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Finding Your Voice: Speaking Truth to Power

“When you own your voice, you own your power”

Albany suffragists
Jessie Stubbs and “General” Rosalie Jones, who led the woman suffrage hikes to Albany, N.Y., and Washington, D.C. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2008)
Bain News Service, publisher , Library of Congress Image

2020 marks the centennial of the United States signing women’s suffrage into law with the 19th amendment.  Women around the country protested, picketed and were imprisoned to secure their constitutional right to vote in an effort to create a more equal and just society.  And yet, while significant progress has been made on the path to equality, the fight continues: 100 years later, women still make up less than 25% of elected officials in Congress, and in the 2016 election, a third of eligible women voters did not cast a ballot. 

As we convene in Albany, the state capital of New York, we challenge you, the Honors students of the Northeast Region, to find your distinctive voices and to speak truth to power.  The ability to share your unique contributions with the world is not only a gift that you possess, but also a responsibility to those who have paved pathways before you, to yourselves and to those who will continue the fight when you are no longer able.

In addition, as you explore your own voices, your own stories, your own truths, we also call upon you to inspire others to find their voices, to empower the voices who seek to make the world a better place and to advocate for the voices of the unheard.  Recall that the journey to women’s suffrage was shared by people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, religions and sexualities; speaking to power is indeed further flamed by those who listen to understand the truths of others. 

“Your voice is what you have to say to the world.  Make it worth hearing.”