The California Tower in Balboa Park
The Alcazar Garden and the California Tower in Balboa Park. Photo by Richard Benton

The city of San Diego and San Diego Convention Center will illuminate the California Tower in Balboa Park and the Convention Center Sails Pavilion in purple and gold this week to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote.

“This week San Diego will be illuminated in colorful lights to celebrate the single largest expansion of voting rights in American history,” Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said. “Millions of women can cast their ballots in November because our nation had the collective will to enshrine in our constitution this fundamental right. My daughter will soon be old enough to vote, and this is the time to remember it would not be possible if not for people just like us who 100 years ago spoke out for what was right.”

The national “Forward Into Light” campaign called for the lighting to take place on Wednesday, the centennial anniversary, but Faulconer decided to illuminate San Diego’s landmarks for the entire week. Residents can view the lit San Diego landmarks starting at sundown Monday evening and continuing through Friday.

The campaign is led by the bipartisan Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission established by Congress.

Other organizations joining in the campaign include St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, the Women’s Museum of California and Cabrillo National Monument.

The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was officially certified on Aug. 26, 1920, following approval by Congress and ratification by two-thirds of the states. California granted women the right to vote through the passage of Proposition 4 in 1911 and became the 18th state to ratify the 19th Amendment on Nov. 1, 1919.

“The time, strategy and passion that some of the greatest women in history took to shape our future at the risk of everything to them must be celebrated,” said Aimee Faucett, Faulconer’s chief of staff. “We as women must continue to advocate and fight for the rights that we deserve and for those of others. We have always had a voice and will empower young girls to use theirs just as the suffragists did for us.”

The San Diego City Council is made up of a female majority for the first time in history. City Attorney Mara Elliott is the first woman to serve in that role. Other top positions held by women in the city include the city’s chief operating officer, two deputy chief operating officers, city clerk, independent budget analyst and 13 department directors.

–City News Service