I’ll never forget election day 2008. As I stood in line to vote in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, I witnessed such raw emotions on peoples faces as they voted for the first African American president. There was such a palpable sense of pride and joy in that gymnasium that it was contagious. At one point while I was in line, an elderly woman hugged her neighbor and started crying, saying “I never thought I’d see the day.” Later that night when Obama was declared the winner, a party erupted on the streets of NYC. People started streaming from bars, cheering, crying, popping bottles and hugging each other. Obama promised hope, and we were all overflowing with it at that moment. It was like nothing I have ever seen, and I am so glad I was alive to witness that historic day.
Today, we have the opportunity to witness another equally historic moment by electing the first female president in history. As much as people try to argue that gender is not an important factor in this election, it truly is. On August 18th, 1920 the 19th amendment granted all women the right to vote. On that day we gained the right to no longer be voiceless housewives. Today, 96 years later, we could finally elect a female president, but it took us 96 years to get on a major party ballot, and that is a long damn time.
Though I believe she is the best candidate for the job, voting today is about so much more than just Hillary Clinton. It’s about helping to shatter that glass ceiling, not just for my generation but for the women before me who fought for equality, and the baby girls who are too young to even remember this election. While visiting a museum of presidential portraits recently, it struck me that the walls were lined with the faces of man after man after man, and we just accept it as the norm. It may be what we all grew up seeing, but it’s time that little girls have someone in those rows of presidents that looks like them.
We still live in an America where gender inequality and discrimination is alive and well. We still live in an America where women have to fight for equal pay, the right to choose, and many face the difficult task of juggling a career with motherhood while facing workplace discrimination. The fight for equality is far from over, but electing a women who fights for it to our highest leadership role is a damn good start. As I check that ballot box for Hillary today, I’ll be thinking about how lucky I am to be alive in an era with another progressive, historic election at hand. I’ll also be thinking about Susan B . Anthony, Lucy Stone, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and the thousands of women who spent their lives fighting for equality so that we could see this day.
So let’s all stop trying to act like gender doesn’t matter and electing our first feminist, female president isn’t a really big f****** deal. It’s a huge deal. Today is bigger than any of us for so many reasons. I hope women across the world are as excited to live through, and celebrate this momentous moment in history as I am.
Originally published on BlogHer
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