An article in the local newspaper caught my attention today, as it reminded us that today, April 16, marked 100 years since Alberta women were granted the right to vote. In her article, Paula Simon spoke about one specific lady and her speech. She wrote that “Henrietta Muir Edwards, a 58-year-old Baptist writer and mother,… travelled to Edmonton to address a major convention of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.” Simon went on to say that “Edwards’ speech was anything but temperate.” You can read Simon’s full article online at the Edmonton Journal.
Although I had read about Henrietta Muir Edwards before (and the other Famous Five women), I had never read her speech, so being curious, I looked it up. As I read Henrietta’s speech, I found myself trying to imagine what absolute courage it must have taken to go against the cultural norm when she stood and delivered a message that challenged the prevailing mindset that women were not persons.
Of the complete speech , this section was my favorite. I imagined her standing with confidence and speaking with clarity of purpose as she declared:
“We do not ask for the vote because we are antagonistic to men-far from it-we do not want the vote in order that we may vote against the men, the men are our fathers, husbands and brothers, their best interests are ours. We want the vote that we may strengthen their hands in all that stands for right and justice. As Miss Willard has said, “The whole intention of the woman movement is not to declare the rights of women, or to usurp power, or to alienate men, but on the contrary-it is to unite men and women on the most enduring plan; to study the harmonies between them, to prove that their interests are indissolubly linked, and it is a far more scientific, sensible, and Christian way of dealing with one half of the human race, because it is equally in the interests of the two halves.”
Today I honor this woman, and the 100’s of others who stood with her, for the courage she displayed and the beliefs that motivated her. Indeed, what she had to say WAS important, and needed to be heard. Some of the freedoms we enjoy today is because Henrietta Muir Edwards chose to push through the fears, and speak with confidence and clarity, transforming the cultural mindsets of her day.
I can’t help but wonder, how many other people have messages buried deep inside of them, just waiting for the right time – that when finally spoken out loud has the potential to impact generations?
What about if one of your not-yet-written messages is one of those?