Dear League Supporter,
The Chinese have a saying: "The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step."
The women's suffrage movement was a thousand-mile journey, reaching the finish line on August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, was signed into law. After hundreds of petition drives, rallies, legislative and congressional lobbying and even prison time, persistence prevailed. The women's suffrage victory launched the League of Women Voters' 91-year mission to engage American citizens as informed and active participants in our democracy.
The Florida League, 72 years young, is nearing the end of another thousand-mile journey: our work to finally have standards in our state Constitution that ensure fair apportionment of districts. The very first study that the Florida League undertook found two major problems: one was an outdated Constitution; the other was a malfunctioning system of gerrymandered legislative districts. This issue was the first one our members took to the Florida Legislature, and we have worked on it throughout the 72 years since. The people prevailed when 63% of voters approved Fair Districts Amendments 5 and 6 this past November.
Today, as we mark this revolutionary milestone in our nation's democracy, it continues to astound me that women's suffrage passed by one vote. A 24-year-old Tennessee legislator, who changed his vote at the last moment after receiving a letter from his mother ("Don't forget to be a good boy, and vote for suffrage!"), made history. Women had won the vote.
Today is a day to recognize how far women have come on the anniversary of their 91 years of voting in America. It's also a time to reflect on the power of our voice as citizens. If you believe in something, the lesson is clear: never, never give up!
Happy Women's Equality Day!