Sash Memorial

Image Above: Hobart & William Smith Colleges, February, 2021

In celebration of the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, Sash Memorial invited participants from across the nation to reinterpret the iconic “Votes for Women” sash. This community art project celebrates the right to vote and shows how voting remains an important tool to make this country more equitable and just. Through the recognition of individuals, Sash Memorial demonstrates how we are one country made of many.

This project kicked off in July 2020 during a community workshop held at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center. Individuals and organizations across the country participated by requesting free sash kits from Worn collaborators Miller & Toelke or chose to sew their own sash. Participants used their sashes as a platform to honor someone who upholds and promotes kindness for all people, to highlight a hope for the future, or to share a compassionate idea. Once a sash was completed it was submitted to the artists for display.

The sashes were assembled in February of 2021 at Hobart & William Smith Colleges as a monument to all of the past, present, and future efforts sustaining voting rights in the United States of America. The finished sashes and their unique stories are also displayed digitally under the hashtag #sashmemorial through participants’ social media posts.

Sashes will still be accepted for future display! Please contact us for more information and to request a Sash Kit.

Sash Memorial unfurled

Voting is the bedrock of democracy, and our constitutional right and duty as citizens. From buttons and t-shirts to bumper stickers and lawn signs, people have consistently adorned their worlds with everyday objects to announce how they will vote, that they do vote, and maybe above all that they are proud to vote. These objects are important symbols that speak about who we are and that build solidarity within political and social movements. Sash Memorial harnesses this power by inviting participants to update the iconic “Votes for Women” sash that the Suffragists wore. By including names of contemporary role models, this community-built project celebrates and uplifts all people. Through recognition of individuals, Sash Memorial shows us how we are one country made of many.
E pluribus unum!

When Sash Memorial launched in 2020, the contentious election year marked the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which enfranchised women to vote in all local and national elections. Such an important step forward in our nation’s history was fought by women and their allies for nearly a hundred years, beginning with the Seneca Falls Convention, held in 1848, which launched the movement.

The suffrage movement was born out of the fight to end slavery but it was not without its flaws. Soon after the Civil War, the movement split when some refused to support black male suffrage, which was legally realized before universal suffrage. Though the movement eventually came back together in the early 20th century, this fracture alienated women of color, leaving them out of the national political conversation and consequently out of most written history. Even after the passage of the 19th Amendment, segregation, racism, and Jim Crow laws denied the constitutional rights of millions of Americans. The civil rights movement of the 1960s fought for passage of the Voting Rights Act, which federally protected the right to vote, but even today efforts to restrict access to voting still exist.

In the unbalanced history of the United States, the right to vote was a hard-won triumph for the enslaved, for women, and for the disenfranchised. Once achieved and secured, voting became and is a powerful weapon for those whom society overlooks and oppresses. The struggle is not over, and voting remains an important tool to make this country more equitable and just.

Voting resources

Find out answers to any questions you may have about voting and take a look at a few of the organizations doing excellent work to register voters and encourage voter participation.

League of Women Voters

Black Voters Matter

Voto Latino

Fair Fight