The Coast Georgia chapter of the League of Women Voters honors a hundred years of advocating for voters with a parade through the city.
The League is a nonpartisan political organization that advocates for all Americans to have the knowledge and ability to vote. It was founded in 1920 when the 19th Amendment was ratified to give women the right to vote.
The suffragettes would usually march through Savannah, but due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, all participants will instead ride the parade route in their cars.
"We couldn’t let this go by without memorializing it in some way," chapter founder Cuffy Sullivan said. "Instead of marching down the street we get in cars and beep."
The League and its supporters will begin their procession through Savannah at 10 a.m on Saturday, August 22. The parade will begin at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and circle Forsyth and Daffin Parks.
The celebrations will be filled with period costumes, classic cars and local politicians. Savannah Mayor Van Johnson will lead the parade as grand marshal. The mayors of Richmond Hill and Tybee Island have also committed to joining the celebration.
The anniversary occurs not only in a presidential election year, but one where a woman is on the ticket. Kamala Harris will be the third woman in U.S. history to run for vice president.
Women's suffrage was granted with the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920. This was the culmination of over 70 years of advocacy, protest and fighting for the right to vote.
"This wasn’t something taken for granted. This was something fought for," said Sullivan.
She has advocated for the importance of voting in her community and her own family.
Sullivan’s grandmother already had three children before she gained suffrage in 1920. In 2020 Sullivan’s own three daughters are active voters and volunteer poll workers.
"We’re going from a woman who couldn’t vote to generations later incredibly engaged voters," she said.
The League is still helping voters today. The group does not advocate for either political party, but focuses on empowering voters. They partner with organizations like Vote 411 to help voters discover and understand the policies of candidates in local and national races.
Sullivan is especially proud of the local chapter’s work in helping increase voter turnout in under-represented neighborhoods.
"We are really in the trenches getting the word out there," she said.
Sullivan hopes in another hundred years the rights of voters will be even greater. "That every citizen who has the right and ability to vote can do it safely and securely and easily," she said.