire video on The Voice of Freeport’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/100891031681672/videos/625188875081471

The Voice of Freeport would like to remind everyone that Election Day is November 3rd, 2020. The deadline to register by mail is Tuesday October, 6th, the deadline to register online is Sunday October 18th, and you can register in person right up until Election Day on Tuesday November 3rd.

To vote: The early voting period runs from Thursday September, 24th through Monday November, 2nd. The deadline to request a ballot by mail MUST BE RECEIVED by Thursday October, 29th. You can also register and vote on Election Day!

About the writer: Carl Utt is a newly minted local citizen journalist, activist, and hellraiser. He believes this
growing plutocracy we live in along with the pandemic, economic crisis, and social upheaval
presents us a once in a lifetime opportunity to change the world like we’ve never seen before.
Let’s not miss the chance.