Wilbraham girl using pedal power to spread the word about voting
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A young girl from Wilbraham and her parents are pedaling forward, literally, to spread the word about registering to vote.
“I hope to inspire someone to go out and register to vote or at least do something to encourage other people to go register to vote,” said Charlotte Powell, age 14.
That is the objective for Charlotte, who is currently on a 300-mile bike journey from western Massachusetts to New York with one goal: get women and others to register and cast their ballots. Two years ago, Charlotte was learning more about the women’s suffrage movement at Girl Scout meetings, a topic that is deeply personal to her.
“Getting the right to vote was something that challenged the people that were trying to get it, like women and anyone who had to fight for their right to vote,” Charlotte Powell added.
Before this summer, Charlotte did not do a lot of biking in her life, but after wanting to do this trip for the past couple years, she decided to personally challenge herself while getting the word out.
Her father, Russell, told Western Mass News that a journey like this took a lot of practice.
“We would ride six miles in a slow pace…We would do that several times a week. After school, I get off work, we go to a trail and ride…then we did a 12-mile, and then we did a 20-mile, and then we did a 24-mile, and then a 30 and 40 and slowly built our way, so now, we’re ready to do the first 50 today,” said Russell Powell.
The trip began on Wednesday with the freshman from Pioneer Valley Performing Arts getting sent off by her teachers and friends. With Charlotte and her dad on their bikes and her mom in a marked van, they have already made stops at Mount Holyoke College and Smith College and plan to stop at other colleges and universities along the route, encouraging students to register to vote. Once they reach New York, Charlotte will visit the Women’s Club of Albany.
Russell is proud of his daughter and is happy to tag along for the ride.
“I’m inspired by my daughter. It really is a great thing that she’s doing and I’m happy to support her in it,” Russell Powell noted.
As for Charlotte, she told us her work is far from over.
“I hope to be able to do something like this again and to maybe find ways to reach more people by using this experience,” Charlotte Powell explained.
Charlotte and her parents plan to reach New York by early Friday afternoon. The trip will end on Monday at the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls.
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