Each month we’ll feature a Q&A with one of the commissioners of the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. August’s feature: Rose Wernicke
Q : As Board Chair of The Indianapolis Propylaeum, why is it important for the state to mark the centennial anniversary of women’s suffrage?
A: The Propylaeum’s founder, May Wright Sewall, was a leader in the suffrage movement, nationally and internationally but it took the efforts of women and men throughout the state to make women’s suffrage a reality. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge the contributions of all, rural and urban, whose efforts brought about Indiana’s ratification of the 19th Amendment.
Q: How would you encourage Hoosiers from all walks of life to promote and celebrate this important milestone in our state and nation’s history?
A: The centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment offers the opportunity to find local heroes of the movement, consider the impact that Indiana’s suffrage movement had on the nation and engage with others about the importance of suffrage in women’s lives.
Q: Who is a woman who has inspired you in your life and/or career?
A: I have looked to leaders throughout my life for inspiration and my most recent heroes are Elaine Bedel (Indiana Economic Development Corporation) and Tamara Winfrey-Harris (Central Indiana Community Foundation). Elaine serves as a great example of women helping women through her professional and philanthropic activities. Tamara is a champion for women and girls of color, and for working towards equity and inclusion.
Q: How can we encourage Hoosiers to further exercise their right to vote and participate fully in the democratic process?
A: The suffrage centennial creates a space to reflect upon the women’s movement beyond 1920, highlighting how have women’s rights improved since then and what work still needs to be done. Everyone’s participation and voice matters. I encourage you to vote, find your passion and encourage others to do the same, even if their views are different than yours.