Over 411 people participated in Vermont Suffrage Centennial Alliance and Central Vermont Runners’ virtual Suffrage Scramble 5K during Primary Week in August. Participants, wearing sashes with the phrase Votes for Women and Votes for All, completed the 5K at a time and location of their choice during the week.
The event raised $6,850 for the Rutland Branch of the NAACP.
“We were so pleased to partner with the Suffrage Scramble to celebrate this historic anniversary, in a year when the importance of voting couldn’t be clearer,” said Tabitha Moore, president of Rutland NAACP. “It was heartening to see so many people involved in celebrating the suffrage movement, while also acknowledging that women of color did not fully receive the right to vote until the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The generous donations from the Suffrage Scramble participants will be used to support get-out-the-vote efforts and civic education in central legislative issues for people of color in Vermont.”
Since the event was virtual, participants enjoyed a reason to gather with friends or family, masked and socially distanced, for a 3.1 mile walk marking the centennial of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the vote. Some raced for a personal best time, others added up their 5K distance over the week, some kayaked, the 2-year-old was mostly in a stroller, and a 92-year-old participant completed the 5K on her pony! Teams identified as Vermont Works for Women, VSCA, Montpelier Meadows, McBigandThu, BBGE, CVR, Elizabeth Cady Stampin’s, 3 Amigos, Vermont Vixens and others, promoted spirit and camaraderie.
Interest in the Suffrage Scramble 5K spread far beyond Vermont, with participants from 12 states and from as far away as Guam and Australia. While 85% of participants registered were female, 60 “suffragents” supported the cause. Two women in their 90s recalled how proud their mothers were to have gained the right to vote in 1920. In addition, Suffrage Scramble participants in their 60s to 80s celebrated gaining the “right to run” from Title IX and the Amateur Athletic Union approximately a half century after gaining the right to vote.
Vermont Suffrage Centennial Alliance and Central Vermont Runners thank all who participated, said donations and event creator and coordinator Donna Smyers.
Central Vermont Runners, a non-profit corporation founded in 1980, serves the needs of runners in the central Vermont area. Runners of all ages and abilities from beginners to serious racers are welcome.
Vermont Suffrage Centennial Alliance is a volunteer coalition working to commemorate the 2020 centennial of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A project of the League of Women Voters of Vermont Education Fund, they offer educational programs and events.