A Tribute to Women Voters In Celebration of Women’s Equality Day

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tomorrow, August 26, 2011, Women Flying High, LLC will celebrate Women’s Equality Day during the historic events culminating in the unveiling of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument in Washington, DC. It is noteworthy that Women’s Equality Day will be a part of the monument celebration because Dr. King’s fight for human rights always included women.

Votes for women were first seriously proposed in the United States in July 1848, at the Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention, even though the right to vote was not won until 1920. Georgia was the first state in the nation to vote to “reject” ratification of the Nineteen Amendment that gave women the right to vote. Unpredictably, two years after that dreadful vote, Georgia became the first state to send a woman to the U.S. Senate when 87 year-old Rebecca Felton became the first female senator to serve in the United States Senate. Felton was appointed by the Governor to serve the remaining term of Senator Thomas Watson who died while running for reelection. Since that time only five women – Florence Gibbs. Helen Mankin, Iris Blitch, Cynthis McKinney, and Denise Majette – have served in Georgia’s Congressional Delegation and none have served in the Senate. Each woman has brought her own political voice from staunch conservative to liberal.

As we approach National Women’s Equality Day, I certainly hope that women voters know that it is within “our reach” to elect women to any elective office. We really do have the “Ballot Power” to do just that. Presently our Georgia Congressional delegation is exclusively all male. I vote for men because in many of the races women are not running for office. Since women are the majority-registered voters, it seems logical that women should not only be included in the delegation, but should hold the majority of the positions in the delegation. At the end of the day the real question is do we realize our power? We don’t need the consultants to “spin it”; we don’t need the press to “approve it”. This really is within our reach and we do have the power. I look forward to Women’s Equality Day, which provides a wonderful opportunity to spotlight women’s political and business successes.

Let’s use our “Ballot Power” while we have it because if we do not use it we just might lose it. Happy Women’s Equality Day!

Rita Samuels contributed to this post. Samuels is a lifelong civil rights activist and successful businesswoman, who worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964 as the Secretary for the SCLC’s (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) Operation Breadbasket. She also founded the Georgia Coalition of Black Women, Inc. and is co-founded Women Flying High, LLC, a 100% female-owned business enterprise.


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