Monday, July 16, 2012

Never forget

They were arrested on trumped-up charges, thrown into prison, beaten, and kept in rat-infested cells. In their attempts to bring about justice and draw attention to their cause, they went on hunger strikes and ended up being force-fed raw eggs in a most brutal manner.

"They" are the women who fought hard and risked their lives so that we could have the right to vote, a privilege many of us take for granted today. We shouldn't. Some women lost their lives. Some were separated from families. While some suffragists were young, many were older and frail.

Last week I attended a gathering partially sponsored by my American Association of University Women branch, at which we were shown the movie "Iron Jawed Angels," starting Hillary Swank as Alice Paul, one of the leading suffragists. Although I have read about their struggles leading up to the 1920 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment securing women's right to vote, I was touched at a very deep level seeing the abusive, harsh treatment of these women. I will remember it every time I go to the polls and exercise the right for which they were willing to give their lives.

If you haven't seen this 2004 movie, I highly recommend you rent it. I'm sure you will be as grateful as I am for those brave women, on whose shoulders we all stand now. It makes me ask the question, "What am I willing to do today to gain rights for women everywhere?"And what am I doing to make sure we never forget?

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