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In celebration of women’s right to vote

“Guaranteeing women the right to vote was one of the first steps on our country’s ongoing journey toward gender equality. This right validated a woman’s opinions, insight and perspective—one that is often quite different. The right to vote made us a part of the conversation and solution in politics and paved the way for women to continue pushing toward equality in all aspects of life.

I am so grateful to the many in our history who opened the door to the opportunity I have today. I promise to continue the work of these visionaries by earning respect as a female leader who guides with integrity, dedication and professionalism.”

-Mary Ellen Pratt, FACHE, CEO
—St. James Parish Hospital


“I am only 17, so I am unable to vote; however, I realize how important my right to vote is. Only 100 years ago, women gained the right to vote. I owe it to my ancestors who battled relentlessly for suffrage to exercise my right to vote when I can. Today, I am surrounded by many empowering women like my mother, sister, friends and teachers, and it is difficult for me to imagine a world in which brilliant women like them were silenced because of gender. Not only is exercising my right to vote important, but I, along with others, have been inspired to stand up for what we believe in. Women’s suffrage leaders inspired other minorities to fight for their rights, such as African Americans in the ‘60s. The battle for suffrage 100 years ago taught me that I should take any opportunities that are presented to me because long ago, women did not have the opportunities I have. Many female authors and artists used pen names because they feared they would not be taken seriously simply because they were women. As an artist, it is an honor to be able to put myself out there without the fear of suppression. Women have come a long way. Additionally, our fights have paved the way for equality for all, and I am honored to follow in strong women’s footsteps.”

-Rio Frazier—Riverside Academy Student