LOGAN – Three cardboard voting booths, each representing a significant year in history, decorated with a variety of interactive, historical information, are touring local schools and community events in Cache and Box Elder counties. The booths highlight the events that gave women the right to vote, while also recognizing Utah’s unique role in that history. Cache County Council member Barbara Tidwell chairs the Cache Celebration of Women’s Suffrage 2020, and says the celebration does not take place on just one day, but rather over the next year and a half.
“We’re working hand-in-hand with Utah State University,” Tidwell explains. “This year is the Year of the Woman at Utah State University and Joyce Kinkade has been working very closely with us.”
While participating in the Hyrum 4th of July Parade this summer, Tidwell says she was surprised by how many people did not realize Utah’s significant, historical role.
“We were handing out the fliers and it was very interesting, we would ask, ‘did you know that Utah had the first woman vote?’ ‘No! I didn’t know that.’ People don’t realize how important that was in the state and how Utah played such a big part in that.”
Karina Brown is co-chair of the committee and says 2020 lines up perfectly to recognize three significant milestones.
“We chose 1870 because that was the first woman to really vote in the U.S., was February 14, 1870 in Utah,” she explains. “In 1920 the 19th Amendment (was passed). It will be the 150th anniversary of the first woman in Utah voting, in 2020 (will be) the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and then the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. We wanted to highlight, specifically, those years because of their significance in our history.”
The displays, created to look like voting booths and representing each significant year, are traveling throughout schools in the Logan, Cache and Box Elder school districts over the next year. Brown says a quilt board is included in the display that allows students to write something in response to the following question: how will you use your voice and your vote?
“Some of the children put ‘I will vote for what is right,’ or ‘I want to help people when life isn’t fair’ or ‘make life more fair for people’ or ‘I want to save the fish.'”
Each exhibit is installed at the school’s library and media center by a committee member. Each school receives training and a packet of information so the students can fully interact with and appreciate the history and learning opportunities of each exhibit.
An open house is being planned for some time in January for the general public, and a large celebration will take place on March 13, 2020 in the Logan Tabernacle. A few days later, on March 20th, there will be an event at the Utah Theatre.
“A series of film shorts called Unladylike 2020 will be shown,” Brown explains. “It’s about women who have made contributions at different areas and women of different backgrounds. That is sponsored by Utah State University.
“The production team is based out of New York and we’ve been in communication with them and planning that. The Executive Producer is going to be coming and there will be a team of panelists and academic experts. Michael Ballam and Gary Griffin have graciously worked with us on the Utah Theatre.”
Celebrations will be taking place throughout the state over the next year. A group in Salt Lake City – Better Days 2020 – has been helping other organizations throughout the state to recognize and celebrate next year’s milestones.
Tidwell says there has already been a lot of positive support for her committee not only in the schools, but in communities throughout the area. Resolutions have been passed by the Cache County Council and Logan City Council recognizing and approving support for the Cache Celebration for Women’s Suffrage 2020. Her committee is traveling to city councils throughout Cache County to make similar presentations and resolutions.
“None of this comes free, and we’ve had a lot of good donations from organizations throughout the valley and people throughout the valley. We’ve really appreciated the donations that we’ve received because without those donations there is no way we could get these exhibits taken care of.”
The group is an official non-profit organization and more information about them is available at Cache2020.org.
AUDIO: Cache Celebration of Women’s Suffrage Chair Barbara Tidwell, and Co-Chair Karina Brown