Pelosi Remarks at Women’s Equality Day ‘W Challenge’ Kick-Off
Contact: Taylor Griffin, 202-604-7735
San Francisco – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined local elected officials and community advocates for the Women’s Equality Day ‘W Challenge’ kick-off to commemorate 98 years since women won the right to vote. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
Leader Pelosi. Thank you very much, Carmen [Chu], it is an honor to be here with you and so many women leaders in our community. Thank you for bringing us together. Madam Mayor [London Breed], honored to be here with you.
Madam Mayor, I was recalling on the way here when Carmen, Assessor Chu, was a supervisor, we walked her district and with Katy Tang who would then become a supervisor. Nice to see you Katy [Tang]. Congratulations Carmen [Chu].
Look at these women. London Breed, the Mayor of San Francisco.
Carmen Chu, the Assessor of our city.
Katy Tang, Supervisor, she was a staff person then and then onto being Supervisor following in Carmen’s wonderful footsteps. We are joined by the Sheriff Vicki Hennessy. We are so blessed in our community with so many wonderful leaders and we will hear from more. Debbie Mesloh, Commission on the Status of Women, the list goes on and on.
So here we are. The W Challenge. Challenging women to vote. It is just a fact: when you don’t vote, you don’t count and your views are not taken into consideration. So thank you Carmen for bringing us together for this challenge. It is so important as we come together, the 98th anniversary of women having the right to vote.
At the time, when this happened, they said, ‘Women were given the right to vote.’ No. Women weren’t given anything. Women fought, marched, starved, were starved, defied their families, gave everything to be recognized so that women could have the right to vote. We stand on their shoulders. So we have to continue – fight for equal pay for equal work, Lily Ledbetter, and all those kinds of things.
Women are very much about families and keeping families together. We do not want one family separated by an immigration policy we do not agree with and we don’t want families separated by gun violence. And that’s why it’s such an honor to be here with Mattie Scott. She has turned the grief of her son’s murder into a decades-long fight against the tragedy of gun violence. You are such an incredible leader.
Today, we lost a cherished member of our community. Joe Taeotui, better known as Brother Joe. We need the voices of America’s women so that when we take power we will pass laws to keep families together, not separated by gun violence.
I am glad that Supervisor Catherine Stefani — who has worked before becoming a Supervisor on this gun violence issue. So votes matter because it determines policy and policy matters. Thank you again, Mattie.
Now I know when we leave here we’re going to march over to the library and have a seminar on how women can be appointed [to more] boards and commissions, elected offices and the rest!
So I thought, I’d tell you this story. It was a long time ago, my children were little. I was in my home getting ready for dinner and I get a call from the Mayor of San Francisco, Joe Alioto. He says, ‘What are you doing Nancy, making a big pot of pasta?’
I said, ‘No, Mayor, I’m reading the New York Times.’
So here’s the point – he called to ask me, because my kids and I always volunteered at the San Francisco Library, where you’re going next. And he called to ask me, he said, ‘I know you love the library. Would you serve as a Commissioner?’ To which I said – typical of my era – ‘Oh, that’s okay Mr. Mayor I’ll do the work without being a Commissioner. We love the library, we’ll just go do that.’
Now he was not known as a great feminist, but he did say, ‘Never say that. No man would say that. Get official recognition for what you do.’ Get official recognition for what you do.
It was true then, it is true now. The point was, I really thought, well we’re going to volunteer anyway, but when you get on the Commission you have a vote, people want to know what you think. We started bringing our Commission meetings into the neighborhoods, it was a big thing and it can make a difference with your fresh new ideas especially realizing how bringing it closer to home was important to families.
So I’m so happy that there will be even now a need but also an opportunity for women to learn more about why it’s important that they get official recognition for what they do. So who knows? Library Commissioner? Speaker of the House?
[Cheers and applause]
I’m proud to represent a city that knows the value of women. Know your power, women. But when you talk about a vote at a Commission or a vote at the polls that is what is really important.
So thank you Carmen for bringing us together for the W Challenge. There is nothing more whole for our country, for our political process, for our government than the increased participation of women in leadership in the political system.
We owe it to the suffragettes standing on their shoulders to advance the cause even further. Thank you all very much!
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