Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the kick-off of New York State Women's Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission, which will be responsible for a series of statewide programs that celebrate women's suffrage in New York State. The 14-member commission will work to promote the anniversary of women's suffrage between 2017, marking 100 years from when women won the right to vote in New York State and 2020, a century after the 19th Amendment was ratified.
"New York State has always led for women's rights since the movement's inception in Seneca Falls in 1848 to the passage of the historic Women's Equality Agenda in 2015," said Governor Cuomo. "As we reflect on how much progress our state and nation has made through the last century, we must also remember how much work still lays ahead as we continue to fight for true equality."
"We will be taking the message of women’s equality all across the State over the next three years, celebrating the accomplishments of women and their contributions to our history," said Commission Chair Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "At the same time, as the state’s highest ranking elected woman, I hope we can inspire the next generation of young women who want to rise up and achieve great things themselves."
The New York State Women's Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission was sponsored by Sen. Betty Little and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and signed into law by Governor Cuomo in November. During its inaugural meeting, members of the Commission outlined plans for commemoration events to take place over the next three years that highlight historic achievements for women.
The Commission is made up of the following representatives:
- Rose Harvey, Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
- Dr. Jennifer LeMack, New York State Museum Chief Curator of History (appointed by commissioner of education)
- Howard Zemsky, President, CEO and Commissioner of Economic Development
- Dare Thompson, President of the League of Women Voters of New York State
- Noemi Gazala, Superintendent of the Women's Rights National Historical Park
- Deborah Hughes, President of the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House
- Sally Roesch Wagner, Director of the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation
- Susan Zimet, President of 2020: Project Women, Inc.
- Kathleen Neville, Board Member of the New York Council for the Humanities
In addition, the Commission will include the following appointees:
- Kathy Hochul, Lieutenant Governor (appointed by Governor Cuomo)
- Sen. Betty Little (appointed by the temporary president of the Senate)
- Eve Waltermaurer, Director of Research and Evaluation at The Benjamin Center, SUNY New Paltz (appointed by the speaker of the Assembly)
- Senator Velmanette Montgomery (appointed by minority leader of the Senate)
- Christina Lotz, Seneca County Clerk (appointed by minority leader of the Assembly)
New York State is home to the first-ever Women's Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls, on July 19 and 20, 1848 and organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Sixty-nine years later, on Nov. 6, 1917, women in New York State won the right to vote. Three years later, the 19th Amendment was ratified, granting all women the right to vote as protected by the United States Constitution.