The Eighth Judicial District Gender and Racial Fairness Committee is part of a standing Committee on Women in the Courts that works to secure equal justice, equal treatment and equal opportunity for women whose lives bring them into the courts through education, information and advocacy. The Committee created the Lamplighter Award that recognizes women who, through determination and personal achievement, have worked to eliminate gender and racial bias.
This year, the Committee recognizes the efforts of countless women and men who fought for the passage of the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, 100 years ago in 1920, which legally gave women the right to vote. Although the 19th Amendment guaranteed the right to vote for all women, white middle- and upper-class women were the primary beneficiaries of that guarantee. Native Americans didn’t become citizens until four years later in 1924; so native women didn’t gain the right to vote and Jim Crow laws precluded women of color, as well as black men, from exercising their right to vote. The fight for equality for all women continued and it was not until the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 (45 years later) and the Voting Rights Act in 1965 (46 years later) that all women were able to enjoy the 19th Amendment’s guarantee of the right to vote.
Today, 100 years later and in spite of the efforts of some to curtail the right to vote, we proudly recognize three women from Western New York who influence all three branches of government:
Hon. Kathy Hochul, NYS Lt. Governor and President of the New York State Senate;
Hon. Crystal Davis Peoples-Stokes, Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly and
Hon. Paula L. Feroleto, Administrative Judge of the Eighth Judicial District.
We also recognize the Chair and Founder of the NYS Women in the Courts, Hon. Betty Weinberg Ellerin.
These women, through determination and personal achievement, work to eliminate gender and racial bias and to secure equal justice, equal treatment and equal opportunity to women and men whose lives bring them into the courts and communities of New York.
The Committee also joins the chorus of people from around the world in recognizing the life and legacy of the late US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who embodied the principles that the Committee embraces.
Please join us in acknowledging these women and the work that they do by exercising your right to vote on Election Day.
Justice E. Jeannette Ogden, Chair
NYS Women in the Courts –
8th JD Gender and Racial Fairness Committee