August 24, 2016
Women’s Equality Day – A Step in the March toward Progress
“There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.”
The march to the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in the U.S. is on. Women’s Equality Day, proclaimed each year by the United States President to commemorate the day women’s right to vote, was certified as law, marks the triumph of a courageous political campaign that spanned 72 years and engaged tens of thousands of persistent women and men.
Even as we celebrate this event on August 26, we are mindful of the fact that our work is not done. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) still remains unfinished business for the Constitution.
The proposed ERA, introduced by Alice Paul in 1923 as “the next step in bringing equal justice under law to all citizens” states that the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, apply equally to all persons regardless of their sex.
In 1972, the ERA was finally passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. Congress extended the original seven-year time limit to June 30, 1982, but at that deadline, only 35 states (three states short of the 38 required to add it to the Constitution) had ratified. The ERA has been introduced into every Congress since the deadline, and beginning in 1994, ERA advocates have been pursuing two different routes to ratification:
We at the WNDC celebrate the achievements of women thus far and salute the relentless efforts of the National Organization for Women to pursue the ratification of the ERA. Our own march towards our centenary, only six years away, is tied ever-closely with that of the suffragettes who founded our institution in 1922.
April 20, 2016
Thanks to President Obama for Designating a Women’s Equality
President Obama chose Equal Pay Day—April 12, 2016—to confer national monument status on the former Sewell Belmont House, the original headquarters for the National Woman’s Party, which played a key role in passing the 19th Amendment (woman suffrage), ratified in 1920.
The new monument was renamed the Belmont-Paul Women’s National Equality Monument. Robert Sewall owned the land where the house was built in 1800, and Alva Belmont was the first president of the National Woman’s Party, founded by Alice Paul. Applying her motto—“deeds, not words”— Paul worked to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender and to include women’s equality language in the United Nations Charter.
By designating the Sewell Belmont Paul Women’s Equality Museum as a national monument, President Obama honored the movement for women’s equality, which helped enact more than 600 pieces of civil rights legislation throughout the United States.
We thank our sisters who—like WNDC’s founders and members—fought throughout our history for today’s women’s rights and President Obama, who recognized and honored them by designating the Sewell Belmont Paul Monument for Women’s Equality.
–WNDC Board of Governors
March 23, 2016
Condolences to the Citizens of Brussels after ISIS Attack
On March 22, 2016, the Brussels metro station and airport were attacked with bombs by Islamic State (ISIS) guerillas. More than thirty civilians were murdered.
ISIS was quick to claim responsibility. The bombings occurred four days after the arrest of one of the bombers charged in the attacks on Paris in November 2015.
The Brussels murders meet the definition of terrorism: random murders of innocent citizens to instill terror in people’s everyday lives.
Tragically, ISIS’s terror attacks also devastate the daily lives of peaceful Muslims in Europe and the U.S. We hear U.S. presidential (and some European) candidates advocate carpet bombing, murders of ISIS suspects’ families, religious tests for refugees fleeing for their lives, police patrolling of Muslim neighborhoods, and “rounding up” of Muslims. This hatred diminishes us as Americans and will not keep us safe.
We will defeat ISIS by sharing information among European, Middle Eastern, and American intelligence and financial operatives. Our Treasury Department is already weakening ISIS by tracking and shutting down financial support for ISIS guerillas and weaponry.
But this sickening attack underscores the need for vigilance, international cooperation, and determination to face and eliminate the scourge that exploded in Brussels yesterday.
–WNDC Board of Governors
January 8, 2016
WNDC Salutes President Obama’s Executive Gun Safety Initiative
On January 5, 2016, President Barack Obama fought back against Congressional obstruction of the most basic, common sense gun safety initiatives with a modest plan of executive actions to reduce gun deaths.
President Obama felt compelled to act because gunshot deaths are a public health emergency. Homicides, suicides and accidents have caused 836,290 firearms deaths in America between 1989 and 2014, around 30,000 deaths each year. One-third of these deaths involve citizens under 20 years old.
The total number of firearm deaths exceeded the total number of Americans killed in traffic accidents between 1989 and 2014, which was 825,000.
President Obama’s Executive orders would:
1] Close the loophole in national background check regulations that allows potential criminals to avoid background checks by purchasing online, or from gun shows or private sales—rather than from a standard gun store, as current regulations require. (Dylan Roof, who massacred nine church members in Charleston, South Carolina, purchased his gun online.) Of gun owners, 92 percent support background checks.
2] Hire more FBI processors to provide the background checks.
3] Mandate reporting of all lost or stolen weapons.
4] Mandate smart gun technology to prevent accidental shootings and allow tracing of lost or stolen firearms.
WNDC applauds these common-sense mandates, which aim to save lives. We hope all our members and readers will support President Obama’s courageous action and urge their members of Congress to fund these initiatives, as well as his proposed new $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care.