LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - A luncheon to celebrate the 99th anniversary of women being granted the right to vote was held at Fort Sill on Thursday.
Women’s Equality Day celebrating the adoption of the 19th Amendment is not until August 26th, but Fort Sill started the party a little bit early. At Thursday’s luncheon, they touched on what our ancestors fought for in terms of voter equality and how important it is for us to utilize those rights today.
The event featured guest speaker retired Sergeant Major Donna Brock, who started things out with an exercise that involved the entire room. She asked every person to raise their hand while she read a list of qualifications like are you a male, are you white and do you own property. She asked people to drop their hands if they were not each of those things. Those few people left were the only ones she says would have been allowed to vote back before women won the right to in 1920.
"What I wanted to do is make sure everyone understood the way it was way back in early America. And by doing that they had to be involved in it so if I was living in that age, what did that mean to me. As the arms kept falling down, I think there were 10ish in this room of over 300 people who were allowed to vote. That is a real message,” Brock said.
Women’s Equality Day has been federally recognized on August 26th since 1973 and Sergeant First Class Prentice Russell said it holds great importance at Fort Sill.
"A lot of our key leadership positions, women hold them. In the past it wasn’t always like it. It wasn’t easy for women to get these positions of increased responsibility because of that. So that’s why it’s important to me,” Russell said.
Brock echoed those sentiments and finished her speech by emphasizing the importance of heading to the polls.
"Every time I hear a person who complains about stuff, I always ask them, did you vote? If they say no, we have no more conversation, that’s how important it is. Voting is one of our civil rights. It’s your birth right to vote, especially now that we are able to vote. If you don’t vote, you have to accept what is going on in the world. Even if you vote and you don’t get what you want, that’s OK because you are heard. And I believe every person should be heard,” Brock said.