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    On the Precipice of Equality During the 96th Anniversary of Voting Rights for Women

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    By Debra Walker

    I am excited about the possibility that we will have a woman president come January, but I am even more excited that she is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    I supported Clinton, and then Obama, in 2008. Watching him win was both exhilarating and heartbreaking, but was made so much easier because of how gracefully Clinton handled the loss. Everyone I know moved quickly and without hesitation to support him. Full throttle, no looking back. The Obama presidency has been history making in so many ways.

    Today, August 18, we celebrate 96 years to the day since the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution finally gave women in this country the right to vote. It came long after the 14th and 15th Amendments of the nineteenth century. The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, extends the Constitution’s protection to all citizens, while the 15th, ratified in 1870, guarantees black men the right to vote.

    In the decades before the Civil War, during the 1820s and 30s, most states had extended the franchise to all white men, no matter their position in life. As time marched onwards, all sorts of reform groups activated across the U.S. They included temperance clubs, religious movements and moral-reform societies, anti-slavery organizations, and, in many of these, women were among the leaders.

    Numerous American women began to revolt against what historians called the “Cult of True Womanhood.” The idea held that the only “true” woman was a pious, submissive wife and mother concerned exclusively with home and family. The suffragette movement expanded this narrow view, thereby contributing to a new way of thinking about what it meant to be a woman and a citizen of the United States. The suffragettes’ first victories were in helping to pave the way for expanding voting rights to the poor, and to all races. It required a 70-year battle for them to gain the right to vote themselves.

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    Now, in 2016, we are still without The Equal Rights Amendment that was first introduced to Congress in 1923. Women are still paid less than men. Women still struggle to achieve leadership positions because they are women. Even when a woman is better qualified, the corporate ladder and that for other jobs is still harder for her to climb, given the inherent obstacles that she faces. It also goes without saying that, in our entire country’s history, we have never elected, or even had the choice to elect, a woman as our president … until now.

    The election of Hillary Clinton to the presidency would symbolize the shattering of the glass ceiling. The cracks in that ceiling have been slowly building up, giving hope to what is possible come November. Clinton, who has for her entire life stood for increasing opportunities for women and girls and families, stands to lead us. She has long withstood the slings and arrows of fear and misogyny, and is more than ready to lead our nation.

    When I look around the excited crowds waiting for her to speak, I see hope in the faces of young and old alike that we are on the precipice of real equality. Foreseen is a new era when our daughters can truly have the same aspirations as our sons, and when we can raise the lives of women across our globe.

    So join us today as we, in the San Francisco campaign to elect Hillary Clinton, celebrate the 96th anniversary of the 19th Amendment by beginning our major phone banking push into Nevada! For more information on this special effort, please go to: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/events/view/Q6F2CHX56VVUNYNH/

    We are aiming our efforts at women voters in Nevada, and have been working over the past few months to grow our volunteer base for phoning and traveling. This is history in the making, so please consider helping out today and in the days to come before the election. Go to www.hillaryclinton.com and see what events are happening every day and in every neighborhood. We truly are, now as in every significant advancement in our country’s history, #StrongerTogether.  Join us!

    Debra Walker is a Commissioner for the City and County of San Francisco Building Inspection Commission. A past president of the Commission, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and the San Francisco Arts Democratic Club, Walker is also an internationally recognized painter and printmaker. For more information: http://www.debrawalker.com/emocratic Party.