By Kelly Atterton
This year we honor the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which was meant to guarantee all women the right to vote. But that wasn’t the full story. It would take another 45 years, with the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, for women of color to secure their voting rights as Americans.
The Suffragists (yes, Suffragists! “SuffragetCtes,” was coined by men as a belittling insult), led by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were joined every step of the way by immigrant and working-class women, queer women, and women of color—despite overt discrimination. Together, they spent 72 years lobbying, marching, picketing, and protesting for the right to vote. Seventy-two years. These fearless women were one of the first waves of feminism in our country, the original rebels who fought for the day when their voices and ideas would be given equal weight to those of men. According to beauty folklore, Elizabeth Arden, an early entrepreneur, honored the fighting spirit of the Suffragists by creating a bold, red lipstick that symbolized their cause. Arden handed out tubes of “Red Door Red” to the protestors as they marched past her Fifth Avenue salon. The color becoming synonymous with resilience, strength, and female empowerment.
Today, more than 68 million women vote because of the women who came before us. We honor their sacrifice and determination by never taking our vote for granted. This election is being called the most important in our lifetime. Whatever you’re passionate about, whatever issues move you, don’t let this moment slip by without using your voice. As the nonpartisan group, I am a voter. stresses, “our democracy works best when we all participate.”
Text VOTER to 26797 to check your registration status and register to vote.
The red lipstick part is up to you.
Atterton is a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur and works with I Am A Voter to register voters for the 2020 election.