97 Years Ago Today, Women Got the Right to Vote in the US

Your daily guide to what's working, what's not and what you can do about it.

Aug 18 2017, 3:00pm

Image via Xavier Lalanne-Tauzia.

A right not to be squandered: The 19th Amendment which guaranteed women in the United States the right to vote, was ratified 97 years ago today. The 1920 Amendment to the US Constitution was the result of over 70 years of organizing, protesting and hard work by woman suffragists. The movement wasn't without serious flaws particularly in how it excluded women of color, but it was a turning points for women's rights.

Its two sections read simply: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex" and "Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Voting rates in the United States are awful compared to other countries, particularly amongst young people. You can easily can find out when your local, state and federal elections are held. Remember to be sure you're registered, don't waste this hard-fought right.

Bathroom bill blocked: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) supported a bill that would require all Texans to use the bathroom of their assigned sex rather than their gender identity. Abbott called a 30-day special session to address several issues, but one of the items at the top of the list was gendered-bathroom access.

The state legislature ended the special session without passing the bathroom bill, which means that trans people can use the bathroom of their choice for now. The failure of the bill is some relief for the LGBTQ community, but the fight for transgender rights isn't over yet. Find out how you can support gender minorities by supporting the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Hindsight 20/20: President Obama's administration recognized the threat of right-wing extremists, and even allocated some funds to combat the issue but the plan got axed in June 2017 by the Trump Administration. Trump's Department of Homeland Security got rid of a $400,000 federal grant that would have funded Life After Hate, a non-profit that works to reeducate far-right extremist and rehabilitate white-supremacists.

The organization's founder, Sammy Rangel, speculated that the funding was cut because Islamic extremism was more of a hot topic. After the Charlottesville incident, it's clear that counteracting white-supremacist extremism should be a national priority. If you want to stop the resurgence of racist hate groups, here's how you can support Life After Hate's mission.

Tragedy in Spain: The city of Barcelona is reeling from an alleged-terror attack after a speeding van drove through a crowd of pedestrians. 14 people died in the crash and at least 100 more were left injured. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called the attacks out as "Jihadi Terrorism," which seems to be confirmed by ISIS' media wing, Amaq, which has said the attackers are "soldiers of the Islamic State." The attack is part of a recent deadly trend of vehicles used in terrorist acts -- including the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, an attack on a mosque in London and a hit-and-run on soldiers in Paris.

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A national hero: On Wednesday Susan Bro, mother of counter-protester Heather Heyer who lost her life while standing up to the bigotry of white nationalists and neo-nazis, spoke about her daughter's enduring legacy at Heyer's funeral this week. During the eulogy Bro stated, "They tried to kill my child to shut her up. But guess what? You just magnified her."

Prior to the memorial service President Trump, tweeted about Heyer, noting she was "an incredible young woman." The president's condolence rang hollow after he defended the some of the protesters at the alt-right rally in Charlottesville during a press conference about infrastructure on Tuesday.

A presidential response: Former Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush denounced the racist violence from the Charlottesville rally on Wednesday. Some people on Twitter are unsatisfied with their joint response to the racist hatemongering, saying that it wasn't strong enough and should have called out President Trump by name for failing to address the situation immediately. Former President Obama reacted to the news on Twitter as the event was unfolding with a quote from Nelson Mandela, in what has now made history as the most liked tweet ever.

Badge of honor: Many cities have started removing Confederate monuments following the deadly events in Charlottesville. But residents in Durham, North Carolina took matters into their own hands. A group of protesters toppled the statue of a nameless southern Confederate soldier, then proceeded to beat and defile the statue after it fell to the ground.

22-year-old Takiya Thompson, who took part in the destruction of the statue, is being charged on multiple felonies. Law enforcement is penalizing her for disorderly conduct, damage to real property, participation in a riot and inciting others to riot. Thompson is currently in police custody and could face at least 25 months in jail.

Score: Sports teams across the country want to pitch in to chip away at symbols and institutions of white supremacy. Boston Red Sox owner John Henry is trying to change the name of Yawkey Way, the famed thoroughfare outside the team's legendary ballpark, Fenway Park. The street is named after Tom Yawkey, a former owner of the team who refused to integrate players in the 40s and 50s. Ultimately, the street is controlled by taxpayers and their decision will determine whether or not the name is changed.

Down south in Tampa, Florida, the Lighting of the NHL, Buccaneers of the the NFL and the Rays of the MLB announced via twitter that they would fund the removal of Confederate soldier monuments in the city. Last month, county commissioners voted yes on removing the statues but said that public funds couldn't be used in the process. The Tampa sports teams decided to pick up the tab on behalf of the community.