By Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Service members and civilians at Peterson Air Force Base took time to reflect, remember and to look ahead as they observed national Women’s Equality Day Aug. 6.
Hosted at the base theater, those in attendance had the opportunity to connect and to hear stories of inspiration and progress from three special guest speakers: Jill Bond, filmmaker of the documentary “We Served Too;” Mary Lou Makepeace, former mayor of Colorado Springs; and Kristy Milligan, executive director of Citizens Project. The women talked about their experiences and achievements.
“Coming up for remarks for this event was a challenge, this one needed to be very heartfelt because we are talking about over 100 years worth of heritage, of women and men working together to make things right,” said Col. Richard Burchfield, Individual Mobilization Augmentee to the 21st Space Wing commander. “We are living and making history with every step we take, we have to keep getting out there and create a stronger team and continue to break down those barriers.”
Women’s Equality Day is a day proclaimed each year by the president to commemorate women getting the right to vote. Women in the United States were granted the right to vote Aug. 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified as law. Every president has published a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day since 1971 when legislation was first introduced in Congress by Bella Savitsky Abzug, an American lawyer, U.S. Representative, social activist and a leader of the Women’s Movement. This resolution was passed designating Aug. 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day.
“I have plenty of my own stories of gender discrimination: not being liked in the workforce because I was a strong and powerful woman leader, being patronized and talked down to, and even threatened. You name it; I have experienced it in my 25-years of business,” said Bond. “But I can tell you this, I never let it get the best of me, I knew my own worth and I believed in myself. So whatever was said or done, I tried my best to move forward, to do my very best and to prove the naysayers wrong.”
The guest speakers spoke to the audience about their personal experiences and how they overcame and learned from them.
“I bought a book called “How to Win an Election” and went through that book step-by-step. In a field of five candidates, I received more than 51 percent of the vote and became the first female mayor,” said Makepeace. “They were all surprised. They wondered how they should address me — Miss Mayor — it made people uncomfortable. We are all a part of history, you are a part of history in your own family and own life; we stand on the shoulders of some incredible women.”
This event marked the first time that Women’s Equality Day has been observed at Peterson AFB; organizers have already committed to making this an annual event and seeing it grow.
For more information about Women’s Equality Day, visit http://www.nwhp.org/resourcecenter/equalityday.php.