As we start a new year, let our feminist values guide us through 2022, a critical midterm election year. Our values are elemental and universal: human rights and full equal rights for all, globally and locally, equality and equity in all spheres of society. As stated in our position papers, “we will achieve our vision of a feminist society by demanding political representation that truly reflects the diversity of our communities; by influencing legislation at all levels of policy-making; by collaborating with other progressive communities; and by promoting political engagement and participation by all people.” At the core, we all share a passion for and an unwavering commitment to creating a society in which every person has access, voice, and power. Let us continue to act on this shared passion and commitment, individually and collectively, in 2022. ( https://sbwpc.org/positions/)
We will continue our work at the local level to promote political engagement and participation by mentoring and encouraging feminist women to take their seats at the table. We will address many local races through our endorsement process and continue to weigh in on legislation at all levels.
But in 2022, we must also look beyond our borders and expand our feminist advocacy. An unprecedented number of people voted in the 2020 election. Yet, we all witnessed the aftermath of the presidential election: the January 6 insurrection, the campaign of disinformation and lies about the election process to undermine confidence in our democracy, the systematic attack on voting rights. Between January 1 and December 7, 2021 more than 400 bills were introduced in 49 states seeking to restrict voting access. 34 such laws were passed in 19 states. Make no mistake about it. This is a concerted effort to disenfranchise Black voters, voters of color and young voters by bringing voting laws reminiscent of the Jim Crow era, through gerrymandering of congressional districts, and by attempting to dismantle the election process itself. Voting rights legislation has been blocked in Congress.
We cannot achieve our vision of a society based on the feminist values of social, political, racial, and economic gender equality without demanding equal voting rights for all Americans. This is why we have created an ad-hoc committee to confront these issues and devise a plan of action so we can individually and as a group add our voices to a nationwide movement to ensure that justice and democracy prevail. Already this year, we have sent letters in support of the Native American Voting Rights Act of 2021: HR 5008 (Davids) and S 2702 (Luján). We need to advocate for the passage of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act which would expand voting access, protect voting rights, and restore key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
This is critical to the issues we care deeply about such as racial justice, reproductive rights, LBGTQ+ rights, the Equal Rights Amendment as, on November 8, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 24 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be on the ballot. But, more fundamentally, it is critical because we cannot be true to our core feminist values without demanding voting rights and equal access to the ballot box for all Americans.
We will keep you informed of our activities throughout the year in our newsletters, emails, website, and Facebook page. I am looking forward to your continued support and to working together in small and big ways to achieve SBWPC’s vision.
Catherine J. Swysen