Trailblazers: Then and now

Trailblazers Vote Then Now

PITTSBURGH — It’s been 100 years since American women fought for and won the right to vote. Yet today, many Americans are apathetic about exercising this fundamental civic duty. 

The 28-minute documentary Trailblazers of the Suffrage Movement – Celebrating 100 Years premieres Thursday, September 17 at 8pm on WQED-TV.

The documentary will stream simultaneously as part of an online virtual event titled Trailblazers: The Vote, Then and Now. Immediately following the online documentary screening, WQED’s Minette Seate will moderate a virtual discussion, with a distinguished panel discussing the suffrage movement of the early 20th century and its implications today.

Documentary description

Trailblazers of the Suffrage Movement – Celebrating 100 Years is a documentary remembrance of the fight for women’s and civil rights. The film is an in-depth look at the trailblazers who helped make the 19th Amendment a reality and features archival photographs and conversations with local women whose ancestors played a vital role in women’s suffrage. The film is a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the women’s movement, with a focus on Pennsylvania activists, and includes a special appearance by Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.

The film was directed by Lauren Zito and produced by Women in Film and Media.

The schedule is as follows:

8pm/WQED-TV and Online/Documentary: Trailblazers of the Suffrage Movement – Celebrating 100 Years

8:28pm/Online Only/Virtual Discussion: Trailblazers: The Vote, Then and Now 

To watch the documentary online and to join the online virtual discussion immediately after – please register in advance:

Funding for Trailblazers: The Vote, Then and Now virtual discussion is provided by Coffee Tree Roasters.

Additionally, WQED’s Trailblazers initiative includes a video vignette series Trailblazers: Women to Know.

The Pittsburgh region boasts some of the country’s most inspiring women who have blazed a trail for many to follow. From politics and broadcasting, to law and the civil rights movement, local young people reflect on the women who have inspired them.

The one-minute videos can be viewed on WQED-TV, at www.wqed/org/trailblazers and on social media. New episodes are being released monthly.

Featured Trailblazers include:

·       Alma Speed Fox, Civil Rights Activist

·       Marie Torre, TV Journalist

·       Hon. Kim Berkeley Clark, Allegheny County President Judge

·       Jennie Bradley Roessing, Pittsburgh Suffragist

·       Gwen Elliott, Pittsburgh Police Commander

·       Rachel Carson, Environmentalist

Funding for WQED’s Trailblazers initiative is provided by Oakland Catholic High School and Providence Point.


Minette Seate, Panel Moderator

Minette Seate is Supervising Producer at WQED Pittsburgh. Throughout her career she has written and produced a range of television programs from the acclaimed weekly talk show “Black Horizons” – the longest running minority affairs program in the U.S. — to Emmy Award winning documentaries, live studio events and shorts — many of which have focused on Pittsburgh’s African American community. Her multi-camera live studio broadcasts include the “State of Black Pittsburgh” and the “THINK” community affairs series. She is also the host and producer of the weekly film series “Filmmakers Corner” airing Saturday nights on WQED. In 2019 Minette was awarded a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award for the documentary “Friends and Neighbors,” a look at the continuing legacy of Fred Rogers. She also received the 2020 Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Excellence Award for the same program. 

Eileen Olmstead

Eileen Olmsted is a longtime member of the League of Women Voters and has held many positions in the League, including having been president or co-president four times as well as multiple turns in charge of voter service, membership and other League board positions. For many years, her passion has been the idea of “good government”, born of the experience of having lived overseas in South America and the Middle East for many years and seen what inefficiency, incompetence and corruption can do to a society. A transplant to Pittsburgh from California in 2007, she soon became active in the Pennsylvania League, locally and at the state and national levels as well. 

Lalah C.Williams

Lalah C. Williams is a junior (Class of 2022) at Chatham University majoring in Policy Studies and minoring in French. Originally from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, she enjoys camping, traveling and exploring Pittsburgh. Outside of class, she serves as the Vice President for Student Diversity & Inclusion of Chatham Undergraduate Student Government. She is members of the R.I.S.E. mentorship program, Women’s Living Learning Community, Chatham Democrats and the campus’ Diversity and Inclusion Council. She is also a proud lifetime Girl Scout and Gold Award recipient. At the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics Lalah is Program Assistant. Her responsibilities include connecting with partners of the center, creating marketing materials, and advertising events & executing events. 

Lauren Zito

Lauren Zito , Vice-President – WIFM Pittsburgh – Lauren is a graduate with a BFA 1992 from the University of Southern Maine with a Bachelors of Fine Arts and holds an MFA in fine arts from the University of Pennsylvania and settled in Pittsburgh 20 years ago. Upon touching down in the steel city, she immediately went to work at the Carnegie Museum of Art, planning, coordinating, and assisting with the development of nationally recognized exhibitions, art installations, and art handling. For the past 20 years Lauren has taught Fine Arts, Graphic Design and Multi-Media at several local universities. She is currently the Academic Chair of the School of Design and Engineering Technologies at Pittsburgh Technical College. Lauren is also the owner and founder of Francis Rocks Productions, LLC which specializes in commercial, event, and dramatic video production in western Pennsylvania.

Angela Reynolds, Ph.D.

Angela Reynolds, Ph.D, a native of New Haven CT is committed to racial justice and gender equity. For 12 years, she was an Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh where she taught statistics and performed research on housing policy, specifically affordable housing and fair housing. In 2012, she changed careers and joined the United Way of Southwestern PA where she most recently served as the Senior Director of United for Families and 2-1-1. Under her leadership, 2-1-1 expanded to cover 30 counties in PA and provided coverage for Southern Kentucky. She served on the state PA 2-1-1 board and 2-1-1 national steering committee. February 24, 2020, Dr. Reynolds transitioned to YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh where she serves as Chief Executive Officer. YWCA aims to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace and justice in our region. She is a mother of four and associate pastor. She resides in the Windgap neighborhood of Pittsburgh with her husband, youngest child, and her mother. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis from the Heinz School at Carnegie Mellon University; M.S. in Statistics also from CMU; and a B.A. in Mathematics (Sociology minor) from Bryn Mawr College. 

Eleanor Schlick

Eleanor Schlick is a junior at Quaker Valley High School and a politically active young woman with an interest in world affairs. She is involved in Mock Trial, Model United Nations, and Quaker Valley’s Cultural Alliance. 


About WQED

WQED was an experiment in educational community-supported television that was the forerunner to PBS. Today, WQED is a multimedia powerhouse that is as much a part of Pittsburgh as the three rivers. WQED is WQED-TV (PBS); WQED World; WQED Create; WQED Showcase; WQED PBS KIDS Channel; Classical WQED-FM 89.3/Pittsburgh; Classical WQEJ-FM 89.7/Johnstown; the Pittsburgh Concert Channel at WQED-HD2 (89.3-2FM) and online at; local and national television and radio productions; WQED Interactive ( and WQED Education (