The League of Women Voters of New York State was founded in 1919 by a group of highly opinionated, politically engaged, fiercely dynamic, women. The League was created after women won the right to vote in New York State in 1917. We were the first ever League and one of our founding mothers was none other than Carrie Chapman Catt, an iconic suffragette who started off as an Iowa school teacher but quickly became one of the most instrumental women during the suffrage movement.
Our mission was, and continues to be, to educate and inform voters and to encourage them to vote – regardless of party affiliation. We are dedicated to ensuring that all eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their ballot without undue burden. We hold our elected officials responsible for their actions and regularly conduct candidate debates before elections. The League advocates for laws that ensure equal protection for all individuals, quality education, environmental protections, and access to adequate health care. We have fought these battles for nearly 100 years and we will continue to fight as we enter our next chapter.
2017 will be a momentous year for the League. Although we are excited about the future, there is still work to be done. We enter our 98th year concerned over the state of our state and of our nation. Our founding mothers fought for us to have the right to vote. They fought to ensure that all women had the right to make decisions about their own bodies. They fought for equality for all people regardless of race or religion. And most importantly, they fought for our democracy.
We kicked off our 100th year by making our voices heard all over New York State and in Washington. We marched in New York City, Albany, Glens Falls, Seneca Falls, Sag Harbor, Hudson, Ithaca, Utica, Rochester, and Syracuse. We marched through the streets carrying signs and chanting our battle cries. We will not let a new administration set us back 100 years. We will fight, just as we did before, and we will win.