Suffragist Flag raised Monday for WHAM


Corryn Brock | The Daily Eastern News

Eastern students Nyjah Lane (left), a graduate student studying College Student Affairs, Starr Winburn, a graduate student studying counseling, and Justice McGruder, a graduate student studying counseling, prepare to raise the Suffragist Flag Monday afternoon.

Corryn Brock, News Editor

Eastern raised the Suffragist Flag, better known as the 19th Amendment flag, in honor of Women’s History and Awareness Month Monday afternoon.

The flag follows a line of flags meant to celebrate marginalized groups. Most recently a flag was raised in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. in January and the Black Lives Matter flag was flown in honor of Black History Month.

Starr Winburn, a graduate student studying counseling, Justice McGruder, a graduate student studying counseling and Nyjah Lane, a graduate student studying College Student Affairs took part in raising the flag.

The women said they were happy to participate in the raising of the flag.

“I think having the flagpole shows Eastern’s attempt to be inclusive and diverse,” McGruder said.

They said there was some significance for them being Black women and seeing the transition from the Black Lives Matter flag to the 19th Amendment flag.

“It gives me a lot of joy just to know my campus is recognizing me, not only my heritage and my color but also recognizing that I am Black woman at the same time and I am breaking barriers and statistics by being a grad student and being at college,” Winburn said.

Lane said the meaning behind both flags represent her.

“For me and my experience being a Black woman is an everyday thing so for me separating Women’s History Month and Black History Month, it’s all together,” Lane said. “Throughout the entire year I experience being Black and being a woman so seeing (the flag) is like seeing half of my identity up there.”

McGruder said she enjoyed that the flagpole helps represent people of all backgrounds.

“I really like the Black Lives Matter Flag because of the fight that they had to go through to get the flag on campus and all of the controversy behind it and I like the inclusiveness of letting other flags fly for minoritized groups be flown to show that there is that sense of inclusivity and diversity and it helps people feel safe if their flag is flying.”

She added that Eastern is showing a step in a direction that she is happy to see with the flagpole.

“We’re getting one step closer to being more accepting of other cultures and realizing that the EIU student isn’t just a white student, isn’t just a cis student,” McGruder said. “The EIU student is anybody, it’s everybody. Having this flagpole up says ‘hey we see you, we acknowledge that you’re here on this campus.’”

Marjorie Worthington, a professor in the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, said she is hoping to see a variety of flags in the future.

She said she is looking forward to the upcoming virtual events that will be held through Eastern in March for Women’s History and Awareness Month. The events can be found on Eastern’s website.

Some events include:

Women in Leadership: How Representation Doesn’t Always Translate to Inclusion & Power on March 8

“Listening to the Ancestors: Ella Baker’s Lessons for 21st Centure Freedom Fighters” on March 8

Camille Campo Memorial Lecture on March 25


Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]