The 2019 Women’s Equality Day luncheon at Eglin Air Force Base featured speaker Wanjiku Jackson, a member of the League of Women Voters for Okaloosa and Walton Counties.
She recognized the accomplishments of military women at the Aug. 28 event.
“Women are doing powerful things in the military,” she said. “Coming from a military family, I saw many powerful women of all levels in the Air Force.”
“We have come a long way since then, but there is so much further to go,” she said. “Ethnicity was not considered when the 19th Amendment was passed. Women of color were not granted the right to vote until the Civil Rights Act of 1964. My 99-year-old grandmother was 43 before she could legally vote.”
Jackson said she first voted in kindergarten when her school held Voting Day.
“It was profound to me that children could vote,” she recalled. “I didn’t know how important voting really was until I became an adult and cast my first real vote at age 18.
She pointed out the difference between equity and equality.
“Equality is about fairness and justice, where pay equity is about me, as a woman,” she said. “Women still make 20 percent less than men on average. We have a long way to go in that area.”
Voting numbers in local elections were low this year, Jackson said. Seven percent of the local population voted.
“Local elections are where the most change is made,” she said. “The voting booth is where we can best impact our communities.”
She asked the audience to research laws and amendments prior to voting in local, primary and general elections.
Jackson ended her speech by encouraging the audience to exercise their right to vote and to continue to work towards equality for everyone.
Story by Kevin Gaddie, Team Eglin Public Affairs
PHOTO (TOP): Wanjiku Jackson, a League of Women’s Voters for Okaloosa and Walton Counties member, was the guest speaker for this year’s Women’s Equality Day luncheon August 28. (U.S Air Force photo/Kevin Gaddie)