ArtsNews asked women leaders in Westchester, “What does the vote mean to you?” Here is what they had to say:
“Each and every time I enter my polling location, greet the wonderful people at the desk, sign my name and enter my ballot confidentially and confidently, I am sincerely filled with appreciation for living in the greatest country in the world.”
– Dr. Marsha Gordon, President/CEO, Business Council of Westchester
“1) The bedrock of freedom in a democratic society is the participation of its citizens in its affairs. There is no more fundamental execution of that than a citizen’s right to vote.
2) Prior to the passage of the voting rights act in August of 1965…. state and local governments, undeterred by the 15th amendment to the constitution, denied Blacks the right to vote through discriminating legal maneuvers and policies, economic intimidation and physical threats.
There is still work to do as new ugly policies and practices across the country have emerged and continue to emerge in the latter part of this decade to threaten that precious right.”
– Dr. LaRuth Gray, Scholar-in-Residence, Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools
“Women’s right to vote means everything. It is our power and our voice that speaks out through our elected officials to ensure the best future for our mothers, sisters, daughters and granddaughters at every stage of their lives.”
– Elizabeth Bracken-Thompson, Executive Vice President & Partner, Thompson & Bender Public Relations
“In a word, ‘everything.’ My vote is my voice. I use it at every opportunity and implore women across the country and the globe to do the same. Incredible women fought so hard, and for so long, for us to have this right. We owe it to them to value it and exercise it.”
– Taryn Duffy, Director of Public Affairs, Empire City Casino
“It means that I can have my say, without anyone looking over my shoulders, with the hope that someone’s listening.”
– Dee Delbello, Publisher, Westfair Communications
“My great-grandmother was on the front-lines fighting for the right to vote. I have not missed a vote in an election since I was eligible to vote. It means a lot to me to know that I am continuing the legacy that my relative were a part of.”
– Margaret A. Cunzio, Westchester County Legislator
“We shape our society through our vote, and the presence or absence of voices in the democratic process has a profound effect on all our lives. The need for heightened awareness on the right to vote and raising the level of participation in elections by women and all eligible voters is ever present as is a call to action for ongoing outreach and voter education throughout our community.”
– Belinda S. Miles, President, SUNY Westchester Community College
A version of this article first appeared in the October issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.