“We all know that the Almighty Dollar speaks. But what if it had a woman’s voice?”
Washington, DC –-(ENEWSPF)–April 30, 2015. Today, Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL) addressed the House of Representatives during the morning hour on the bill he introduced this month to put a woman’s portrait on the twenty dollar bill. The bill, the Put a Woman on the Twenty Act (H.R. 1910), instructs the Secretary of the Treasury to convene a panel to nominate a woman whose portrait can adorn the $20 note.
The Congressman notes that his staffer brought him the idea for the legislation after she learned about the “Women on 20s” campaign on-line, a grassroots effort that has garnered more than half a million votes in support of putting a woman on our money. The bill has five co-sponsors, so far, and students at Roosevelt University in Chicago are organizing a campaign in support of their school’s namesake, Eleanor Roosevelt, to be selected for the honor when a woman’s portrait is put on the twenty dollar bill.
“Women led us out of slavery on the Underground Railroad, taught us what the phrase ‘all men are created equal’ really means by fighting for women’s suffrage and for civil rights, and have led in all sectors in society. When I go to the bank, when I use an ATM, when I travel overseas, the twenty dollar bill is already widely used and in the purses and wallets of hundreds of millions of people. We all know that the Almighty Dollar speaks. But what if it had a woman’s voice?”
A video of the Congressman’s speech is here: https://youtu.be/D-_L1tc-uf8
The text, as prepared for delivery, is below.
Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez represents the Fourth District of Illinois, is a Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, is a Member of the Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, and is the Co-Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Remarks (as prepared for delivery)
April 30, 2015
What would be like if this chamber and this government reflected the diversity of the American people?
There would be a lot more portraits of women alongside all the portraits of the committee chairmen of decades past.
In 2015, it wouldn’t be newsworthy when a competent and intelligent person, who happens to be an African American woman, is hired for a job for which she is supremely qualified, which happened this week when Loretta Lynch was sworn in as our 83rd Attorney General.
And we wouldn’t still be talking about unequal pay for equal work.
I believe that if this is a country that truly believes in equality it is time to put our money where our mouths are…literally, and express that sense of justice on the most widely used currency in international transactions.
Last week I introduced the Put a Woman on the Twenty Act to build on a public grassroots campaign known as “Women on 20s” working to bring gender equality to our currency.
Their public campaign has garnered more than a half a million votes in support of putting a woman on the twenty dollar bill. I loved the idea, brought to me by smart young women on my staff, because to me this isn’t just a women’s issue. It’s an American issue.
My bill simply directs the Secretary of the Treasury to convene a panel of citizens to solicit recommendations from the public for a woman to be placed on the twenty dollar bill.
Women have inspired generations of Americans for their courage, by challenging this nation to protect the civil rights of all Americans.
Women who have advocated for voting rights and equal protection under the law and for programs that serve the most vulnerable members of our communities.
Women led us out of slavery on the Underground Railroad, taught us what the phrase “all men are created equal” really means by fighting for women’s suffrage and for civil rights, and have led in all sectors in society.
When I go to the bank, when I use an ATM, when I travel overseas, the twenty dollar bill is already widely used and in the purses and wallets of hundreds of millions of people.
We all know that the Almighty Dollar speaks. But what if it had a woman’s voice?
Consider for a moment the powerful message that will be sent to a young girl in Chicago if she saw a portrait celebrating Rosa Parks or Harriet Tubman when she reached into her wallet to make a purchase.
And what about the young man in a country far away, who maybe is still hearing damaging messages about the role of women in his country? The portrait of Wilma Mankiller or Eleanor Roosevelt on the United States bill that represents power and success to him provides a new opportunity to share our common values about equality and inclusion in faraway places.
The organization Women on 20s has put forward four exceptional female leaders for this honor: Rosa Parks, Wilma Mankiller, Harriet Tubman, and Eleanor Roosevelt.
That’s a great list, but there is no reason to stop there. The initiative has sparked conversations about the many great women who have contributed in significant ways to strengthen our democracy and economy.
I have certainly benefited from the passionate advocacy of women who fought for civil rights and equality, as have my daughters and my constituents in Chicago, many of whom are debating and weighing in on the candidates for this honor.
Roosevelt University in Chicago has launched a campus-wide effort to champion Eleanor Roosevelt for the honor, and not just because they were named after her.
As a result of the campaign, students are participating in a national dialogue about her work advocating for child labor laws to protect kids and all workers from unsafe conditions and long hours; For gender equity, and safe housing.
Now I don’t know who will be chosen. She could be one of the women suggested already or one of many other talented and impressive women in our country’s history.
My mother, who is an amazing woman, and who would probably get my personal vote, is out of the running because, thankfully, she is still alive.
But I believe that the time has come to have our currency represent the contributions of women throughout our history to strengthen our democracy and economy.
A woman’s place is in the boardroom, chairing the committee, in the laboratory, in the Oval Office, and yes, even on our currency.
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