Baca spearheads effort to honor women's rights leader
Washington - Rep. Joe Baca (D-Rialto) is leading the effort among members of Congress to honor Alice Paul, a leader of the women's suffrage movement and civil rights champion.
Rep. Baca introduced legislation Tuesday that will award Alice Paul the Congressional Gold Medal for her role in securing equal rights for women, including the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Rep. Baca's bill, H.R. 311, is the first effort to award Paul with the medal.
"Alice Paul's role in United States history cannot be understated," said Rep. Baca. "Without her, women might not enjoy many of the rights that they do today. It is time that she received proper recognition from the United States Congress."
Paul, who was born on January 11, 1885, and died on July 9, 1977, dedicated her life to securing suffrage and equal rights for all women. She split from many other women of her time by pressing the United States Congress to adopt a constitutional amendment granting women suffrage, instead of pressing the states to do so.
Paul used nonviolent civil disobedience to bring national attention to the women's suffrage movement. She was among the first group to ever picket the White House.
"Alice Paul's courage inspired thousands of women to join the women's suffrage movement," said Rep. Baca "Instead of patiently waiting for States to grant women suffrage, Alice Paul mobilized an entire generation of women to pressure the United States Congress and the President to give all women the right to vote."
After the 19th Amendment was ratified, Paul drafted the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and fought tirelessly for the states to ratify it. Only three states remained at the time of her death in 1977, but the amendment was never ratified. Paul also successfully lobbied Congress to include sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
"As one of the foremost leaders of the women's suffrage movement, it is absolutely deserving that the Congress award Alice Paul with the Congressional Gold Medal," said Rep. Baca. "Alice Paul stood for civil rights for all people, not just women. It is time that the U.S. Congress honors her."