But just as African American contributions are erased, those of Asian Americans are often made invisible. In 1912, 16-year-old Chinese immigrant Mabel Lee helped lead 10,000 marchers for women’s suffrage in New York and organized the Chinese American community for support. Until its repeal in 1943, the Chinese Exclusion Act banned Chinese immigration and citizenship, but Lee remained steadfast, knowing that transformation follows when women wield power. And for Black women, the right to vote was and still is a fight in many places.
Key roles played by Black and Asian women in women’s suffrage helped ensure ratification of the 19th Amendment 100 years ago this month. Those efforts culminate in this historic moment when a biracial (Black and Asian) sorority woman is now a major party’s vice-presidential candidate. Coincidence? No chance.
Patricia Eng, Livingston, N.J.
The writer is president and chief executive of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy.