WASHINGTON D.C.—Today, NOW celebrates Susan B. Anthony’s recent 200th birthday (February 15, 1820) instead of President’s Day. We honor this advocate of gender equality and women’s right to vote, especially this year as we prepare to mark the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment.
There is indeed much to celebrate this year – with 127 female members of the 116th Congress, we can see how far we’ve come since Anthony’s time, when she was arrested for even attempting to vote. And we are also closer than ever before to seeing an Equal Rights Amendment finally enshrined in the Constitution. But there is still much work to be done.
While we celebrate Anthony’s tireless advocacy for the vote, we also acknowledge that even after the 19th amendment, women of color were denied access to the ballot box in many states. Women of color did not get full access to vote until 1965 with the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, yet even today voter suppression still denies far too many women of color this basic right. Thirty-six states have implemented stricter voter ID laws, which is just one of many policies that make it more difficult for people in communities of color to vote.
We celebrate Anthony’s life, including her call for the first D.C. Women’s Suffrage Convention in 1869, her anti-slavery work and the legacy of feminist activism that she created. But while we honor her tremendous efforts towards furthering women’s rights, we also look towards a feminist future that is intersectional and inclusive of all women with the fundamental right to vote finally guaranteed to everyone.