By Juliette Coulter
The year 2020 marks the 100 year anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. To mark this milestone, Texas Women’s Foundation is launching “Count Her In,” a social media campaign celebrating 100 people, organizations and milestones that have advanced voting rights for Texas women from the earliest days of the suffrage movement through the present day. The campaign runs for 62 weeks, from June 28, 2019, the same day that Texas ratified the 19th Amendment in 1919, to August 26, 2020, celebrated as Women’s Equality Day. The campaign tells stories of women and men in Texas who were leaders in voters’ rights, with the goal to educate and activate more people, particularly women, to register and exercise their right to vote.
Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Texas Women’s Foundation president and CEO, said: “With our goal to transform Texas for women and girls, Texas Women’s Foundation believes that can only take place when women are full participants, and a critical way to achieve that is by motivating more women to exercise their right to vote. This project can be a catalyst for women across the state to understand their rights and use them.”
Examples of trailblazers highlighted in the campaign include:
Christia V. Daniels Adair – A Houston activist who was both a suffragist and civil rights leader. Adair worked for the Houston NAACP during the landmark Smith v. Allwright case, which ended whites-only primary elections in the South.
Carlos Martinez, Advocacy Alliance Center of Texas – Martinez currently manages the outreach of civic engagement to improve voter turnout in Southeast Texas. “Women are absolutely crucial to our mission … they know how to organize and they have such influence,” he said when speaking about how women are impacting their mission. He is working hard to lead their team towards a goal of 65 percent voter participation in South Texas by 2020.
William P. Hobby – A key political ally in the Texas suffrage movement, Hobby was Texas governor when the state ratified the 19th amendment on June 28, 1919.
Edith Therrel Wilmans – A suffrage leader, lawyer and mother of three, Wilmans was also the first woman elected to the Texas State Legislature. She helped create the Dallas Housewives League and the Dallas Equal Suffrage Association.
Nonie B. Mahoney – When a bill allowing women to vote in the Texas primary election came before the state legislature, Dallas suffrage leader Nonie Mahoney secured a key “yes” vote from a Dallas legislator when she gathered 10,000 petition signatures in a matter of days.
The “Count Her In” campaign aims to influence 300,000 Texas women citizens to register to vote, seeking to increase by 3 percent the number of Texas women who are registered.