A LETTER FROM WIA PRESIDENT, MARGE DEAN

September 8, 2020

Dear Friends of Women in Animation (WIA),

Women in Animation is an advocacy organization dedicated to making women’s voices heard. We want to open the doors of the animation industry to expand and diversify the talent pool of storytellers and artists. We recognize that the more diverse and inclusive our industry is, the more we can move our world forward. WIA, at its core, is about representation.

In about two months in the U.S., we will face one of the biggest challenges to representation in another sense — our national election. The Presidential election may be particular to the U.S. but its impact will be felt worldwide. The U.S. prides itself on its democratic system of government, a government by the people and for the people. At the core of every democracy is the right to VOTE.

2020 marks the 100-year anniversary of the 19th amendment, think about it. White women have only had a say in their government leadership and policies for the last 100 years. For me, my mother was the first generation that had suffrage. The 15th amendment passed about 50 years before that, allowing the vote for citizens regardless of race or color. However, that didn’t guarantee Black men the vote until years later and Black women post 1920 until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibited racial discrimination in voting. Native Americans weren’t able to vote until 1947 and Asian-Americans got suffrage in 1952.  Young adults between the ages of 18 -21 were granted the right to vote in 1971.  The language barrier (ballots had been in English only) was lifted in 1975 and polls were required to be accessible to people with disabilities and the elderly in 1984.  It’s been a long trail of change to get to where we are today but don’t think for a minute that this came about through a natural evolution.  It took intentional, organized work and great sacrifice.

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