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WHEREAS, beginning in the late 19th century, many courageous women across the United States organized and mobilized under the radical notion that women should have the right to vote; and
WHEREAS, those women motivated, activated, educated, and marched in protest of their disenfranchisement; and
WHEREAS, groups like, but not limited to, the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia and historic Black sororities like Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated were instrumental in advancing the women’s suffrage movement in Virginia; and
WHEREAS, on August 26, 2020, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which granted certain groups of women the right to vote for the first time; and
WHEREAS, this centennial anniversary is an opportunity to learn about and commemorate the women’s suffrage movement in Virginia and across the United States; and
WHEREAS, it was not until decades after the 19th Amendment was passed that enfranchisement was extended to all women with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; and
WHEREAS, Black/African American women, Indigenous/Native American women, Hispanic/Latina/x American women, and Asian American and Pacific Islander American women were all integral participants in the women’s suffrage movement and the ultimate passage of the 19th Amendment though their stories are often overlooked; and
WHEREAS, it is essential that those women are honored and that their contributions to history are recognized and preserved; and
WHEREAS, today, there are more women than ever who vote in elections, serve on juries, and hold public office at the local, state, and national level; and
WHEREAS, Virginians understand the power and dignity that enfranchisement provides and will continue to honor the right to vote as such; and
WHEREAS, this milestone is an opportunity to reaffirm our pursuit to strengthen democratic participation and to inspire future generations to cherish, preserve, and expand on the historic precedent established under the 19th Amendment; and
WHEREAS, the work of the women’s suffrage movement is not done as long as there is voter suppression, barriers to the polls, and systemic disenfranchisement; and
WHEREAS, the larger work of the women’s rights movement continues in the fight for LGBTQ+ and disability rights, better maternal health outcomes, leadership in STEM fields, and pay equity; and
WHEREAS, we as Virginians commit ourselves to continuing that work of the heroic suffragists: to envision a more equitable society, to fight against an oppressive status quo, and to tear down unjust systems so that we may build a stronger democracy;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize August 2020 as WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.