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    Saturday, December 03, 2022

    This year's 'I voted' stickers a tribute to Connecticut suffragettes

    (Courtesy of the Connecticut Secretary of the State's Office)

    One of the more celebrated aspects of Election Day is receiving an “I voted” sticker after casting a ballot.

    This year, voters in Connecticut were treated to stickers with the portraits of Josephine Day Bennett, Elsie Hill, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Anna Louise James and Mary Emma Townsend Seymour, who were all active in the state’s suffrage movement in the early 20th century.

    Some of the stickers also recognized Maria Clemencia Colon Sanchez, of Puerto Rico and Hartford, who championed bilingual education in Connecticut's public schools and, in 1988, became the first Hispanic woman elected to the state General Assembly. Others paid tribute to the hundreds of Connecticut women who cast their first national ballots in 1920 and some featured the phrase "Equality is the sacred law of humanity," one of the suffrage movement's slogans.

    This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote, and the stickers acknowledge the role Connecticut women played in the suffrage movement.

    Wilton resident Pamela Hovland, a faculty member at Yale University and longtime visual activist, came up with the idea, which received support from Secretary of the State Denise Merrill and became a statewide initiative. Hovland, who has been researching and writing about the suffrage movement for a number of publications for much of this year, created a series of stickers commemorating Wilton women involved in the movement for the primary election in town as part of its efforts to mark the centennial. That generated interest in featuring women, and a more diverse representation of women, from across the state.

    Here's a bit about the women featured:

    Bennett, who lived in Hartford, was a member in three different suffrage associations, including the National Woman’s Party, which advocated for Black and working-class women to be included in suffrage, union and civil rights movements. She ran for U.S. Senate in 1920 as Connecticut’s Labor Party candidate.

    Hill, a resident of Norwalk, traveled across the country giving speeches for the Connecticut Suffrage Association and the National Woman’s Party, of which she was a longtime organizer and officer. 

    Hooker, of Litchfield and Hartford, helped found the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association in 1869 and organized women’s rights conventions throughout the state.

    James, who lived in Old Saybrook, was active in local political organizations and one of the first women and African Americans to register to vote in town. She was also the first Black female pharmacist in Connecticut.

    Seymour, of Hartford, the first African American woman to run for the General Assembly, became a civil rights champion and is known for her commitment to fighting for equal rights and full citizenship for all, regardless of race.

    j.bergman@theday.com

    (Courtesy of the Connecticut Secretary of the State's Office)
    (Courtesy of the Connecticut Secretary of the State's Office)
    (Courtesy of the Connecticut Secretary of the State's Office)
    (Courtesy of the Connecticut Secretary of the State's Office)
    (Courtesy of the Connecticut Secretary of the State's Office)
    (Courtesy of the Connecticut Secretary of the State's Office)
    (Courtesy of the Connecticut Secretary of the State's Office)
    (Courtesy of the Connecticut Secretary of the State's Office)
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