On Their Shoulders We Stand: 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in the United States

On Their Shoulders We Stand: 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in the United States

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

- Amendment XIX “Women’s Right to Vote” – Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified August 18, 1920

Project overview

The mission of the 19th Amendment Initiative is to explore the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, shedding light on excluded histories of the suffrage movement in Colorado, and the United States. We will inform, celebrate, and empower the rights and responsibilities of women as voters, history-makers, and storytellers.

This project is presented with the support of Regis University, and the Jefferson County League of Women Voters, among others. 

Questions? Interested in being involved? Please contact project chair Sarah Kolb - skolb@arvadacenter.org.

Value Statement

When the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920, it guaranteed and protected white women's constitutional right to vote. However, voting rights in America doesn’t begin – or end – with the passage of a constitutional amendment. And there are many stories that have been forgotten or purposefully left out of the history of the suffrage movement.

This historic centennial offers an unparalleled opportunity to commemorate a milestone of democracy and to explore its relevance to the issues of equal rights today, through the unique perspective of artists and storytellers. 

Throughout the year 2020, the Arvada Center will explore the historical significance of the 19th Amendment. The history of suffrage comes with many victories and inspiring stories, and just as many complexities and flaws. It is one part a story about women’s rights, but it is also an American story of race, class, citizenship, gender, immigration, political identity, and values, and the intersections where those meet in America’s collective narrative and history.

Event Schedule

February 13, 2020 - Centennial Kickoff Celebration

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the League of Women Voters and the kickoff of these events with an evening of cocktails, sash and button making, and music.

April 2020 - Jeffco Schools Foundation Alumni Art Exhibition; Melody Epperson

As part of the annual Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition, Jeffco alumna and visual artist Melody Epperson presents a series of portraits of the known and unknown suffragists who fought for voting rights. 

April 2020 - Women playwrights panel discussion

Before a performance of the play Small Mouth Sounds by Bess Wohl, directed by Lynne Collins, attendees can attend a discussion about the importance of women’s voices in theatre, in the arts, and in chronicling history through storytelling. Featuring women playwrights and writers working in Denver’s theatre community

June 4 through August 20, 2020 - Pink Progression: Collaboration Gallery Exhibition

Pink Progression will collaborate with an artist of their choice to explore ideas of feminism, equality, inclusivity, gender identity, unity, and community. This collaborative, multi-disciplinary exhibition will occupy three gallery spaces in the Center from June through August.

Curatorial statement: The year 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. This historic centennial offers us the opportunity to commemorate this milestone and recognize the consecutive dates in which all women attained the right to vote in America. In order to inspire social change, collaboration must occur. Working together allows us to share our knowledge and experience while challenging each other to move outside of our comfort zone and discover a fusion of narratives. 

Summer 2020 - Voter registration drive organized by the Jefferson County League of Women Voters

We’re pleased to work with the LWV to hosts voter registration drives at all the events related to this project, as well as the concerts of our summer 2020 concert series. The League’s “Vote. It Matters.” drive ensures that Jefferson County and its residents are registered and ready when it comes time to vote in November 2020. 

August 15, 2020 - Celebration of Women

A one-day exploration and celebration of women’s artistic and political voices, culminating in a summer concert.

Summer 2020 - Regis University panel discussion series

Regis University faculty in history, women’s studies, diversity and inclusion, and sociology will lead two discussions related to women’s suffrage during two evenings at the Arvada Center. During the first presentation, a panel of 4 to 6 experts will provide their respective insights related to the history of women’s suffrage leading up to the United States’ granting women the right to vote in 1920.

During the second presentation, also a panel of 4 to 6 experts, the focus will be upon the effects of granting women the right to vote: “How has women voting changed the U.S. political landscape then and now?” is one expected point for discussion. The organization of the two panels will be intentional to include many facets of the respective histories, but discussions will be open-ended so it may be directed by audience members’ questions.

Discussion dates and experts will be announced later.

In addition to these planned events, expect film screenings in partnership with the Alamo Drafthouse, book discussions, a playwriting workshop, and standup comedy!