As a reminder of the events today, and as a reminder that people in mass protest can change the course of history, I ran across this excerpt of the days events on August 26, 1970 – the day which marked the 50th anniversary of Women’s Right To Vote. The 19th Amendment, passed in 1919 and finally signed into law in August of 1920 finally guaranteed Women the right to vote in the U.S. – hard to imagine that such a law came into existence only in the last century. Harder to imaging that, 50 years after signing the Amendment into law, women had only won the right to vote, and very little else. And so on August 26, 1970 The National Organization of Women organized what was up to that point, the largest gathering of Women in celebration of a milestone event, but a protest to what was hardly the equality of Women in America, and indeed all over the world.
And then, just as now, Women got together in the hundreds of thousands and protested what was inequality, discrimination, exclusion and abuse – said no to the status quo and demanded an end to “business as usual” and set into motion changes that would affect society for generations to come.
Set into motion, but not change overnight. There are still no equal rights/no equal pay for equal work – the current climate and the prospects of a Trump Presidency threaten to dismantle and reverse those hard-fought rights, those rights which, in any sort of fair-minded society would be an acknowledged given. Those rights which you would assume didn’t need to be fought for but were instilled from birth – a preservation of common sense.
And so in 2017, as an echo of that defining moment in 1970 – 46 years ago, women have amassed in the millions, in cities and towns all over the country, and in fact the world, to protest an unjust and dangerous retreat to a time of inequality and prejudice; a time of marginalizing and mistrust – a time to say no and a time to stand up.
Strange, that it keeps happening – stranger still, that it come to this.
Here is a 17 minute snippet of the events of August 26, 1970 – as reported and chronicled by WBAI-FM in New York. Starting with a report of the marches up 5th Avenue and then running addresses at the rally later on by Bella Abzug and Eleanor Holmes Norton who was Chair of the New York City Commission on Human Rights.