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The League's Blog

A day that paved the way for future generations

On Friday, we celebrated the 91st anniversary of gender equality with women achieving the right to vote. Today is the 48th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which called for racial equality and an end to discrimination.

It’s curious that even decades after these monumental changes, we still count the anniversaries. Some would say it is so we never forget, while others might argue it is because our quest is not over.

Dr. King believed that true equality meant more than just equality of opportunity. He believed in extending a governmental helping hand to those who had suffered discrimination. Today, we see greater income inequality rather than less and that inequality impacts more and more people. We are still far from Dr King's dream.

The upcoming dedication of the King statue has provoked discussion of what he would think of a static memorial to such a dynamic and ongoing struggle. Achieving his dream requires constant effort and education.

In 1920, our foremothers recognized that mere words could not guarantee civic participation of newly enfranchised women. In lieu of a memorial “made of marble which few would see and even fewer understand,” they founded the League of Women Voters to finish the fight.

Together, we stand as a living memorial, continuing to stand up for equality for those who need it most. And we remember Dr. King’s inspiring words and actions that paved the way for future generations.

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Elisabeth MacNamara is the 18th president of the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) and chair of the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF).

Nancy E. Tate is the Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) and of the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF)