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Remembering Jeannette Rankin
To kickoff Women's History Month, we'd like to honor the hard-work and courage of our namesake, Jeannette Rankin.
Elected to Congress in 1917, before the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote nationally, Jeannette fought tirelessly for women's rights. In January 1918, she opened the first House Floor debate on women's suffrage, saying:
“How shall we answer the challenge, gentlemen? How shall we explain to them the meaning of democracy if the same Congress that voted to make the world safe for democracy refuses to give this small measure of democracy to the women of our country?”
After voting no to entering World War I, Jeannette lost her bid for reelection. She spent her time working for peace and social welfare by joining the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, founding the Georgia Peace Society, and lobbying Congress to pass social welfare legislation, such as the Sheppard–Towner bill and a constitutional amendment banning child labor.
With war looming, Jeannette ran for Congress and took her place in the House once again in 1941. She said:
“No one will pay any attention to me this time. There is nothing unusual about a woman being elected.”
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, a session was called to vote on a declaration of war. Her fellow members of Congress booed and hissed as she voted No and said:
“As a woman I can’t go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else.”
The war resolution passed the House 388–1. An angry mob forced Jeannette to hide in a phone booth and wait for police escort after the vote. She later said:
“I have nothing left but my integrity.”
After her term was finished, Jeannette continued to advocate for peace. During the Vietnam War, she led the Jeannette Rankin Brigade in a protest march that culminated in the presentation of a peace petition to House Speaker John McCormack.
To read more about Jeannette Rankin, click here.
This Saturday, board members, staff and scholars will gather to map the future for Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund.
A generous board member is sponsoring travel for Jeannette Rankin scholars Julie, Angela and Barb from Oregon, Missouri, and Minnesota. Current Georgia scholars Shea, Maria, and Khadijah, plus recent graduate LaTrena will also be there. They'll be sharing their personal stories of challenges and triumphs as they journeyed back to school to build a brighter future.
We're grateful to all of the amazing people coming together this weekend who are dedicated to helping women conquer poverty through education.
Jeannette Rankin scholar receives Courageous Educator Award!
Angela was presented with the Courageous Educator Award by Educators for Social Justice! She works as an assistant professor in human services and serves as the department chair at St. Louis Community College. In 1997, she needed help paying for college.
"My Jeannette Rankin Fund scholarship allowed for me to complete my education and in doing so, spurred my professional development and community involvement," Angela said.
After earning her Bachelor's degree in Social Work in 1999, Angela went on to earn her Master's. She's kept busy since then, doing incredible work in her school and community.
Here's an excerpt on why she was selected:
“Angela’s fervor for social justice in the realm of education was clear from the very first moment we reviewed her nomination,” Accettola said. “She works ardently to organize her students to promote equality across the city through various student clubs. She also has her hand in addressing a wide variety of social justice issues, including homelessness and women’s rights. Simply put, Angela’s passion pervades all areas of her life.”
Congratulations, Angela! We are so happy your contributions and hard work are being recognized. To read more about Angela and her work in and out of the classroom, click here.
Message from the Executive Director
Happy New Year!
I hope your 2015 is off to a great start like ours is. The final numbers are in: from November 1 – December 31, 2014, donors contributed $106,638.50. Generous new friends and long-time supporters helped exceed our $100,000 Challenge goal. These gifts help low-income women go to school, pursue better careers and conquer poverty permanently.
This year starts brightly for Jeannette Rankin scholars beginning Spring Term. Several anticipate graduation in May. Others are already beginning their new jobs. Jeannette Rankin scholar Theo was working full-time, raising her daughters, and going to school and studying at night. In December, she sent us a holiday card saying: "Thank you so much for everything! I graduated on Saturday and was hired after my first interview the following Wednesday." Now Theo is a classroom teacher, inspiring her students to do their best in school.
I have the utmost gratitude for Jeannette Rankin Fund supporters. On behalf of all the amazing women who are our scholars, thank you. You’re helping women succeed through education!