“Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community, the involvement and voice that allows you to be a part of the very world that you are a part of… it is not simply about the right to vote for women, but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of all people, including those members of society who have been marginalized whether for reasons of race, gender, ethnicity or orientation, to be able to participate in the choices for their future and their community.”
(reported by Sabrina Barr, MSN News)
Say, whose quote is this? Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony or Lucy Stone in the 1800s during the beginnings of the Suffragette Movement in the USA? Or was it Alice Paul with her group of women activists called the Silent Sentinels who were imprisoned in America in the early 1900s, went on hunger strikes in prison and were force fed to be kept alive for three years before the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution giving women the right to vote was finally passed in 1920? The above quote could have been attributed to any of these American women who devoted their lives to securing the right of women to vote in our country.
Instead, the quote belongs to another American woman, Meghan Markle, who is now the Duchess of Sussex and spoke these words yesterday to a crowd in New Zealand where she was near the end of a Royal Tour with Prince Harry. While celebrating that country’s 125th anniversary of women’s rights to vote, she praised New Zealanders for their political actions in 1893 and concluded her remarks with a quote from the country’s most famous suffragette, Kate Sheppard: “All that separates, whether of race, class, creed or sex, is inhuman and must be overcome.”
I am so proud that an American-born woman of color was in New Zealand talking about the basic right of all women to participate in shaping our democracies with the power of the vote. Every vote matters. You are only powerless when you fail to exercise your power.
Pretty is driving me this morning to my Lexington County voting place for early voting for the midterms which are scheduled for Tuesday, November 6, 2018. I am feeling very strong today. This election is very important in shaping the future of our communities, our states and our nation; and I, for one, want my voice to be heard.
I’m going to think about Meghan Markle’s final remark from Kate Sheppard: “All that separates, whether of race, class, creed or sex is inhuman, and must be overcome.”
Amen, sisters. Tell it. We shall overcome. Be woke. Go Vote!
Note from the author: This post was originally published on October 29, 2018. Women voted in record numbers in the 2018 mid-terms, and I hope we will set even more records in 2020 because the stakes couldn’t be higher. The South Carolina Democratic Primary is this Saturday, February 29th. Be woke! Go VOTE!