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They were ordinary women who did an extraordinary thing.

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This week our CEO Virginia Kase spoke at a Harvard event to celebrate the upcoming 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment.  

On an all-female panel discussing political power and women’s inclusion, Virginia reminded the audience of students and attorneys that women were not ‘granted’ the right to vote. "The hell they were! Women fought hard. It was a hard-fought battle" to win the vote.  

The conversation around race and inclusion acknowledged the white privilege of the 20th century suffrage leaders and the fact that women of color did not have full voting rights until decades later. Looking to the future, Virginia pointed out that today, gender non-binary and trans women are often excluded from the conversation. 

There is an opportunity to have these conversations that nobody wanted to have before, to say, 'we can do better, we can move forward'.

Watch the full discussion below:

Earlier this month, Virginia testified before Congress on voting rights and elections. In front of the Subcommittee on Elections, she spoke about the attacks on voting rights we have seen in recent years.  

Politicians across the country have passed unnecessarily restrictive legislation and adopted practices that discriminate against and disenfranchise voters of color and minorities whose first language is not English—making it harder for them to register and much more difficult to vote.

Virginia urged the lawmakers to create and enforce laws to strengthen our democracy, saying, "It is the duty of government to protect the rights of voters and to encourage participation in our political system, not create barriers that prevent participation." 

Watch Virginia's testimony below and read her prepared remarks here.  

As the League prepares for 2020 and continues to defend democracy, it is the power of women like Virginia and each of us that is advancing this movement. On the verge of our 100th birthday, we are still in this fight!

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