THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
WOMEN’S EQUALITY DAY, 2011
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution tore
down the last formal barrier to women’s enfranchisement in our
Nation and empowered America’s women to have their voices heard
in the halls of power. This Amendment became law only after
decades of work by committed trailblazers who fought to extend
the right to vote to women across America. For the women who
fought for this right, voting was not the end of the journey
for equality, but the beginning of a new era in the advancement
of our Union. These brave and tenacious women challenged our
Nation to live up to its founding principles, and their legacy
inspires us to reach ever higher in our pursuit of liberty and
equality for all.
Before the Amendment took effect, women had been serving
our Nation in the public realm since its earliest days. Even
before they gained the right to vote, America’s women were
leaders of movements, academics, and reformers, and had even
served in the Congress. Legions of brave women wrote and
lectured for change. They let their feet speak when their
voices alone were not enough, protesting and marching for their
fundamental right to vote in the face of heckling, jail, and
abuse. Their efforts led to enormous progress — millions upon
millions of women have since used the power of the ballot to
help shape our country.
Today, our Nation’s daughters reap the benefits of these courageous pioneers while paving the way for generations of women to come. But work still remains. My Administration is committed to advancing equality for all of our people. This year, the Council of Women and Girls released “Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being,” the most comprehensive report in 50 years on the status of women in
our country, shedding light on issues women face in employment,
crime, health, and family life. We are working to ensure that
women-owned businesses can compete in the marketplace, that
women are not discriminated against in healthcare, and that we
redouble our efforts to bring an end to sexual assault on
On the 91st anniversary of this landmark in civil rights,
we continue to uphold the foundational American principles
that we are all equal, and that each of us deserves a chance
to pursue our dreams. We honor the heroes who have given
of themselves to advance the causes of justice, opportunity,
and prosperity. As we celebrate the legacy of those who made
enormous strides in the last century and before, we renew our
commitment to hold true to the dreams for which they fought, and
we look forward to a bright future for our Nation’s daughters.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the
United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested
in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States,
do hereby proclaim August 26, 2011, as Women’s Equality Day.
I call upon the people of the United States to celebrate the
achievements of women and recommit ourselves to the goal of
gender equality in this country.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
twenty-fifth day of August, in the year of our Lord
two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the
United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.
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MN Police Officer Sentenced 3.5 Years for Death of George Floyd
Former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Keung has been sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for aiding and abetting manslaughter in the death of Black city resident George Floyd.
Keung, age 29, had accepted a plea deal in order to avoid an additional charge of aiding and abetting second-degree murder. His guilty plea acknowledged that the restraining holds used by police on Floyd were excessive and likely to cause serious harm.
Video of Floyd’s May 25, 2020 murder at the hands of city police captured footage of Keung kneeling on Floyd’s back while another officer knelt of the man’s neck. for over nine minutes, officers applied pressure to Floyd while he laid face down in the street, crying and telling officers that he couldn’t breathe while also calling out for his mother.
Video of Floyd’s murder sparked international outrage and inspired protests against institutional racism and police brutality.
Keung is the fourth and final police officer to receive prison time for his role in Floyd’s death. He will serve his new sentence and a federal sentence for Floyd’s death concurrently, serving a total of about 2 1/2 years for the killing.
Virginia Republican Files Bill Defining a Fertilized Egg as a Human
Virginia State Delegate Marie March (R) has pre-filed House Bill 1395, a law that would define life as beginning at fertilization.
“Life begins at conception and each person is accorded the same rights and protections guaranteed to all persons by the Constitution of the United States,” the proposed bill states.
The proposed bill would effectively outlaw all abortions in the state and even endanger the use of Plan B (aka. “The morning-after pill”), a medication that prevents fertilized egg cells from attaching to a woman’s uterine wall.
The bill could also effectively criminalize in vitro fertilization, a method of inducing pregnancy that uses fertilized eggs and discards any unused ones.
Even though Republicans control the state’s House of Delegates, it’s unclear if the bill would have any chance of passing the state’s Democratic-led Senate. The legislature won’t reconvene until January 11, 2023.
Virginia currently allows a woman to get an abortion within roughly 26 weeks of pregnancy. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has proposed passing a law that would reduce that window to 15 weeks, a period of time in which most women may not even realize they’re pregnant.
In response to March’s bill the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance said in a statement, “In the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and despite the vast majority of Virginians who oppose it, Virginia’s anti-abortion elected officials keep proving there are no limits to their extremism and true intentions to ban abortion for all Virginians.”
Georgia GOP Says Its Voting Restrictions “Backfired” & Helped Dems Win Senate Seat
When two Republicans lost Georgia’s special runoff senate elections in January 2021, state Republicans in the General Assembly re-wrote voting laws to restrict absentee ballots and give voters fewer days to vote in future runoff elections.
However, after Republicans lost yet another runoff election for Georgia’s Senate seat — with Herschel Walker losing to his Democratic competitor, Rev. Raphael Warnock, earlier this month — state Republicans want to re-re-write the rules, hopeful of a more favorable outcome.
Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), the official who oversees the state’s voting procedures, said he plans on giving three proposals to lawmakers when they return to the General Assembly in January.
“[The proposals] include forcing large counties to open more early-voting locations (in an attempt to reduce the hours-long lines some voters waited in) … lowering the threshold candidates must achieve to avoid a runoff from 50 percent to 45 percent; and instituting a ranked-choice instant-runoff system that would not require voters to come back to the polls again after the general election,” The New York Times reported.
To be clear, it’s unclear whether these changes would’ve helped Walker win. But they stand in contrast to the changes state Republicans made to voting laws following their failed January 2021 Senate runoff ambitions.
The changes after that time severely restricted the types of people eligible to receive an absentee ballot. While 24 percent of the January 2021 vote came via mail-in absentee ballots, the rule changes resulted in 5 percent of mail-in votes coming in for the January 2022 runoff.
Republicans also lowered the number of in-person early voting days to five (though the rule change allowed counties to add extra days.) The Times found that 28 of Georgia’s 159 counties opted to add extra in-person early voting days — 17 of the counties that did largely backed Warnock while 11 backed his challenger.
Before the recent run-off election, Raffensperger also tried to enforce a state law forbidding in-person early voting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. However, Warnock successfully sued to prevent the law from going into effect.
Overall, the changes may have “backfired,” Republicans told The Times, actually encouraging Democratic voters to come out in greater numbers.
While Republicans point to the large turnout of runoff voters as “proof” that their changes didn’t discourage voting, Warnock’s campaign criticized the changes, saying that such restrictions shouldn’t make it harder for people to vote in the first place.
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