On August 18, PPGC President and CEO Melaney A. Linton (pictured above, far right, in front of the Harris County Precinct One's Gov. Ann Richards Moving Monument bus) participated in a press conference to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment along with Commissioner Rodney Ellis, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Houston City Council Member Letitia Plummer, and League of Women Voters Board Member Michelle Levi McDaniel. Below are her full remarks; click here to watch a video of the press conference.
At Planned Parenthood, we believe it is every person’s right to control their own body and to decide their own future. And, we understand that right is not a reality for far too many. We also know that voting is a powerful and necessary tool to safeguard that right. And, the essential tool of voting has also been out of reach, and purposefully suppressed.
And while we celebrate this important milestone in women’s liberation, we must also acknowledge and appreciate the critical contributions of Black women who, while serving on the front lines of this movement, were visibly left out when only white women won the right to vote on this day 100 years ago. For far too long, women of color have been sidelined in the fight for gender and racial equality. And we know that fight is far from over.
Right now, as a nation, we’re confronting the dual public health crises of COVID-19 and systemic violence against people of color. Racism permeates every structure in our society, and we’ve seen the ways in which this pandemic, which is disproportionately ravaging communities of color, has further exposed the glaring inequities in our public health system.
At Planned Parenthood, we’ve also seen the devastating consequences of relentless political attacks on essential health care, including abortion, and of unnecessary political interference in what should always be private, personal decisions.
Radical policies that block people’s access to health care fall hardest on women, communities of color, LGBTQ people, and people with low incomes. This pandemic has only magnified these disparities, just as it’s magnified the impact of leadership -- both good and bad.
When it comes to reproductive rights, access to care, and the ongoing fight for equality, the stakes have never been higher. In 2020, one hundred years after the 19th Amendment was ratified, it is still about our bodies, our votes, and our future.
Now more than ever, we’re fighting for a world where every person has access to health care and full control of their bodies and their lives. Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast is committed to making this vision a reality for everyone. I look forward to fighting alongside our partner organizations like League of Women Voters, Commissioner Ellis, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Councilmember Letitia Plummer, and communities of color for full access to care, equitable representation, and reproductive freedom for all. To quote Audre Lorde, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”