Eliana Bornhauser

Adolfo Camarillo High School | Camarillo, CA | 10th

Inspirational Family Member
My Mom Jessica

My mom Jessica Colon has been given the right to vote. Although she doesn't use the opportunity she has been given, it is because of certain political viewpoints such as the news being slanted either way. She did, however, vote once in 2016. As a child her desire when she grew up was to become a pilot, but as she got older times changed and she devoted her life to the role of becoming a nurse which took her four and a half years.

Jessica was born in Portugal and her parents eventually migrated from Puerto Rico to the U.S. Her brother, Melvin, on the other hand, was born in the U.S.. Both of her parents were involved in the military, so most of her childhood was on Vandenberg Air Force base. Her dad enlisted for 40 years and mom worked in civil service for 46 years. Her parents didn’t believe in voting, they believed in fighting for their country for the freedom of privileges we have today.

Women gaining the right to vote was a triumph, but Jessica believes that the viewpoints on women today still have questionable values due to society's effects. This causes Jessica and many other women to feel that even though they have the ability to vote they think that their vote may not matter or that they are too unknowledgeable, no matter the extent of research they do. Women are still constantly fighting even today and sometimes the advantages we can give are made irrelevant to the eyes of men. This not only deprecates how we can advance humanity, but also rips away the possibility for a valuable change made in each woman's life. It is the women that didn’t let that stop them to which we owe the most gratitude because they made the change that most of us couldn't.

Historical Figure I Admire
Lydia Becker

From 1827-1890, Lydia Becker pushed the boundaries that had been set upon women for years. During which time she made multiple remarkable achievements from writing books to becoming the secretary of the Manchester National Society for women. Her work involving the women’s suffrage movement helped established an enduring future and helped women earn the right to vote. 

Her early life consisted of her fifteen siblings and parents, Hannibal and Mary Becker. They lived in Foxdenton Hall, Middleton, England where after the death of her mother in 1855 Lydia took on the responsibility of raising her younger siblings. Growing up Lydia was educated at home, but grew a fascination of plants and astronomy resulting in the creation of her books such as Botany for Novices and Stargazing for Novices. She would never lose her touch with those interests, but began to step forward into the world of the Women's Suffrage as her main focus.

As stated earlier, Lydia had a large correlation to the women's suffrage movement. It all began in 1866 when she heard Barbara Bodichon giving a lecture on women's suffrage. Henceforth, it compelled Lydia to write an article for The Contemporary Review magazine; Female Suffrage. In January of 1867 she proceeded to team up with Elizabeth Woltsenholme forming The Manchester Women's Suffrage Committee, making 10,000 copies of her article to spread the word. Overseeing it all, she then became treasurer of the Married Women's Property Committee in 1868, then, was elected to the Manchester School Board in 1870. She used this job as an opportunity to inform every female, young and old, on the boundaries society had set for us and on what could be done to change them. This led her to found the Women’s Suffrage Journal allowing her to encourage women to begin speaking and setting up public speaking areas for them. 

What the Project Means to Me

Through this project it has really opened my eyes to the power people have. When you have a belief and a right to voice it, it's almost as if your unstoppable and these women are a perfect example of that. They had an opinion and they used their voice to stand up for it, and mentally and physically fight for it.

I can’t say I have the same courage as these women, but I know they have encouraged many others such as me to speak up. No, I am not eighteen and I can’t vote, but they didn’t just fight for a simple vote; they fought for a place for women where our roles become less and less confined and where we can break out from the label society has put on us. 

Lydia Becker challenged society's games and made her mark to prove that women are just as equal and capable as men through her persevering career. She created a pathway proving the power of leadership through a woman and resulting in more power to them. She was strong standing up and helping begin a movement altering the course of decades to come. She still inspires youth to build a place for their own and challenge the labels society chooses for you.

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