In 1914, on a cold snowy day, Susan B. Anthony and other women marched in protest as they appealed for women’s voting rights. Today, on national voter registration day, it’s more crucial than ever that as women within the Hip-Hop community, we exercise our rights to vote.
One of the biggest myths is that voting is only important in presidential election years. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In the 2018 election, 33 out of 100 Senate seats are being voted on as well as all 435 congressional seats. Aside from important Senate and congressional races, there are numerous ballots on the measure including state and local initiatives regarding marijuana legalization, healthcare spending and regulations, and most importantly, educational funding. Even before fighting for the right to vote, women throughout the United States had to fight for the right to the same public educational opportunities as men. Many of the local education spending initiatives would impact special public school programs- including the arts.
By registering to vote, we are also helping to put more qualified women candidates into office. Even though a woman is not running for president this year, more women than ever are running at state and local levels.
Most importantly, it is because we can make a difference. In the early part of the 20th century, Alice Stone Blackwell, the one-time editor of the Woman’s Journal, a major publication that fought for women’s rights to votes, summed it up in a way that is as meaningful in 2018 as it was back then: “Because laws unjust to women would be amended more quickly.”
In the grand scheme of human history, 100 years is nothing. As women, we owe it to those who came before us to make sure that we do not take such a right for granted and that we continue to use democracy to advance society for the better of humankind. In 1914, while women considered earning voting rights a huge victory, few could have foreseen a nation where women hold multiple political offices and one even ran for president. Who knows what the future holds in another 100 years?
For more information on how to vote in your state, visit https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote.