Today we celebrate with our sisters nationwide the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. This climax of the women’s suffrage movement marks, still today, the risks that our foremothers embraced and withstood to pave the way for equality. Do you wonder or imagine the level of enthusiasm and peaks of inspiration that must have originated from the Seneca Falls Convention?
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
The above is the second paragraph of the Declaration of Sentiments. A document drafted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her friends in 1848 in response to their Convention. Arguing the right to vote and participate in government more fully, the sentiments do well to articulate the limitations society had placed on women. It wasn’t until 72 years later that Congress granted that right. The closing list of resolutions in the original declaration do not mince words. They evoke a sense of justice and excitement in even the most modest of feminists. Here is just one.
Resolved, that woman has too long rested satisfied in the circumscribed limits which corrupt customs and a perverted application of the Scriptures have marked out for her, and that it is time she should move in the enlarged sphere which her great Creator has assigned her.
Tonight several women’s organizations across the state of Kentucky in partnership with the Kentucky Commission on Women are sponsoring a free event open to the public. A PBS documentary entitled, “Makers: Women Who Make America” narrated by Meryl Streep and including the work of such women as Sandra Day O’Connor, Gloria Steinem, Oprah Winfrey, Phyllis Schaffley, and Ellen Degeneres will be shown. Here is the info if you want to attend. Johanna and I will be there!
UAW local 862 Union Hall
3000 Fern Valley Road, Louisville, KY 40213
with drinks and appetizers