COMMENTARY: This Girl's On Fiiireee!

Library of Congress

I haven't called myself a "girl" in a long time, but I'm so fired up about today's presidential election that I can't help singing along with Alicia Keys.

Most of all, I can't stop thinking about the girls on fire of a century ago--the suffragists, those women with plenty of ovarios who marched, got beaten, harassed, thrown in jail for daring to demand that women be allowed to vote.

Imagine, women on hunger strikes for wanting to do what we now take for granted and many don't do at all.

The argument then was that women should not get the vote because they were “too emotional and could not think as logically as men.” Ha!

It took them about 70 years but finally, in 1920, they got Congress to pass the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote.

Among those early heroines were several Latinas that make us proud to this day. To name just two sufragistas: Puerto Rican Felisa Rincón de Gautier (1897-1994) who went on to become the legendary mayor of San Juan from 1948 to 1968, and Nina Otero-Warren (1881-1965) of New Mexico, who ran for Congress in 1922.

Today, in general, more US women than men vote. Close to six and a half million Latinas are expected to vote today, an amount that has tripled since 1996.

Help make that projection real. If you haven't done so already, get off your behind and head for the polls, rain or shine. You owe it to those girls on fire of the past. You owe it to your mothers and grandmothers, many of whom came here to exercise the freedoms and rights they didn’t have in their own countries.

So, let’s be “emotional” girls on fire just for the day and vote right now. You have a choice. Mine is Barack Obama, because I know for sure he won’t be messing around with our right to control our own bodies!

Sing it, Alicia!

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