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Duckworth Commemorates 100th Anniversary of League of Women Voters’ Founding in Chicago | U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois

February 14, 2020

[CHICAGO, IL] – U. S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today attended the League of Women Voters 100th Anniversary Celebration, commemorating the organization’s century-long legacy of education and advocacy which began in Chicago in 1920. Duckworth was joined by other local leaders including U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL-11), Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle. Duckworth highlighted the importance of the League of Women voters over the past century in securing voting rights for all. Photos from today’s event are available here.

“One hundred years ago today, a group of activists gathered at this very spot, ready to take on the most American task imaginable: making our union more perfect,” Duckworth said. “The physical scars suffragists had earned marching through D.C. had barely begun to fade, and yet these women were already gearing up for more battles to come, refusing to let yesterday’s bruises stop them from fighting for a better tomorrow. I’m so happy to be with you all today, celebrating a century of the League – a century of hard work, of progress, of making sure that our democracy ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’ includes all the people, regardless of something like gender or skin color. And I’m glad to be here with you as we work to make the next century even better.”

Duckworth’s full remarks as prepared below:

Hello, everyone! Thank you for having me here this morning.

Let me start by saying congratulations!

100 years ago today, a group of activists gathered at this very spot, ready to take on the most American task imaginable: making our union more perfect.

Their right to make their voices heard at the polls still hadn’t even been ratified…

And yet they were already organizing to raise their voices even louder.

The physical scars suffragists had earned marching through D.C. had barely begun to fade…

And yet these women were already gearing up for more battles to come… refusing to let yesterday’s bruises stop them from fighting for a better tomorrow.

I’m so happy to be with you all today, celebrating a century of the League.

A century of hard work.

Of progress.

Of making sure that our democracy “of the people, by the people, for the people” includes all the people, regardless of something like gender or skin color.

And I’m glad to be here with you as we work to make the next century even better.

You know, it says something that as the size of the League grew through the years, so too did the breadth of its mission and the depth of its commitment.

You’ve fought for affordable education and fair housing.

You’ve worked day and night for reproductive rights. For campaign finance reform. For clean air and water.

You’ve gone to picket line after picket line to fight back against voter suppression.

And through it all, you’ve risked safety and security… withstood hypocrisy and misogyny… refusing to stay silent so that your daughters and your daughters’ daughters could inherit the democracy they deserve.

For that, I’m forever grateful—and for that, America is forever in your debt.

Of course, everyone here knows that these fights aren’t over yet.

Because even today, a century after the ink dried on the 19th Amendment, every American’s right to vote still isn’t secure:

Not when voter suppression tactics still block so many people of color from the ballot;

When voter roll purges are still common and some in power are still fighting to install modern-day poll taxes.

So today, let’s take pride in how far we’ve come these past 100 years.

But let’s also recommit to going to even greater lengths in the next 100…

So that on Feb. 14, 2120, our grandchildren will be able to walk down this same block, into this same building, knowing that the League—and our union—is more perfect than ever.

Congratulations again!

-30-

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