Statement by NOW President Christian F. Nunes
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In 1971, Congress designated August 26 as Women’s Equality Day to mark the date in 1920 when the 19th Amendment finally guaranteed women’s right to vote. This day marks a significant milestone in the women’s movement, but the name can be a little misleading — as we know, society is still far from equal for women.
As we commemorate the suffragists’ fight to secure the vote, we also must reflect on the barriers that still exist today, especially for Black women, to exercise that right. State legislatures have moved at a near-record pace to enact laws that change voter register rules, limit the number of people that can be assigned to a particular polling location, or redraw districts as populations have shifted, among other proposals. Regardless of what they name these bills, these are poorly veiled voter suppression efforts to keep Black, Brown, Indigenous, young, new Americans, and yes – women – from the polls.
These actions to undermine our democracy serve as a poignant reminder of the intertwined struggles against all forms of injustice. We must continue to speak out against inequality. We need to stand up against every societal barrier that seeks to divide us. Drawing on the passion of the suffragists and civil rights leaders before us, this August 26, NOW has partnered with the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington to carry on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream of freedom and equality for Black Americans. We urge you to join us to continue to fight for equality.
NOW remains dedicated to gender equality, and when we recognize interlocking systems of oppression, we move forward to a world that listens to every woman’s voice and upholds every woman’s rights regardless of race, ethnicity, class, or any other aspect of their identity.
Until the rights and needs of all women are equally valued and protected, we can only then truly achieve the ideals that Women’s Equality Day represents.
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