WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today released a statement to commemorate one hundred years since the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, a historic move toward voter rights and gender equality in our nation.

“On this day 100 years ago, our nation moved one step closer to delivering for all the American promise of liberty and justice. But as much as we recognize the monumental progress of the 19th Amendment, we must also acknowledge it fell far short of its goal by only granting some women access to the ballot box. Suffragists—including and especially the Black women who all too often don’t get the credit they’ve earned—who fought for this Constitutional right should inspire us today. Without their voices on the picket lines, without them risking their safety and security, without their refusal to stay silent, their daughters and their daughters’ daughters wouldn’t have been closer to inheriting the democracy they deserve.

“As much as those suffragists put their feet to pavement, pens to letters and voices to protests, I urge us to remember that there should never be a waiting line for justice and that our work is not near finished yet. Because while the 19th Amendment gave white American women the right to vote, countless Black, Brown, Asian and Indigenous Americans were excluded. And a century later, voter suppression tactics still block so many people of color and working-class Americans from casting their ballot. And this year, we are dealing with a President who casts his own ballot by mail, yet seeks to force every other American to choose between their physical health and safety or their vote.

“So today, on this Women’s Equality Day, I remind my fellow Americans that it now falls on today’s generations to keep up yesterday’s suffragists’ fight—always pushing us toward that more just, more fair, more perfect union. That is how America can truly live up to its promises.”

Duckworth has been consistently pushing for every American’s right to safely vote during the COVID-19 pandemic. In July, she joined 47 of her Senate colleagues in introducing the bipartisan John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, a bill to restore the landmark Voting Rights Act, end the scourge of minority voter suppression and help preserve the legacy of John Lewis: one of America’s greatest civil rights heroes. Along with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Duckworth spoke with staff from the Illinois State Board of Elections (SBOE) and the United States Postal Service (USPS) to discuss how constituents in Illinois can safely participate in the upcoming general election amid concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and USPS policies and practices that may impact mail-in ballot delivery. Earlier this month, she joined the entire Senate Democratic caucus in sending a letter to U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy urging him to provide answers regarding reports of recent changes to long-standing practices at USPS that would result in increased delivery times and costs for election mail, and urged him not take any further action that makes it harder and more expensive for states and election jurisdictions to mail ballots.

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