February has been a time for celebration! This month we celebrated our 101st birthday, reinforcing our commitment to nonpartisanship despite the hyper-partisan times we are in. We are still celebrating Black History Month, expressing gratitude for the contributions to voting rights advancement from Black people, reflecting on the work that needs to be done to ensure that Black people have equal opportunity, and celebrating the Black history in the making within our organization.
Looking ahead to March – Women’s History Month begins next week, and this is the right time to advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to finally be added to our constitution. Leagues have worked passionately for decades to see the ERA ratified by the states, and 2021 is the year that we could get it past the finish line. We also anticipate the For the People Act (HR 1) to pass in the House early March. There is still time to make sure your representatives are supporting HR 1. We expect the Senate version of the For the People Act, S 1, will be introduced in the coming days.
I also want to address the blatant voter suppression tactics being used by several states. Since the 2020 election, we have seen more than 100 voter suppression bills in state legislatures across the country. As Leagues continue to assess the potential impact of these bills, the LWVUS Election task force will be monitoring what's happening and working with states to develop a unified approach to push back on these bills and to fight any bad laws that threaten our mission to empower voters and defend democracy. In 2020, we helped millions of voters gain access to the ballot. In 2021, we cannot let these bills take us backwards.
I am thinking of those of you in Texas and other states who were impacted by last week's winter storms. Please continue to stay safe!