Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
-Senator Robert F. Kennedy, June 6, 1966
One of the most surprising and wonderful developments in my professional life has been being thrust into the role of an educational advocate for education at my state legislature out of neccessity in 2012 and how that effort turned into a huge (and incredibly satisfying) part of my career. There are so many people with me who have been my partners, mentors, and campions along the way and I certainly didn’t get where I am by myself! When I walk the halls and sit in the hearing rooms of the Colorado State Capitol, I cannot help but notice all of the men who ran our state exclusively for the first 100 years. I also notice that, while the balance isn’t quite perfect yet, there are amazing, smart, powerful women all over that building these days. They are elected officials, state employees, lawyers, lobbyists, judges, and advocates like me. When I think about this rapid change in demographics I find myself wanting to extend gratitude in one direction specifically: the women who made the work that me and all of my fellow females involved in policy and government possible.
Suffragettes Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst
I want to thank the Suffragettes. They fought for something that so many thought would be impossible. They endured terrible treatment, beatings, and threats because they wanted rights not only for themselves but for the unborn daughters of the future. While not every decision the remembered leaders of the movement, Susan Anthony and Elizabeth Stanton, was appropriate or even moral the tireless work of a full century changed America forever. My work is possible because of the thousands of women who were willing to fight for treatment as equals in this world. They made my work as a respected and included advocate possible.
They also made it possible for my daughter to experience genuine shock and belief when I explain to her the details of the historical patriarchal social order that identified all females as essentially being property of either a father or a husband. She proudly exclaims, “I don’t belong to anybody! We’re all in charge of ourselves!” The women in big hats who rallied, planned and negotiated for tireless decades changed everything for the better. Thank you, ladies.
PS- I love your hats.