On January 10, 1917, ten women picketed the White House and demanded the right to vote. They stood in the bitter cold, holding signs that read, “How Long Must Women Wait for Liberty?” and “Mr. President, what will you do for Woman Suffrage?” Their quiet presence ignited a decade of activism, and ushered women into the democratic process.
Today, not only do we have the right to vote, but women are in, or vying for, the most important elected offices in the country. We know that sexism and misogyny still are alive and well, but our presence in board rooms, Halls of Justice, Congress, and the Cabinet are testament to the power of change and, more importantly, to the power of action. In the coming weeks and months, we will be called upon to engage actively in perhaps the most important thing we do as citizens—vote. If you’ve ever wondered whether your vote matters, hopefully the last two presidential elections put those doubts to rest. Not only does you vote matter, it can make the difference between war or peace, fear or hope, justice or corruption.
I don’t care who you support for any elected office, but I do beg you to get involved, engaged, and vote. Recent international events, especially in Kenya and Pakistan, are haunting reminders of how precious democracy is. Value the gift of having a voice. Let’s make the suffragists proud.