Episode 2: Sarah Jane Weaver interviews Katherine Kitterman and Rebekah Ryan Clark about the right to vote

In 1842 the Prophet Joseph Smith formed The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ first women’s organization known today as the Relief Society, stating, “this is the beginning of better days.”

That promise was fulfilled as Latter-day Saint women continued to serve their community and advocated for the equal voting rights of women in Utah and the United States.

Better Days 2020 is a nonprofit dedicated to popularizing this history as the year 2020 marks a year of celebrations for voting rights — the 150th anniversary of Utah women being the first in the nation to vote, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment generally granting women the vote, and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act protecting voting rights for women and men of all races.

Better Days’ historical director Katherine Kitterman and historical research associate Rebekah Ryan Clark look at the privilege and duty of voting and share the story of the pioneering suffragettes who bravely blazed the path for the right to participate in elections. 

Subscribe to the Church News podcast on Apple PodcastsAmazonGoogle PodcastsStitcherSpotifybookshelf PLUS or wherever you get podcasts.

Transcription of the podcast

Sarah Jane Weaver: With Election Day in the United States approaching, we decided to dedicate this episode of the Church News podcast to the right to vote. This discussion follows the Oct. 6 letter from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, encouraging all Church members in the United States to vote. This year is also an important time to talk about voting. The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of Utahns being the first American women to vote under equal suffrage law. It also marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, extending women’s suffrage throughout the United States and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which protects voting rights for racial minorities. Today I am joined by Katherine Kitterman, historical director for Better Days 2020, and Better Days 2020 historic research associate Rebekah Clark. The pair also authored the book “Thinking Women: A Timeline of Suffrage in Utah,” which is published by Deseret Book. Katherine and Rebekah, it’s so nice of both of you to take some time for us today for the Church News podcast.

Katherine Kitterman and Rebekah Clark: Thank you, we’re glad to be here.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Great. Katherine, why don’t we start with you? Can you tell us what’s so important about the year 2020 when it comes to suffrage?

1:14

Katherine Kitterman: As you mentioned, the year 2020 marks these three really important anniversaries for women’s voting rights in particular. Many of the opportunities and events that we had planned to celebrate those anniversaries had to be changed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it was a really important moment to look back at where we’ve come from. A lot of people, I think, are surprised to realize that it was so recently that many women were able to actually cast ballots and be part of government and the political process in that way. For me as a Latter-day Saint looking back on this history, and thinking about Utah women’s leading role in moving suffrage rights forward, has been important because I see myself differently when I recognize the legacy that came before me of women who wanted to make sure that we would all have a say in government.

Sarah Jane Weaver: How about you, Rebekah, do you want to weigh in there as well?

2:05

Rebekah Clark: Absolutely. As for talking about these anniversaries, as a Latter-day Saint woman, I love the fact that these suffrage anniversaries are converging with the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, because these early suffragists just here in Utah actually saw their role working for women’s rights and working to improve their communities through those rights, they saw that as part of the Restoration of the gospel, and I think that is such a fascinating and really instructive lesson for us. The early Relief Society records include Joseph Smith promising that knowledge and intelligence shall flow down from time and this is the beginning of better days for women. So that was a prophetic declaration from Joseph Smith that came six years before the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls. Later leaders, including Sarah Kimball, and President George Albert Smith, continuing on today with our current Relief Society General President, have looked back to that declaration from Joseph Smith as really the beginning of the modern women’s movement that got the ball rolling, and so we see this connection between all of these anniversaries in 2020, that I think is really special and meaningful for us as members of the Church.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Great. Can we look back to some of the context of what was happening 150 years ago, and why Latter-day Saint women played such an important part in that? Why was Utah on the leading edge of what happened and on suffrage? Katherine, why don’t you weigh in first?

3:46

Katherine Kitterman: So there were a lot of factors that converged after the Civil War that really made it a moment for people, we are talking about voting rights that you could have a say in government. We’ve got to go back even a little bit further if you think about the ratification of the Constitution for the United States that left the decisions about voting and voting qualifications up to the state, so each state could set their own rules about who was able to vote and participate. As the movement for women’s voting rights began, as people started to talk about the injustices that women faced in society, for example, their legal and social disabilities, as they call them, the things that were making life harder for them not being able to own their own wages have access to education and professional opportunities, things like this. People started talking about seeking the right to vote as a way to remedy those problems. If women could have a say in government and have a voice in electing their representatives who would be making their laws, that they would be able to change those laws for the better. 

And so as these discussions were happening following the end of the Civil War, there were a lot of things going on in national politics and Utah politics that converged, and one of those was actually the issue of polygamy. As the Republicans in Congress were seeking to end that practice and looking for ways to promote stricter anti-polygamy laws, some suffragists in the East kind of married the two causes and suggested, actually, first, that we should allow women in Utah the right to vote, because they might somehow end polygamy. They’d be able to kill two birds with one stone in that way. That proposal never made it through Congress, but it started discussions here in Utah. There were lots of reasons why lawmakers in the territory decided to enfranchise women. They voted unanimously to pass this law in February of 1870. But one of the reasons I think is most important is that women themselves were seeking a voice in political affairs. They were standing up, they were holding protest meetings across the territory to protest this anti-polygamy legislation that was being proposed in Congress. They were showing that they could be articulate and effective political actors, that they were organized, that they could mobilize women, and that they could be trusted political partners with men, if they were allowed to have a say in government. I think that’s the most important piece of the story to me, is that women were seeking ways to make their voices heard, both to defend the kingdom of God, as they described it at the time, and as well as just being involved in their community, making things better on a local level. I think that’s really important to remember that they sought this to work together with men to make their world better in any way that they could.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Great. Rebekah, you actually wrote your honors thesis on Utah’s post-statehood participation in the National Women’s Suffrage Movement.

6:31

Rebekah Clark: When I first discovered this story, I was a freshman in college. I was at Harvard, I was in Laurel Ulrich’s classroom doing a history class and first discovered this, and it struck me so much to learn that my foremothers, women in the church, had been so actively involved in, actually at the forefront of the women’s movement. And as I, it kind of sparked in me, wanting to learn more, right, I was finding my place in the world. I was finding myself reflected in these models as women. As I continued for those next four years to do more and more research, and became so passionate about learning about this, I think one of the pieces that struck me most and why I decided to focus more on the post-statehood piece was that they stayed involved in active involvement in the women’s movement, even after they secured their own rights. 

So women in Utah received the right to vote in 1870, but Congress had taken it away from them through federal legislation in 1887, because of anti-polygamy legislation. So they worked and they mobilized and they got the vote back. But then, after they received the rights for themselves, they stayed involved and really felt this commitment and dedication to the suffrage path itself and to spreading these rights throughout the nation. And they became involved in, not just in voting and using their right actively, which they did in large numbers, but they also became involved in public office and immediately started running for office. And we have these wonderful early women in leadership that are great models that kind of set the stage for women in leadership today, here in Utah, and with a community that was just so saturated in religiosity, right? And so suffrage for them had many motivations, as Katherine was mentioning, and polygamy was very much intertwined, and their desire to counteract negative stereotypes and develop alliances with Eastern suffragists would be helpful for them as they advocate on behalf of Utah, but there was also this deep commitment to equality and suffrage and women’s rights itself. And you see that really come through even more after they’ve secured their own rights and they stay involved to help others. We have quotes for women that I just love saying, “we who have accepted the new gospel of equal rights, must labor with untiring zeal for the redemption of the masses.” You see them kind of referring to it as “the gospel of equal rights” and wanting to, in a sense, be missionaries to share this understanding of the broader role of women, and that reflects Latter-day Saint doctrines of individual agency and female divinity and eternal progression, and that gives theological support and a spiritual dimension to their advocacy as well.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, Rebekah, we’ll just have you continue because eventually, this movement that was so strong in Utah has a huge impact nationally, and we get the 19th Amendment. Let’s talk about that.

9:56

Rebekah Clark: Yeah, the advocacy that Latter-day Saint women had for the 19th amendment actually started very early on in the 1870s. So they had a long standing commitment to a constitutional amendment securing women’s right to vote. And I love that because nationally, there was a phase where a lot of the national suffrage leaders kind of pulled away from the amendment and focused more on a state-by-state approach, as we’re at the beginning of the 20th century. But Latter-day Saint women had personally experienced the weaknesses and the fragility of legislatively granted (rights), because their rights had been taken away by Congress. 

And so they understood, maybe better than anyone, the need to have those rights secured in the Constitution. And very early on in the 1870s, Emmeline B. Wells, who was the preeminent suffragists here in Utah, she organized women and really mobilized the Relief Society organization to gather signatures, tens of thousands of signatures on petitions on behalf of the National Women’s Suffrage Association, seeking a constitutional amendment. 

And that continues – this ability to mobilize and use the Relief Society structure to give support for that amendment continues all throughout the first two decades of the 20th century as they are very proactively seeking for the amendment. And so by the time you get to the ratification of the 19th amendment here in Utah, we already had several women who were serving in Utah’s legislature, in the Senate and in the House of Representatives here, and they played important roles in those sessions, as they were ratifying. And the ratification only took 30 minutes, and was unanimous here in Utah, because we, at that point, had 50 years of really strong support for women’s right to vote here.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Katherine, do you have anything to add in our discussion about the 19th amendment?

12:09

Katherine Kitterman: Yes, you can read a lot more of the details of this history that Rebekah has been talking about in our book, “Thinking Women: A Timeline of Suffrage in Utah” and that’s available through Deseret Book. But there’s so many pieces of this story that had to come together at once. Women had to convince male lawmakers to pass laws that would allow women to participate in this discussion. There were so many ways that women sought to convince those male legislators in Congress, and so there were parades and petitions, lobbying, meeting with legislators, trying to convince them. One of the things that was really important was that lawmakers could look back at the places where women had been able to vote, especially in Utah, as Rebekah mentioned. Women had voted for a total of 41 years then by the time the 19th amendment became law in 1920. But women in Utah were often brought to testify before congressional committees that the sky didn’t fall in when women voted, to show that the effects of women being involved in the political process were positive, that when men and women both had a say in government, that there were better decisions being made when all perspectives were being considered. 

I think that’s a really important thing to remember here in Utah, as women started to vote in 1870. They were the first substantial population of women voters in the United States, and so people really watched to see what would happen. They had to counter a lot of arguments that anti-suffragists made about why women shouldn’t be involved in politics. Many people had really believed that women were too emotional, or not smart enough to vote, and that their voices were already represented by their husbands or fathers, and so they shouldn’t have to have another say in government and in politics, or that they would just do what other people told them to do. Especially, the argument was always levied that these Latter-day Saint women were just voting the way their husbands told them to, or their church told them to. 

Latter-day Saint women who had been voting and who wanted to counter that perception had good reason to point to their independence, to their articulateness, to their education and to their desire to make a difference in their community. Then you’ve been pointed to the fact that they were tax payers, and so they should have the right to have a say in how their tax dollars were spent. But there were lots of ways that the experience of women in Utah, and of Latter-day Saint women voters in particular, helped to assuage some of the fears that people had about women voting and being involved in politics. Another one was that women wouldn’t be able to be involved in politics or have a say, take the time to vote and take care of their families. But Latter-day Saints women showed that that was possible and that they were able to do both, and that it was also their rightful place as citizens and equal citizens of the United States to have a say in the laws of our country.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Great. Rebekah, you mentioned that in addition to wanting to vote, that Latter-day Saint women also took an active role in the political process. My maiden name is Cannon, knowing that Martha Hughes Cannon was a huge family hero of ours. And what we love most about her is that she actually ran for political office against her husband, my great-great-great grandfather, Angus M. Cannon, and won. So, Rebekah, why don’t you give us a little insight on actually what women did to be active participants in politics in Utah?

15:30

Rebekah Clark: Well, I love Martha’s example in so many ways, but also because of exactly what Katherine was just talking about –  how she really stood out as a way to counteract the anti-suffrage arguments that women would just vote the way their husbands do. There’s no better example of the independence in voting of women than Martha. She not only voted differently than her husband; they were in two different parties, and she ran against him on a different ticket in a different party. So you really see within their relationship that they were able to have that relationship, and, you know, there are letters saying that things were going well at home. I’m sure there were some tense moments here in the midst of that election. But they continued on the next year, and she had a child while serving in office, and she was able to really stand on her own. She was a doctor and she felt very strongly about public health legislation. 

So what we see with these women, especially these early women, and and really today with anyone who gets involved in public service, they had issues that really meant a lot to them individually. So with Martha Hughes Cannon, her number one priority was improving public health, because she had seen the effects of, you know, different things that are happening within Utah, sickness, and there was just this new understanding of germs and how those spread. So the legislation that she passed with her public health bill dramatically improved the health of people living here and she was drawing on her knowledge as a doctor in doing that, and she worked really hard to get that legislation passed. She was very savvy in how she got her legislation passed as well. They were really paving their own way, as women in this world that had been so long dominated all by men, right, within the legislature, and they have to find their own way to to be able to create alliances and gain support from the men they were working with and not have it be a conflict, right? That’s a hallmark of women’s suffrage here in Utah throughout the 50 year history – is the collaboration across aisles and across, between men and women here, that support and that collaboration together. I think a large part of that comes from these shared and shared religious objectives and perspectives that many of them had, and that transcended gender division. But the women within the legislature also banded together and worked together to support each other on the issues that mattered most to them. 

So during the second term, Martha was serving in the Senate, and Alice Meryl Horne was serving as the third woman in Utah’s House of Representatives. We get these wonderful little moments described in Alice’s journal, her autobiography, sorry, where they describe how they work together and were strategic in which bills they were going to focus on. From Martha, it was a public health bill that mattered most, and for Alice, it was her art bill and establishing the first state-run art institute in the nation because she was an artist, and that mattered to her to make good art available to the public. So they helped each other to secure the votes needed, to the point that even when there were moments that they were worried it might not pass, they scattered yellow flowers across the desk of all the men in the House and the Senate. The yellow flower was the symbol of the women’s suffrage movement. So this was a very clear reminder that the women now have the vote, we have a voice. Behind these two women who are serving in Utah’s legislature together were all the women in Utah, and they had access to their support, and they could draw on that if needed. So it was a very tangible reminder of the power that came with women’s suffrage.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Great. Katherine, can you tell us what women today can learn from the example of these women a century ago who were so involved in the political process?

20:00

Katherine Kitterman: Sure. I think there’s so much we can learn from them. And we’ve gathered a lot of pieces of this history as part of the nonprofit that we work for, Better Days 2020, online, so you can read more at utahwomenshistory.org, and betterdays2020.org to find pieces of the story. I think one of the things that’s most important to me is that there were many different women working in many different ways to make the changes happen that they wanted to see in their society. Sometimes they were working at odds, you know, against each other on opposite sides of the political spectrum or for different goals. Sometimes even when they had a shared goal, they had different ideas about what the best tactics and strategies would be to bring that goal to pass. But I think what inspires me, looking back, is that long heritage of women stepping up and stepping in and having a goal. Not everybody feels like their calling in life, or that their talents or skills lend themselves to say, running for political office, or becoming president of a club or something like this. But there are so many examples we have found, as we’ve dug into this history of Latter-day Saint women who ran for office in their local county or town elections, or who worked to make education more equitable by making sure that everybody had equal access to education, or who fought for disability rights, or made sure that everybody would be able to enter their professions by breaking down barriers that had kept women out of professions like the law or, you know, medicine, other things like this. 

So I think what I learned when I look back at those women’s strengths is that my voice matters as a citizen of the country where I have to stay in politics, but I need to be an informed and educated voter, and that the decisions that I make, both in my voting and in my civic engagement in other ways, really can have a difference and be a positive influence for good across generations. So I’m inspired by them, to not just complain about problems that I see, but to try to dig in and do something about that in my own local community.

Sarah Jane Weaver: In recent months in the United States, we have also talked a lot about race, and this discussion comes at an interesting time. It’s the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which protects the right to vote for racial minorities in this country. Katherine, can you talk to us about the importance of that act?

22:13

Katherine Kitterman: Yes. It’s a hugely important piece of the suffrage legacy, if you want to think about it that way. And it was really necessary, because of the ways that laws were written. So if we’re going to take a step back to the 19th amendment in 1920: the wording in that amendment does not say “all women now can vote.” What it says is that states and the United States can’t keep someone from voting simply because of their gender. So you can’t keep women from the polls simply because they are women, but there were still many other ways the individual states and the government used to keep other people out of the electorate and not be able to vote. 

So for example: poll taxes, literacy tests, other things that really disproportionately affected women and men of color, and those with lesser financial need. So this, this piece of legislation that was finally enacted in 1965 was the result of decades of effort. So as women had secured the 19th Amendment, many, many, many women of color still continued to advocate for actual access to the polls. The 19th Amendment alone wasn’t enough to do that, and so they pushed, and they lobbied, and they marched, and they made their voices heard, because they believed in democracy. They wanted to have a voice in their government, and they believed that America would be better when everybody has a say. 

So I’m really inspired by their activism, their continued dedication and perseverance, their patriotism, really, to make this country a better place and to reach those ideals that we’ve been talking about ever since the founding and striving for and haven’t quite gotten there yet. So I think that’s a really important piece to remember of this story. 

Another piece is to remember that not everybody, especially leading white women in the suffrage movement, saw that as important. Many of them sidelined or turned a blind eye to the concerns of women and men of color when they talked about disenfranchisement. I think this is a moment that we can look back at that history, learn from that, learn from their blind spots and their mistakes and their biases, and to try to open our own worldview, to make it more inclusive, to really act out our belief in the equality of all women and men and all of our place as children of God in a society that we’re trying to build together.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Rebekah, looking back, can you tell us what is so important about the voting rights act for you personally?

24:34

Rebekah Clark: Well, I want to echo everything that Katherine said as she played that out. You know, there were so many federal and local either laws or practices as voting polls, that kept so many people for so long from having a full voice. We can’t just ignore all of those mistakes and the blind spots, as Katherine said. But we can build on the legacies that these women who have gone before us laid out for us. So they didn’t do it perfectly, and we will not do everything perfectly, we’re definitely not. But we are, as these women said, envisioning better days ahead, and that’s what we are trying to do here with our organization, is to look back to women who have accomplished so much in the past for women’s rights, and then to try to build on that, to go farther, and to do what we can to use our voices, and help everyone to have that equal voice, because each voice matters in our governments. 

I think back to Eliza R. Snow in the 1870s, when women very first started being able to vote here in Utah, and she kept reminding them, “your vote matters and weighs as heavily as Brigham Young’s or any of the other leaders in the church. So you should consider yourselves important on election day.” That extends to all of us today – each vote matters and counts just as much as anyone else’s. Emmeline Wells says that women considered it as much a duty to vote as to say her prayers. I think that that also applies to us today, that it goes beyond just oh, this is a good thing to do. It is necessary, and it is our duty, as citizens in this country, and as Latter-day Saints, where we have a unique perspective, and we have this gift of the Spirit in our lives, and we want to share that and have that person’s perspective reflected as we vote, and so each voice matters. It’s important for us to share that voice, but also to do everything we can to make sure that all children of God have that same right.

Sarah Jane Weaver: What an important thing to remember, especially during this charged political season. In the days after the Church’s 190th Semiannual General Conference, the First Presidency actually issued a statement asking all Latter-day Saints in the United States to vote, and I’m going to have both of you comment on that. I want to read a little bit of it first. They start and say, “citizens of the United States have the privilege and duty of electing office holders and influencing public policy. Participation in the political process affects their communities and nations today and in the future. We urge Latter-day Saints to be active citizens by registering, exercising their right to vote, and engaging in civic affairs.” So let’s start with Katherine. Tell us why this is such an important thing.

27:58

Katherine Kitterman: Sorry, I’m getting emotional about this. I feel incredibly blessed to live in a country where I can have a say in the laws that are made that govern my life and my family’s life, and that will shape the world for my family in the future. I I feel it my duty as a Latter-day Saint to influence those decisions, to use the the talent, or the intellect, or the life experiences that I’ve been able to gather along the way to help shape those conversations, making sure that everyone’s voice is heard, that we can have a seat at the table and talk together about the problems that we face. We can wrestle with those decisions, and we’re not always going to agree with the decisions that are made. But if our voices are part of that conversation, we can help to shape it and make it more reflective, and more just for all of us, and something that will build towards the future that we want to live in with our family. 

I’m incredibly grateful for the heritage I have, you know, as a woman living in Utah, and a Latter-day Saint of generations of women who have come before me, who felt the importance of having a say in government, who felt that they had something to say, and who pushed to break down barriers so that they and I could have a voice and be part of those discussions that will shape our world for the generations to come. So I’m very grateful for that opportunity to vote and be involved in this process, especially in this anniversary year.

Sarah Jane Weaver: And that’s only part of it. Exercising our right to vote is only half of the equation. You know, the church affirms that as an institution, it’s neutral regarding political parties and candidates, but in their letter to Latter-day Saints in the United States, they also urge people to spend the time to become informed about the issues and candidates that they will be considering. Rebekah, tell us why it’s important that we not only vote, but that we vote as informed voters.

29:54

Rebekah Clark: I love that point that you are bringing out here. So the book that Katherine and I co-authored together, we titled it “Thinking Women,” because we wanted to bring out the importance of that thoughtfulness and the agency that we each have and that the women early on who were working for suffrage had that. I love that when women here in Utah first received the right to vote in 1870, that the Relief Society immediately started holding lessons organized by Sarah Kimball, lessons on the Constitution, on parliamentary procedure, on civics and just how government works. It was so important to them right from the start to not only just go and cast a ballot, because you’re right, that is just one piece of the puzzle, but that doesn’t matter, and it’s not truly using your voice if you don’t understand the issues, and they’re so complex. We are dealing with complicated issues that require a lot of research and thought and wrestling. As we learn more and seek information from a variety of sources so that we can get the most accurate picture possible, and then make our decisions prayerfully we can let our light shine. 

And I just feel that is such an important blessing that we have, as Katherine said, to live here and to have that right. The women in the early suffrage movement here in Utah, you know, their story, is a story of women who were very active and outspoken and broad-minded. They were also steadfastly faithful. They worked together. They bridged a lot of gaps, a lot of differences. They definitely did not agree on everything. There was room for different voices, but they were respectful, and they would discuss things and there was dialogue. They were able, by doing so, to come to the most good for their society. That’s what we’re working for, is that we use our voice, we learn about the issues so that we can, you know, vote in an educated and knowledgeable way, so that our vote can be an influence for good. I really believe that the most good comes from having the most voices being able to be expressed, and having the seat at the table.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Great. That’s so important to remember as we wrap up another edition of the Church News podcast. I’m Sarah Weaver, your host, and today we were joined by Katherine Kitterman and Rebekah Clark who are of Better Days 2020, and the authors of “Thinking Women” published by Deseret Book. As is tradition with the Church News podcast, we like to give our guests the final say, and we have you answer one important question. And that question is, what do you know now? And so Rebekah, why don’t you start? And after studying and spending the bulk of your career committed to learning more about suffrage, and the right to vote, and the right of the participation of Latter-day Saint women in politics, what do you know now that will help you during this political season and as you approach November’s election?

33:36

Rebekah Clark: Well, first, as we’ve mentioned, that every voice matters, and that includes my own, so I need to make sure that I vote and that I teach my children the importance of being involved in our society and taking an active role. I’ve learned a lot as I have really delved into the motivations behind the women’s activism here in Utah for suffrage. You know, it was multifaceted, and they saw it as a duty, they thought, as necessary to vote as to pray. And I have come to really believe that and I feel like this year, as we see so much division happening in our nation,  it’s important for each of us and for me personally to be able to have a say and participate, and I feel that duty. I also feel the deep, spiritual dimension that these early women suffragists here within the Church felt, that this is a God-given gift, and that we have this blessing to be able to share the “gospel of equal rights” that we have been taught, and to be able to share our perspective. In doing so, we can work for equality and we can work for the most influence for good we can have. 

Sarah Jane Weaver: You can find more information about Katherine and Rebekah’s research on BetterDays2020.com. And now, Katherine, let’s close with you. What do you know now?

35:25
Katherine Kitterman: That’s a great question. I think in the years that I’ve been diving into this research and looking for stories of women who’ve made a difference, the message that keeps hitting home to me over and over again, is that there are thousands and literally millions of women who worked together, and men, who worked together to make women’s right to vote a reality in this country. It took decades of effort. And maybe that’s depressing that it took so long and so many people. But what’s important to me is that there were so many more people who made a difference than just the ones that you might have read about in history books are the people whose names we already know that everyday, ordinary people can make history, and make important good things happen as they seek to be informed, as they use their vote and their voice in society, and as they try to gather others  with them to make positive change, and ensure that our society gets better as we move toward the future. I am really inspired by that, to think about the ways that I use my time and my energy and my talents as a Latter-day Saint to try to build and to create a better world for the future.