No matter what the results this Tuesday, Election Day will be one for the history books. And a trio of Champaign-Urbana women have found a way to commemorate this historic day as a celebration.
On Tuesday evening at 6 p.m., all women are invited to gather at the Susan B. Anthony memorial marker in downtown Champaign to “honor our foremothers, celebrate our rights, and acknowledge the work toward equity and justice that is still to be done.”
“It began as a desire to bring our friends together to celebrate the right of women to vote in this country and the struggle by so many to help make that happen,” said Chris D’Arpa, one of the primary organizers.
Participants are asked to bring their “I voted” stickers, which will be posted on a banner created by the organizers. If someone doesn’t have a sticker, organizers say they will have plenty extra. The marker is located in the plaza at the corner of Main and Neil Streets in downtown Champaign, next to Big Grove Tavern.
The idea came to D’Arpa after reading an article about women visiting Anthony’s grave on New York’s primary day in April, and leaving “I Voted” stickers on her headstone as a “thank you” leading a great fight.
“The story in the Washington Post reinforced my experience of how meaningful this is to
so many women, especially,” D’Arpa wrote in an email interview.
More than 1,000 people have been “invited” to the event via Facebook, but no one knows how many will actually show on Tuesday. Its organizers have made it decidedly non-partisan, although acknowledging the role of Hillary Clinton at the top of the Democratic ticket.
“The year Susan B. Anthony spoke in Champaign, 1870, was the year that the Trustees of the University of Illinois voted 5-4 to admit women,” said organizer Lucy Moynihan of Urbana. “This gathering with friends seemed like a great opportunity and a fine moment to remind ourselves of our history, our victories, and the continuing struggles for justice and equity.”
Organizer Caroline Nappo of Champaign is already excited about doing the event again in 2020, when the 19th amendment has its centennial.
For more information and to RSVP to the event, visit its Facebook page.