While these men should be recognized for their contributions to the great American experiment, we have failed to honor so many others who also made America into what it is today: women.
Women have been an integral part of creating a more equal and just society. We’ve been at the forefront of the struggle for civil rights, voting rights and human rights, including the push for reproductive justice. We have been innovative leaders, thinkers and doers in every field, including mathematics, science, technology, arts and the humanities.
Frankly, our nation is all the better for it. It is past time we honor the “sheroes” of American history and memorialize them on our currency.
Angelou’s brilliance and artistry inspired generations of Americans and she, alongside other phenomenal women in history, will be displayed on our currency as part of the American Women Quarters (AWQ) Program.
However, as we know, many Black women and women of color were excluded from the right to vote and fought beyond its ratification to secure that basic right for themselves. It is my hope that we continue to celebrate the achievements of the many women of color and Black women trailblazers who have left a profound legacy on our country, like Harriet Tubman and brave abolitionists who led countless enslaved people to freedom.
And while this symbolism is important, it is just one of the many efforts to adequately acknowledge and respect women’s contributions, like fighting to close the gender pay gap, protect the right to comprehensive reproductive health care, secure paid leave, child care and much more.
For far too long, the accomplishments of women have gone overlooked and underappreciated. It is past time we memorialize women whose work embodies diversity, innovation and courage — some of the virtues that built this country.
This is just the beginning. Women’s history is our history. I hope that these coins will motivate people to learn about the major contributions of these women in history, hear the stories of their lives and inspire the next generation of leaders. Young people should know just as much about Shirley Chisholm, Fannie Lou Hamer, Sylvia Rivera and Patsy Mink, as they do about Washington, Lincoln and Franklin.
If you soon find yourself holding a Maya Angelou quarter, may you be reminded of her words: “Be certain that you do not die without having done something wonderful for humanity.”
Credit: Source link