By Staff Sgt. Tony Foster, Division West Public AffairsAugust 27, 2013
FORT HOOD, Texas -- Fort Hood joined the nation in celebrating Women's Equality Day with an observance hosted by First Army Division West at Club Hood here Aug. 26.
"We in Division West are quite proud and honored to host this event for all of Fort Hood," said Maj. Gen. Warren E. Phipps Jr., Division West commanding general. "Women's Equality Day commemorates a day when all women received the right to vote under the U.S. Constitution."
The event began with Soldiers and civilians viewing tons of women's history displays. Like most ceremonies, the crowd was given a few minutes warning to signal the beginning of the observance, except this time there was a twist.
"The only question left to be settled now is: Are women persons?"
The quotation was part of a performance done by Raylene Gill, a volunteer performer, to kick-start the Women's Equality Day observance.
"We tried to do something a little bit different than normal Army protocol," said Master Sgt. Eric Tizol, Division West's Equal Opportunity Advisor. "We wanted to keep it entertaining but educational at the same time."
The observance was filled with historical accounts of the tremendous accomplishments of women throughout American history. Many times the ever-listening crowd was reminded of how women have been front-runners to the evolution of our nation's society.
Susan B. Anthony, one of history's premiere pioneers for women's suffrage and equal rights, was the author of the speech given to start of the ceremony. She was arrested for voting in the 1872 presidential elections.
"This history is rich with the contributions of women and has benefited society as a whole," said Dr. Diane Howard, retired University of Mary Hardin-Baylor professor of Performance Studies.
Howard spoke on her experiences with the military, the history of women's rights, and her views of the advancement of equal rights for all.
"I pray that today these remarks will be a source of inspiration, enlightenment, and encouragement to all of you today," she said.
Howard paused to also give thanks, not only to her fellow historical suffragettes but the women participating in the day's ceremony, such as the performers dressed in 19th century apparel and Beverly McNair and Liza Wolff-Francis with Killeen Poetry Slam.
"I was glad I was able to participate today. I got a chance to really learn about women's history," said Kriskeya Price, the National Anthem singer for the event and former student of Howard's. "Learning that the women of the past opened a lot of doors for me, I have to continue to pass that torch on to the next generation."
After 165 years, the women's rights movement still soldiers on. Women's Equality Day stands as a landmark for all those who gave, and continue to give a voice to women's rights.
"As Frederick Douglass said, 'Right is of no sex, truth is of no color, God is the father of us all, and we are all brethren,'" said Howard. "Let's continue to advance equal rights."