[Image via tennessean]
A new student-designed “I Voted” sticker in Davidson County (Nashville), TN celebrates the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment with an image honoring the past and future of women’s suffrage in the Music City. The Tennessean has more:
Milka Negasi won’t turn 18 in time to vote in this year’s elections. But, through her art, the Nashville high school student hopes to inspire others to cast their ballot — and, when they do, to remember the fight 100 years ago for women’s right to vote.
In a contest to design a special-edition “I Voted” sticker for Nashville, Negasi, a rising senior at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet School, wanted to illustrate the diversity of the movement that began more than a century ago and continues in new ways today.
Her artwork features five women, all of different ethnicities, standing shoulder to shoulder and holding a red and white banner emblazoned with the words “I voted.” In the background, a light blue sky filled with stars shines over the Nashville skyline.
“It shows the importance of all women in the voting process, and how the inclusion of these voices is absolutely fundamental to initiating the representation people would like to see in political elections and pushing for the right changes in policy,” Negasi told the Metro Nashville Arts Commission.
County election officials worked with the Arts Commission to solicit designs from students in a contest to honor Tennessee’s pivotal role in ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment:
Metro Arts partnered with the Davidson County Election Commission to host the contest for middle and high school students to highlight Tennessee’s role in securing women’s right to vote. On Aug. 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th, and final, state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote.
Negasi’s design was selected from among 75 contest entries.
The new sticker will be available at all Davidson County early voting and Election Day voting locations for the August general and November presidential elections.
The winning design was praised for celebrating the right to vote in Nashville – past, present and future:
“I think Milka’s design has resonated so deeply with Nashville voters because it represents Nashville’s history and future,” Mayor John Cooper said in a video announcing the contest winner.
Students were permitted to enter up to three designs each, and two finalists, including Negasi, had multiple works among the eight finalists.
Other featured designs included artwork from Annika Dichtl, an eighth grader from Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet School; Colsyn Whittaker, a seventh grader from Rose Park Math and Science Magnet Middle School; and Eleanor Taylor and Sarah Vallejo, who are both sophomores at Harpeth Hall School.
“We embrace our diversity as an asset to our community,” Hume-Fogg Principal Kellie Hargis said in a congratulatory video to Negasi. “So it makes me very proud to see that same spirit on display in your art.
“Your work … goes beyond an acknowledgment of the past and its historical significance. It extends into the future as a message of hope and justice through unity.”
I will admit that I am a sucker for a good I Voted sticker story – as is my friend and colleague Mindy Moretti of electionline.org, who has no doubt already placed her request for a sample of the winning design for her collection! Such stories may seem insubstantial next to concerns about election cybersecurity or voting during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are central to the election experience and part of the continuing effort to use artwork as a way to spotlight the voting process. Congratulations to Milka Negasi on the winning design – and here’s hoping that Nashville will find a way to get these stickers into voters’ hands however they end up voting in 2020. Stay tuned …