A message from Alice Paul to the women of the future

Dear Women of the Future,

Wake up girls! There is too much at risk to be napping or resting on our laurels!! Do you not realize how much we who went before you have sacrificed? Do you not realize how long and hard we labored to build the foundations for women’s rights upon which you now stand?

But wait, this is not the tone I intended to take. I do not mean to be a shrew or a nagging elder, but to shine a light on the wealth of opportunities within which you bask. I mean to encourage you to invest in those opportunities, to develop them, to see them grow and multiply.

To those whom much is given, from them much is expected. I know this. I was a child of wealth and opportunity, born in Mount Lauren Township, New Jersey in 1885. I was able to attend Swarthmore College and then I completed my postgraduate studies at the New York School of Social Work. I was even able to study social work further in England where I participated in the women’s suffrage movement. Oh how that shaped and sharpened my skills on protesting tactics. When I returned to the US, I earned a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, rounding out my credentials. But more importantly, I soon joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association and eventually started my own organization, the National Woman’s Party.

All in all, I have devoted my life to the cause of women’s equality. There are goals yet to be achieved, but our achievements warrant celebration. In 1878 we introduced an amendment to the United States constitution to grant women suffrage, which is to give women the right to vote. In 1878, we women of America proclaimed that America was not a democracy, not when twenty million women are denied the right to vote.

We worked long and hard to gain attention and support for our cause. We organized protests outside the White House, which had never been done before. Our group became known as the Silent Sentinels. We continued our protests continued even when the country was preparing for World War I. After all, when you put your hand to the plow, you can’t put it down until you get to the end of the row. Many of us were jailed multiple times during the protests, we went on hunger strike, and some of us were force fed via a tube. But our determination for equality eventually gained public and political support.

We kept at our work until the amendment was passed by the House of Representatives on May 21, 1919, by the Senate on June 4, 1919. Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin ratified the amendment within days.  By March 1920 35 states had ratified the amendment, but a core of southern states rejected it. It came down to Tennessee. And the outlook was not good. The vote in the state legislature was 48 to 48. A tie. One representative was yet to vote – Harry T. Burn, a 23 year old Republican, who was known to oppose the amendment. But, his mother wrote to him:  “Don’t forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt (Carried Chapman Catt) put the ‘rat’ in ratification.” He honored his mother’s wish, voted yes, and the 19th Amendment was ratified by the required 36 states on August 18, 1920, and certified on August 26, 1920.

The Nineteenth Amendment simply says: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

I have long believed that there really is nothing complicated about ordinary equality. So, once the vote was secured, we took up the work for a women’s Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution. I could not help but take the next step in our journey to equality out of a feeling of loyalty to our own sex and an enthusiasm to have every degradation that was put upon our sex removed.  I know if we get freedom for women, then they are probably going to do a lot of things that I wish they wouldn’t do. But it seems to me that isn’t our business to say what they should do with it. It is our business to see that they get it. It is not for me to judge the choices of other women, after all, courage in women is often mistaken for insanity. 

Dear women of the future, it is time for you to put your hearts, minds and hands to the plow, to take up the work of women’s equality.  How much longer must women wait to get their liberty? Let us have the rights we deserve.

(the above includes a number of quotes from Alice Paul, woven together and elaborated with words from my heart.)

The Story of Two Peaches and Three Warriors

Sunday morning I was thinking about a blog, and wanted to find something on wisdom and peace, particularly after the terrorist attacks on Paris. I must have been thinking about something else because I typed ‘peach’ into the search box instead of ‘peace.’  I found this story from China that still has me thinking, so of course I had to share it with you.

Once upon a time in the province of Qi, there were three brave warriors: Gongsun Jie, Tian Kaijiang and Gu Yezi. They were arrogant and overbearing in the court. The royal ministers found them hard to get along with and Duke Jing was increasingly irritated by their rudeness. When Prime Minister Yan Ying greeted them, they did not bother to acknowledge him. Yan Ying decided it was time to get rid of them.

“Jing,” the Prime Minister said, “those three warriors are getting too proud of themselves. They should be respectful of their ruler and other officials, but their behavior is setting a bad example to their juniors. Such soldiers cannot be relied on to fight for the country. Sooner or later, they’ll get out of control.”

“But what can we do? They are strong and skilled in fighting. You have no way to get rid of them. Shoot, you will miss. Fight, you will lose.” Jing replied.

But the Prime Minister said “They’ve only got physical strength. That’s all.”

One day some time later, Duke Zhao, of Lu Province visited the Royal Court of Qi. Duke Jing gave a banquet in his honor. After the main course, peaches were served. Peaches were a rare delicacy in Qi and there were only five on the table. One went to Duke Zhao of Lu, one to Duke Jing who gave the third one to Prime Minister Yan Ying.  The Prime Minister quietly asked Duke Jing let him decide who among the three warriors, who were also attending the banquet, would get the remaining two peaches. The Duke agreed, suspecting that his Prime Minister had something beyond peaches on his mind.

The Prime Minister stood and said, “I will give a peach to one of you who has the greatest merits,” Prime Minister Yan Ying said, as he looked at the three brave men. “Please tell me who deserves it.”

“I deserve it,” said Gongsun Jie. “I saved the Duke’s life when he was attacked by a boar during hunting.”

Prime Minister Yan Ying promptly awarded him a peach along with a glass of wine.

Gu Yezi the second warrior then rose to his feet. “I am also entitled to one. Once I escorted the Duke crossing a river. Suddenly a giant turtle sprang from under the water. Our boat was almost capsized. I jumped into the water, fought the animal and killed it. I nearly got drowned saving the duke’s life.”

Prime Minister Yan Ying nodded and awarded him the second of the two remaining peachs and a glass of wine.

Then the last one of the three warriors, Tian Kaijiang, stood up. “I saved the Duke’s life twice with my sword when he was attacked by the enemy in battle. Do you remember?”

“Yes, indeed I do remember,” said Prime Minister Yan Ying. “Your merits certainly are superior to the others, but you spoke too late. I can only offer you some wine now. But you’ll be awarded a peach next year.”

Tian Kaijiang was enraged. “Killing a boar or a giant turtle is fine.  But I fought the enemy to save the Duke. Now I am denied even have a peach, I’ll be a laughing stock.”  So he drew out his sword and killed himself.

Gu Yezi was stunned. “I’m not as good as Tian Kaijiang. Now he is dead because I took the peach that really belongs to him. I hate myself. I would be a coward not to die.” And saying this, he fell on his own sword.

Gongsun Jie looked on in consternation. “The three of us are always together. Now two are dead, what face have I got to live on?” So he, too, cut his own throat.

And with that, Qi, the Prime Minister and the Duke were free from the troubles of the three rude warriors.


While I am not enthralled with the idea of tricking three guys into killing themselves, the story did get me to thinking about the importance of understanding others – both adversaries and friends. And, it got me to thinking about the importance of not being too predictable!  And then, there is this proverb from China:

To fight a hundred battles and win a hundred is not supreme excellence; what would be more supreme is breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.


So  . . . keep on thinking my friends!


From http://history.cultural-china.com/Wise/wise66.html

How the tiger got his stripes

So the other day I was hankering for a wisdom story that included elephants. After surfing around the web a bit, I came across this story at Buddhapadipa.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Once upon a time, in a jungle just around the corner, there lived a furious tiger; he was very proud of himself because he was never defeated. One day he went hunting for food and saw the elephant. He thought, “I am going to eat this elephant”, and he went straight to the elephant. The elephant knew that danger was near, but it was too late to escape, so he calmed down and prepared for the danger. When the tiger approached him, he said, “Hi, tiger where are you going?” The tiger said directly, “I am coming to eat you”. The elephant thought for a while and replied, “Hold on a second, friend, you cannot eat me. Don’t you know I belong to a human being, I am a slave to him”. The tiger said, “I don’t believe you. You are so much bigger than the human. Who dares to do that, in this area, except myself”. “Friend, you would not believe it, friends of mine were chained and forced to work. You have to believe me”, the elephant insisted. The tiger wondered why the humans were so powerful, even though they had no sabre tooth, no claws, only two hands and two legs, so he questioned the elephant more, “What really does make humans so powerful?”

The elephant said, “Yes, right, they don’t have sabre teeth and claws, but they have wisdom”. When the tiger heard of wisdom, which he had never known before, he asked the elephant, furiously, “What does the wisdom of the human look like? If I see wisdom, I will eat it”. The elephant tried to explain that the wisdom was in the human, but the tiger still had no idea. So the elephant said, “You have to go and see for yourself, so that you can understand”. The tiger commanded the elephant to find some human for him. The elephant could not deny him, so they went together. At a certain point, they saw a man walking in the forest with a trap. The tiger said to the elephant, “I am going to eat him”, and then started to attack him, but because of his doubt, he halted and thought, “Why is it so easy to catch him. It is totally different from what the elephant said”. Then he asked the man, “Where is your wisdom?”

When the man heard that, he said, “Hold on Tiger, don’t eat me, I’ll show you my wisdom”. The tiger released him and asked, “Where is it, show me, before you are eaten by me”. “Ok, I am going to show you, but, you know, my wisdom is very frightening to all the animals. I am not sure that when I show you, you will dare to stay to see it or not”. The tiger said with pride that he had never been frightened or defeated, “What can I do so that I can see your wisdom?” The man offered a suggestion, “It is easy. You just let me tie you to the tree and then I’ll show you”. “That is fine, let’s do it then and show me”, the tiger said. And then the man tied the tiger to the tree, firmly, and grabbed the whip and hit the tiger, saying, “This is my wisdom, fool tiger”. The tiger cried, and tried to escape, but he could not. He was hit and his body was striped in the places where the whip hit him (it is a belief, until now, that this is why a tiger is striped). At the same time, the elephant witnessed all the event that had happened, so he laughed at the tiger who was proud of himself and despised the others. Because of human wisdom, he not only survived, but also the man did. He laughed so much that his eyes became very small (this is why the elephant has such small eyes, until now.) When the tiger escaped from the tree, he went for help. But no animals helped him, because he had once bullied them, or killed their friends, or a member of their family. Soon he could not stand the pain, and died.

The moral of this story is: don’t despise others and think that no one can beat us, don’t live a careless life.