Empowering Women: A Centennial Perspective

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In August of 2020, we celebrate 100 years of the right of American women to vote. At this service, we honor the people who devoted significant portions of their lives to bring about this social change because the 19th Amendment did not fully enfranchise all American women. It took the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 to remove local limitations on voter participation. And it will take further action to reconstitute the VRA after the 2013 Supreme Court decision struck down the “coverage formula,” and doomed the powerful and particular outreach of this Act.

We have called upon the members of our historic church, past and present and listed below, to visit us and give witness to these key events. This WAS our movement (as women, as UU’s, as members of USG). It still IS our movement. THE NEED FOR MOVEMENT GOES ON.

This service is dedicated to Rebeccah Blum, beloved daughter of Susan Bockius.

Thank you to Susan for putting this service together. Susan joined USG in 2002, gave and took Adult Spiritual Development courses, chaired the USG 140th Anniversary celebration, and served on the Board.  She currently participates in a nature-centered worship group, and, until the Pandemic, worked with a team to organize the archives. She found working on this service to be a joy.

Google Doc with Resources

Women’s Voting Rights Timeline


JEANNE ALLEN has been a member of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of the Restoration for 25 years.  She was Worship Associate for five years and co-taught the adolescent sexuality program.  She was a member of the Services Programming Committee and the Social Justice Committee.  She has recently enjoyed the Elderhood program at USG.

MAGGIE BEAUMONT joined USG in 2014, served on the Adult Spiritual Development committee, is now on the Board, and an active participant in Earth Spirit Circle.

AMY BIRGE-CARACAPPA joined USG in 1998 and has delivered a number of sermons devoted to radical self-acceptance, served on the Board, mentored YRUU, served as a Worship Associate, and worked on the Ending Racism Committee. As a teenager in South East Texas, she voted for the first time in the national election of 1988 and has voted in every election since.

INGRID BROWN came to USG the Sunday after Jim Reeb was killed in Selma AL (3/14/1965) and never left. Mother of then 2 small children. Max Daskam dedicated son Michael. Fully involved in Sunday School and also UU Service Committee. Served one term on the Board during Bill Gardiner’s tenure.

DAVID BRUTON joined the church in 1963, served for three years with his wife as advisors to Liberal Religious Youth, then elected as a member of the Board of Trustees, serving a term as Board Chair. Thereafter served as Church legal counsel for several decades.

DONYA COLDWELL, a USG member for 12 years, facilitated the Women’s Music Ministry and continues to participate in EarthSpirit Circle.

ANDREA DURHAM is an attorney in Philadelphia. She is a member of the Unitarian Society of Germantown, has attended since 2007 and serves as the chief organizer of their annual Diwali celebration. 

LISA DUTTON started attending USG in 2016 and became a member in 2017. She has been active with the Welcoming Committee since 2018 and currently serves as the committee Chair. It has been interesting to learn about UU’s imprint on social justice. She is happy to be involved with this session sharing information about UU abolitionist and suffragette activity.

GALE GIBBONS  is a lifelong UU, thanks to her parents who both had previously been in different denominations and brought up Gale and her sisters in UU churches wherever they lived. After drifting away in her 20s, she came to USG in her 30s and found a home here. Her mother always told her about women and the vote and about how Gale’s grandmother couldn’t vote till after she had her first child in 1918. Gale took her daughters to the polling booth with her when they were young and told them this story.

KAY WEISER became a member of USG in March, 2013. Served as co-chair on Ending Racism Committee and MLK Day of Service and a member of the Ministry Executive Team. Has voted twice a year starting with JFK.