Letters to the Editor - Lakeville Journal - 6-14-18

A new chapter for women’s suffrage

One hundred years ago, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution gave women the right to vote. It was an extremely controversial issue that took 70 years of demands, demonstrations, protests, speeches and finally succinct legislation to win approval in the U.S. Senate on June 4, 1919. It was another year before three-quarters of the state legislatures ratified  the Amendment, on Aug. 18, 1920: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

The public campaign for women’s suffrage began with the Seneca Falls Convention in New York in 1848. Leaders were Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia Coffin Mott, later joined by Amelia Bloomer, Susan B. Anthony and Carrie Chapman Catt. Stanton’s keynote speech was a Declaration of Sentiments in favor of equal rights for all citizens, echoing the Declaration of Independence. Famous author and freed slave Frederick Douglass also spoke.  

Other social reform movements at the time were abolitionism and temperance, as well as labor conditions and prison reform. After the Civil War, the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution freed the slaves, gave them citizenship,and gave former slaves (males only) the right to vote. America’s entry into World War I brought urgent attention to the role of women in the war effort and prompted President Woodrow Wilson to support the 19th Amendment. (The states of the former Confederacy did not ratify it.) About 8 million women voted for the first time in the presidential election of 1920.

Fast forward to 2018 and the midterm elections this November. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote for president in 2016, but lost in the Electoral College. The full power of women voting, 51 percent of the population, should be felt at the polls this year. It may also change the composition of Congress and state legislatures to include closer to equal numbers of women and men in office. 

It’s about time!

Frances R. Besmer



Volcano victims in need of help

As many of you know, I spend most of the year in Guatemala, although I’m still a resident of Salisbury, maintain a house there and vote.

The recovery efforts for the victims of the eruption of Fuego Volcano (Fire Volcano)  in Guatemala have been challenging, and the response has been overwhelming. So overwhelming that many organizations coordinating recovery are now focusing on relocating and housing victims of the destroyed villages.

If you feel compelled to make a donation, and I urge you to do so, I recommend Miracles in Action, (http://miraclesinaction.org/), which also has a home office in Naples, Fla.: Miracles in Action, 3559 Kent Drive , Naples, FL 34112.

Miracles in Action uses 100 percent of donations directly for its projects, and volcano recovery is now one of those. All administration costs are funded by specific donors in the U.S., and by fundraising here in Guatemala. All donations are tax deductible. 

Thank you for anything you can do to help.

Jim Britt

Guatemala & Salisbury


Repair sidewalks, avoid accidents

I live in the town of North Canaan and would like to bring awareness to the horrible conditions of the town sidewalks. My daughter has physical disabilities, so on long distance walks she must use her wheelchair. Our school does a program twice a week after school called Kids’ Marathon. It allows kids to walk, run or just talk to a friend while getting in some exercise.

This is one of the only after-school activities that is offered to my daughter. All other after-school sports are not adaptive so she can not participate in them. Kids’ Marathon allows her that chance to participate. Her friends love to take turns walking and running while pushing her. While being pushed the other day, her front wheel got caught in a very uneven part of the sidewalk. Her wheelchair fell over. Luckily her seatbelt kept her from getting really hurt.

The sidewalks here in North Canaan are an accident just waiting to happen for someone who is using a wheelchair! Please think of doing some repair to them. We would greatly appreciate it to prevent further accidents. 

Jessica McCue

North Canaan


Please, vote in November

This rant will be terse

I did not think it could get worse

But daily news has become

Everything I want undone

I never thought I could feel shame

For our country’s actions, who’s to blame?

We know the answer; it’s those who did not vote

Where now is the antidote?

It’s with us to make sure that we insist

That all of us in our midst

Vote in November to change our direction

And give our government a new complexion.

Michael C. Kahler