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Nashville Public Library, Tenn.

Race and Social Equity | 2020

Innovation Summary

Votes for Women is a new, permanent exhibit that tells the story of Nashville’s role in passing the 19th Amendment and a space to explore core themes surrounding women’s roles, democracy and power. To promote the Aug. 18 virtual opening, NPL created a grassroots social media campaign to spotlight community figures and the issues important to them.

Problem Statement

When the 19th Amendment was ratified in Nashville nearly 100 years ago, cities across the country rang bells in celebration — but Nashville did not. NPL created a campaign to break this historic silence with #IRingTheBell, a social media campaign to allow everyone to ring their bells and leave a mark for the causes they care about. The campaign was an easy-to-join initiative that gave voice to anyone who wanted to raise their voice in honor of women’s rights and the power to vote.


As Votes for Women looks to the past and future of voting, NPL utilized #IRingTheBell to recognize Nashville’s crucial role — and subsequent neglect — in ratifying the 19th Amendment. The campaign provided an outlet for individuals to have a voice in the conversations about topics ranging from domestic violence to education. By leveraging strategic partnerships with key organizations throughout the city, the campaign was able to reach all corners of Nashville while remaining true to the original mission.


More than 100 individuals and organizations participated in the month-long campaign across all social media platforms. Notable participants included singer/songwriter Emmylou Harris, Nashville Mayor John Cooper and ULC’s own President and CEO Susan Benton. Also, those with less social following but incredible stories were spotlighted by NPL via social media and email marketing, providing visibility for all participants. Voices of men and women from all walks of life had their voices heard, and NPL made sure of this.