Congresswoman Barbara Lee Statement on Women’s Equality Day

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) released the following statement on Women’s Equality Day, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th amendment: 

“As we reflect on one hundred years since American women were granted the right to vote through the ratification of the 19th amendment, we must honor the legacy of those who paved the way for not only a woman’s voice in our democracy, but a woman’s role in leading it.

“While this is a landmark to celebrate, we also know that the 19th Amendment only gave some women, white women, the right to vote.  African American women like Mary Church Terrell, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and so many women whose names we may not know, played critical roles in the suffrage movement and often don’t get the recognition they deserve. Their efforts were not realized until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, when all women of color finally received the right to vote.

“We cannot forget the achievements and sacrifices of the Black women and women of color who fought tirelessly for the right to vote. As we do, let us remember the words of suffragette Mary Church Terrell, ‘and so, lifting as we climb, onward and upward we go.’

“We can be proud of the fact that in this Congress we are seeing the outstanding leadership of 105 women, 90 of them House Democrats. And in spite of racism and sexism, Black women are continuing to lead. We now have more than 20 black women serving in Congress, and a Black woman as the Vice-Presidential nominee. I know my mentor Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman to serve on a presidential ticket, is somewhere smiling. 

“For this year’s Women’s Equality Day, we must recommit ourselves to empowering women, listening to women, and electing women. In the words of the legendary poet Dr. Maya Angelou, ‘you may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise.’

“With women continuing to rise, America is a better place.”