PALMDALE – Draped in “Votes for Women” yellow sashes and flanked by the American, California, and Palmdale flags, the League of Women Voters Antelope Valley came together Tuesday to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of women’s right to vote in California.
The event took place at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Poncitlan Square in Palmdale and was attended by several prominent members of the AV community, including Lancaster School District Trustee Diane Grooms, Palmdale School District Trustee Sandy Corrales-Eneix, Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford, Councilmember Tom Lackey, and Palmdale’s first mayor, Larry Chimbole.
“One hundred years ago today something very special happened,” Mistress of Ceremonies Ingrid Chapman told the audience. “Crossing class, education, racial and ethnic lines, women finally prevailed with their hard won battle to vote.”
“This legacy is alive today right here in the Antelope Valley through all the brave and committed women that serve their communities in elected office,” continued LWVAV Secretary, Denise Latanzi. “From local water boards to school boards, from our city councils all the way to the state senate’s office, women of the Antelope Valley have continued to stand up and make a difference every single day.”
Donna Sweikow gave a moving rendition of the Disney song “Go the Distance” to exemplify what women felt as they persevered in their battle for voting rights. Several in the audience were moved to tears during the song, partly because of the recent medical challenges facing LWVAV President Patricia Shaw. Shaw, who is recovering from a recent stroke, was acknowledged by all speakers during the ceremony. (Read more on that here).
“I want to thank the League of Women Voters for entering the arena in the Antelope Valley and bringing with it an impartial, fair approach to how we recognize potential representatives in government,” Ledford said. “I’m proud to be a member of the League of Women Voters.”
Grooms and Corrales-Eneix gave mini-history lessons on the battles that women encountered, both nationally and statewide, in order to make their voices heard so many years ago.
“Women lobbied for more than a hundred years for their ability to participate in our community as fully as they could,” said Grooms.
Grooms recalled a time when women could not own property, serve on a jury, hold office, or apply to college, and traced women’s evolution to 100 years ago when women were granted full citizenship and up to today when women wield political influence in the Antelope Valley and beyond.
“Freedom came not as a gift, but as a triumph,” Grooms said. “Is citizenship a right? No. It’s also a duty. It’s our identity.”