Celebrate Jeannette Rankin

Dear friends,votes_badge

One hundred years ago today, Jeannette Rankin won the election to become Montana’s Congresswoman and the world’s first woman to occupy a seat in government. “Speak you mind even if your voice shakes.” Maggie Kuhn wrote those words long after 1916, but they capture Jeannette Rankin perfectly.

Imagine being 35, being the first female to stand in a crowd of all male representatives in a male-dominated society, and then imagine having to choose whether to cast the vote your conscience told you to, or the one your colleagues asked you to cast. Imagine being willing to risk career, friendships, fame, fortune and reputation to stand by one belief. Jeannette Rankin faced that crowd and made that choice not once, but twice – the second time all alone, surrounded by shouts and jeers.

One of the first things I remember as the director of JRPC was attending a play about Jeannette Rankin in July of 2005 in Helena. The play was “Peace is a Woman’s Job” by Allyson Adams. She brought Jeannette to life for me and introduced me to a woman I have since come to love and admire because she is the symbol of our best instincts and ideals. Allyson has written another play that focuses specifically on her first years in the public eye and the difficult choices that Jeannette had to make. Allyson promises a view of Jeannette we haven’t seen before! Please join me in celebrating this 100-year anniversary and falling in love with Ms. Rankin all over again on Saturday, November 12 at the Crystal Theatre…Betsy