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As a young woman who grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and attended Little Rock Central High School (home of the Little Rock Nine), I was fully aware of the importance of civil rights activists such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and women’s equality advocates such as Gloria Steinem. As a student at LRCH we lived and breathed the inequalities that prevailed during the desegregation crisis of that era. It was our present just as much as it was our past. We didn’t literally live that history, but it was a past that we couldn’t forget. That we shouldn’t forget.

The last couple of weeks have been monumental of sorts. HBO launched Gloria Steinem’s documentary, Dr. King’s monument now rests on the National Mall waiting to welcome thousands of visitors as we remember the 1963 march on Washington and Women’s Equality Day is upon us –this Friday, August 26th we will celebrate the 91st anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Act which gave women the right to vote. Yes, we will celebrate but there is so much more to work for. There is so much more to advocate for.

Earlier this year we celebrated the anniversary of The Affordable Care Act (ACA) only to see the house and other legislators vote to repeal ACA. Despite the record number of female candidates running for office last year, we witnessed the first major loss of seats for women in Congress since 1960 and to this day, major corporations still don’t have women represented on their boards.

All of these moments, good or bad, are why it’s exciting for me to see the Women’s Information Network (WIN) partner with other women focused organizations to end the attacks on women’s health and economic rights. The time to mobilize women voters is now in preparation for 2012.

During the upcoming election season, you have to OWN your vote. OWN your voice and your experience. Educate yourself on the issues at stake. Educate yourself on the candidates and learn more about what they stand for. The legislation that’s being proposed or has been passed will affect you, as well as your friends and family. If YOU don’t own your vote in this upcoming election then who will?

Although we’ve had and will continue to have many successes in the women’s equality movement it is important to remember that, “one must always maintain one's connection to the past and yet ceaselessly pull away from it.” HERvotes matter. Are you willing to stand up and be heard?

OWN your vote – are you willing to stand up and be heard?

This blog is part of the #HERvotes blog carnival

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