We WIN When . . .
We Gather Together
By: Crystal G
On March 14thWIN and our community friends came together for our (2nd Annual) Women’s History Month celebration. While we were gearing up to host this meaningful event, we learned that 2023 would be the centennial of women joining the legislators at the Ohio Statehouse. Just two short years after the Suffragists successfully fought for our right to vote, they would not only run for office, they would win. In January 1923 six women would enter the halls of the statehouse--four in the house and two in the senate. During their tenure they would serve on many committees. These women were not equipped with formal political training, but what they did have were skills they learned in the trenches working with women’s organizations during the Suffragist movement.
It is no surprise that women have been lifting other women for years. What is remarkable is how much we can accomplish when we come together. Tuesday evening, March 14th, we did just that. We invited newly elected Ohio State Rep. Dr. Anita Somani, Ohio State Rep. Minority Whip Jessica Miranda and United States Congresswoman Joyce Beatty to celebrate Women’s History Month with us. We asked them each to speak to us about the challenges they faced as women, how they are working towards more just laws and where we, as women, go from here.
It was no surprise that when State Rep. Dr. Anita Somani spoke she would address the concerns facing women across our nation since the fall of Roe. She has 30 years of experience caring for Columbus area women as a local OBGYN. She reminded us just what a personal decision it is to start a family and how devastating it can be when the outcome was unexpected. Rep. Somani is also a board member of the Columbus Medical Association and Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio. She was pleased to tell us that the language for the upcoming ballot initiative had been accepted just the day before and that we would have the opportunity to sign petitions to at least put this decision back into the hands of the voters.
Ohio State Representative Jessica Miranda is every bit of the “badass suburban mom” she claims to be. Just that morning she and fellow State Rep. Juanita Brent reintroduced the Ohio Equal Pay Act. Despite her being a busy mother of three and her long commute, she found the time to join us. She is committed to passing legislation that will help women and families, one of which is extending the limitations on sexual abuse claims in special cases. She is also working on an anti-corruption act that will hold legislators responsible, especially after recent events. This bill is cosponsored by many others.
Clark County Clerk of Courts Sheila Rice said she was honored to have the opportunity to introduce U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty. She reminded us how politically active Congresswoman Beatty has been over the years and how often Ms. Beatty finds herself in “good trouble”. There was no question that when the Congresswoman stood up to address the room she had our full attention. Her story-telling skill was mesmerizing as she toldofher first interactions with President Obama and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
What I recall most was the feeling she left me with. Even though she was addressing an entire room full of people, I felt as though it was just the two of us in the room. As we opened the floor to a few quick questions, she was asked about the current banking situation and where we might find ourselves in the future. Congresswoman Beatty was the perfect person to ask, as she sits on the Committee on Financial Services and the Joint Economic Committee. She made sure to tell us how important this topic is to the current administration and how they are holding meetings and doing everything they can to protect the American public.
Throughout the evening as each woman spoke the room would collectively agree and would erupt with applause or laughter. These women were not there to sell us on some temporary ideology to gain them a few votes; they testified to our core values and beliefs. They are women, mothers, sisters, daughters and wives –and like the women that came before them in 1923 these women have walked through the trenches to become the excellent legislators that they are today.