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Voting for Change in Washington

“Women’s Ride to Vote” Celebrates 100 Years of women’s right to vote with diverse female speakers who advocate for human rights, civil liberties, and social justice.

Bluffton, OH: On Saturday, October 17th, hundreds of women from Allen, Hardin, Hancock, and Putnam counties will gather outdoors at 10 AM at the Bluffton Democratic headquarters at 216 W Elm. This early voting pep rally for change in Washington has a lineup that includes lawyers, activists, youth and politicians.

After the rally, people with absentee ballots and their supporters will drive in caravans to their respective Boards of Election and submit their ballots at the drop box. Expect to see many waving flags, decorated cars, lace collars, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg impersonators, as the event honors the life of RBG and simultaneously celebrates 100 years of women’s right to vote.

“We are joining together as women from all walks of life to vote in record numbers and demand that every single vote is counted,” said event organizer Jan Wiebe. “We have suffered through this season of crises and chaos, and we have had enough.”

A featured speaker is Shannon Freshour, who is running for election to the U.S. House to represent Ohio’s 4th Congressional district, against Jim Jordan. Freshour is committed to improving access to health care and education, and to repair the federal safety net for people in need of assistance.

In addition to Shannon Freshour, rally speakers include (alphabetized by last name):

  • Georgia Adams is a teacher, a chef, a musician, and an activist for social justice, with an emphasis on her Native American heritage.
  • Irma Ayers is the sister and Executive Assistant to Baldemar Velasquez, President of Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC). She was born to migrant farm workers and raised in Putnam County. Irma feels called by God to help make a difference in the lives of the migrant immigrant farmworkers.
  • Amber Basares is the founder of Pink Diamond Ladies, a mentorship program for inner city urban girls between the ages of 6-25. She is an active member of PFC Leonard F Mason Marine Corps League, and is a board member of LACNIP. She has nine years of active duty service in the Marine Corps and her passion is advocating for minorities and women.
  • Sabina Clingerman is a 10th grader at Bluffton High School. She was the youngest participant in the 2016 Women’s March from Bluffton, and went on to organize the “Enough” school walkout in protest of lax gun laws after the Parkland, Florida school shooting in 2018.
  • Micaela Deming is the policy director and Staff Attorney at Ohio Domestic Violence Network, working for an end to domestic and sexual violence and for the safety of survivors and their families.
  • Anayeli Lopez moved to the US from Mexico when she was six years old, and will share her experience as an immigrant to this country. She is an independent make-up artist and photographer.
  • Louise Myers became the mayor of Cairo in 1960, where she served for 11 years. She worked in Bluffton 18 yrs. at Excello and then GROB until her retirement in 2005. She has been a church youth leader, choir member, and music director.
  • Holly Norton is a professor of English at the University of Northwestern Ohio. She is secretary on the board for the League of Women Voters of Lima. The LWV is celebrating 100 years of existence and suffrage this year.
  • Jill Steinmetz initiated the successful Black Lives Matter demonstration in Bluffton during the summer of 2020, which drew hundreds of supporters.
  • Natalie Strayer has spent her career in financial services, recently working to grow awareness of ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) investment options for faith-based investors. Her avocation has been creating housing solutions for teenage mothers with an emphasis on their professional development. She will speak on what it means to be pro-life and anti-Trump.
  • JaMesha Williamson, J.D. is an Attorney Advisor for the Social Security Administration. She spends the bulk of her spare time working to positively impact her community, and currently sits on the board for the United Way – Greater Lima, the Bradfield Community Center, and is the Attorney Advisor to the Lima African American Chamber of Commerce. She co-founded the Millennial Action Pact (MAP), and JaMesha serves as the current President.

The event is being organized by AHEAD, and is happening in conjunction with Women’s March activists and coalitions across the country, with over 300 events planned, in all 50 states.

In January 2017, over a million Americans gathered at rallies across the world to protest Trump’s anti-woman actions in the largest single-day protest in US history. That included 106 individuals who left from Bluffton on two charter buses organized by Wendy Chappell-Dick to participate in the event in Washington D.C. “The most crucial election of our lifetimes is now underway, and the current administration is threatening to stay in office no matter its outcome. The candidates are in a tight race in Ohio, and we ask people to vote early and fight together for the future,” Chappell-Dick asserts. Both in-person and absentee voting began Oct 6.

Participants are asked to wear masks and social distance. RBG costumes and decorated cars are encouraged. Women, men, and children are welcome.

For more information on October 17 events around the country, visit womensmarch.com.

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