For Immediate Release - August 26, 2010

AG Coakley and Women's Groups From Around the State Honor 90th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage

Celebration of Women's Equality Day Kicks Off Statewide 'Citizenship in Action' Contest for Students and Other Educational Opportunities

BOSTON - This morning, over 14 organizations, including women's and civil rights groups along with Attorney General Martha Coakley, joined together to commemorate Women's Equality Day marking the 90 th anniversary of Women's Suffrage.

The group announced that it will initiate a statewide effort to provide educational opportunities designed to engage young people in opportunities to learn about the historic anniversary of Women's Suffrage. Fredie Kay, Esq., former Deputy Legal Counsel for Governor's Dukakis and Weld, and former Director of the Massachusetts Office of Dispute Resolution, will serve as the group's chair.

"We have been beneficiaries of all those who made great sacrifices to achieve this important victory for civil rights," said Attorney General Martha Coakley. "The right to vote was not a battle that was easily won; many women were imprisoned and went on hunger strikes in order for us to enjoy this freedom. Today, we take the opportunity to commemorate this important anniversary and to continue the work of ensuring equality for all people."

The group announced that this fall, junior and senior high school students across Massachusetts are encouraged to participate in a <strong> <em>Citizenship in Action</em> </strong> contest in observance of the 90 th Anniversary of the 19 th Amendment granting women the right to vote. Students will be invited to participate in one of three ways:

  • Write a 400-600 word essay.
  • Create a digital video - under 3 minutes in length.
  • Design a poster - up to 22"x28" in size.

Submissions must be received by Friday, October 15, 2010. Three winners will be recognized for their work in November. Suggested themes for the entries include; the story of the 19 th amendment, the right to vote and honoring the contributions of women in civic life.

The Attorney General and the Women's Suffrage Celebration Committee will also hold a free screening in November at a Boston-area movie theater of the educational version of HBO's award winning film Iron Jawed Angels. The story, which takes place in 1912, tells the story of a young group of women activists as they struggle to earn the constitutional right to vote.

Finally, the Attorney General's Office will be offering free materials to educators and anyone who works with young people on the importance of being an active, involved citizen. The Citizenship in Action © Curriculum was developed by Martha Coakley, while Middlesex District Attorney, with grant support from the United States Department of Justice Office of Justice Programming. It has been used in schools, afterschool programs and community centers with a variety of student age groups, most often middle school aged youth. It is designed to generate lively discussion and to empower young people to think about their role as active citizens of this Commonwealth. For additional information on the Citizenship in Action Contest, or to download the Citizenship in Action © Curriculum, please visit www.mass.gov/ago.

Organizations interested in learning more or directly participating are encouraged to contact Mary.T.Sullivan@state.ma.us or visit www.mass.gov/ago/womensequality.

The following organizations are participating in the Women's Suffrage Celebration Committee:

Emerge Massachusetts

Girl Scouts of Central and Western MA

Girls Scouts of Eastern MA

League of Women Voters of MA

MA Association of Women Lawyers

MA Caucus of Women Legislators

MA Commission Against Discrimination

MA Commission on the Status of Women

MA National Organization For Women (MA NOW)

MA Women's Political Caucus

Women's Bar Association of MA

Women's Bar Foundation of MA

Empower Peace

YWCA

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