Initially launched within the 1920s and handed via Congress in 1972, the modification hit a roadblock within the ’80s when an arbitrary timeline within the preamble expired earlier than sufficient states ratified it. However we by no means gave up on the dream of equality within the Structure—and yesterday, after Virginia turned the 38th state to assist the modification, the Home voted to scrap that timeline and clear the best way for the ERA with no delay.

At the moment particularly, I’m reminded that this victory for democracy is lengthy overdue. Because 100 years ago today—on Valentine’s Day, 1920—a gaggle of courageous suffragists based the League of Ladies Voters.

Our founding happened in a momentous 12 months. Six months later, the 19th Modification was ratified—a long-fought victory that represented the only largest enlargement of the American voters in our nation’s historical past. And one century later, we’re nonetheless working to advance voting rights and defend democracy.

Over the last 100 years, our group has led the battle for voter safety and enlargement within the courts, within the streets, in our authorities and on the poll field. We advocated for the institution of the United Nations within the 1940s, fostered a groundswell of assist for the ERA within the 1970s, established a norm of televised presidential debates within the 1980s, constructed energy for the passage of significant pro-democracy payments on the flip of the century and arranged a nationwide redistricting effort for Folks Powered Honest Maps simply final 12 months.  

However there may be all the time room for development and enchancment. Organizations just like the League have a accountability to make sure that we’re placing fairness on the middle of our group and our work, and we haven’t all the time achieved sufficient. We should be extra welcoming to ladies of colour, the LGBTQ neighborhood, non-binary individuals, the incapacity neighborhood and other people of all backgrounds and identities.  

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As we transfer into our second century, we’re striving to do higher. The League at the moment is extra various, extra inclusive and extra equitable than ever earlier than. We all know our work is stronger when all voices are heard, so we’re constructing future leaders of this group to face up for underrepresented communities.

I can’t consider a greater birthday current to the League of Ladies Voters than seeing the work proceed towards a extra equal democracy. 

As we glance to our subsequent 100 years, we intention to proceed the battle for voting rights enlargement, as a result of democracy can’t be absolutely realized till all individuals can take part. We do and can proceed to battle modern-day voter suppression within the type of partisan and racial gerrymandering, voter ID legal guidelines and polling place closures.

As we rejoice at the moment, we achieve this with the information that we nonetheless have a lot to battle for. Within the aftermath of the Supreme Court docket resolution that gutted the Voting Rights Act, we’ve seen rollbacks to early voting, unjust purges of certified voters on voter rolls and strict voter photograph ID legal guidelines that make it more durable for younger individuals, ladies, individuals of colour and people with low incomes to train their proper to vote. 

Our founders achieved the unattainable by getting the 19th Modification handed 100 years in the past, so at the moment we honor their battle by persevering with to push our democracy ahead so that each voter can play a important position in shaping our nation with a day of action. Throughout the nation, we’re internet hosting greater than 350 occasions in all 50 states celebrating that “Ladies Energy the Vote.”

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Throughout America, and in your very neighborhood, Leagues maintain energy to account in state homes and metropolis halls. They equip voters with the data they want in neighborhood facilities and libraries. They write letters, design poll initiatives, arrange political motion—they construct energy collectively on the idea in democracy for all.

For those who imagine within the energy of ladies to create a extra excellent democracy, we want you. Find your local League today and join us for the next 100 years of empowering voters and defending democracy.

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