Doña Ana County Democrats Celebrate Women’s History Month

The Democratic Party of Doña Ana County is proud to join in the observance of National Women’s History Month. This year’s theme, “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business” presents the opportunity to weave women’s stories – individually and collectively – into the essential fabric of our nation’s history.

We honor the historic and central role of women to the nation generally, and the contributions of women in the fields of science and technology, specifically, without whose historic role in the advance of the sciences, and in mathematics, the many advances for our country in every field, both here in New Mexico, and throughout our nation could not have been possible.

Salt of the Earth: Mineworker’s wives who led the Empire Zinc strike and protests in support of the Local 890 chapter of the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers at Bayard, NM in 1952.

In celebrating National Women’s History Month we also join in celebrating the diversity of leadership that we, as a nation, as a community organization, and as a political party must embrace, if we are to continue to ensure the future success of this great nation and remain a beacon of freedom to the rest of the world.

Each year, Americans observe National Women’s History Month in March by celebrating the history, and contributions of women to the rich heritage of the United States.

Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Public Act 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the entire month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

Watch: Celebrating Women’s History Month at the White House

In honor of Women’s History Month, last week, the White House welcomed a group of high school students to participate in a conversation with a mentoring pane. It was followed by a celebration in the East Room with President Obama and the First Lady.

Here are some of the highlights and interviews from the panelists and attendees:

Watch and share today’s video.

“Vote for Ourselves”

“Change is built from the bottom up, like a house—not from the top down. But you need someone at the top who allows you to build a house in the first place, and that’s President Obama.” —Gloria Steinem

In a new video celebrating Women’s History Month, Gloria Steinem lays out why she’s behind the President—and why this election will be a turning point for American women. Watch the video, then share it with anyone in your life who’s ready to help make history.

Fannie Lou Hamer: A Pioneer for Voting Rights

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, women’s rights are under attack around the county. From limiting access to health care to restricting our constitutional right to vote, there is a coordinated movement to strip women of the rights that were hard fought to achieve.  Now more than ever, we should take the time to recognize those who have come before us and fought to expand our civil rights.

Fannie Lou Hamer was an advocate for voting rights during the Civil Rights Movement.  Born in 1917 in rural Montgomery County, Mississippi, to sharecroppers, Hamer began picking cotton at the age of six to help provide for her family.

In 1962, Hamer attended a protest meeting that would change her life.  She learned that African Americans had the right to vote, and she volunteered to take the journey down to Indianola, Mississippi, to register. Her initial attempts to register were blocked, but she continued to fight to gain access to the ballot.  Even though she was threatened, fired from her job, and brutally beaten, Hamer found a way to register to vote in 1963, and went on to help register other voters in her community. Her efforts cost the rest of her family their jobs, and cost Hamer her health: Later that year, she was beaten so badly that she was permanently disabled after refusing to go along with a restaurant’s “whites only” policy.

Hamer soon took her fight for civil rights to the national stage.  Because the Mississippi Democratic Party at the time would not accept African American members, she went on to help found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP).  In 1964, she was among the delegates present from MFDP to challenge the all-white Mississippi delegation at the Democratic National Convention. Her testimony to the Credentials Committee on the violence and discrimination she faced registering voters in Mississippi was nationally televised. “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,” she notably proclaimed. Her role at the convention led to a change in the DNC rules in 1968, and required the equal representation of state delegations at national conventions.

Hamer continued to work on expanding the rights of women and people of color until her death in 1977.  She has been recognized as a leader of the Civil Rights Movement, and praised for her work through the passage of a resolution in her honor in her home state of Mississippi.

Fannie Lou Hamer stands as a powerhouse in the fight to expand the right to vote to every American.  She famously noted: “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.” Her words still ring true as we continue the fight to keep access to the ballot open for all American citizens.