Friday, July 26, 2019

A Century of Progress

A Century of Progress

2019-2020 is a special year for a lot of reasons. It is the 100-year anniversary of the American Legion Auxiliary, the organization that sponsors ALA Girls State and ALA Girls Nation. Though many things have changed over the past century, the Auxiliary’s dedication to veterans, military, and their families both at home and abroad has never wavered.  We are committed to service, and through the years we have become the largest women’s patriotic service organization in the world.  

But 1919 was more than just the year that the ALA was founded - it was the year that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed by both chambers of Congress and sent to the states for ratification.  For those of you who need a brush-up on your government knowledge, fortunately you have an ALA Government staff who is happy to assist you! Gather round and let me tell you the tale of how the 19th amendment was ratified. 

Hopefully by now, you know that the 19th amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote.  Securing this basic right took decades of struggle, protest, lectures, lobbying, marches, and civil disobedience.  The early suffragists who were willing to make great sacrifices for future generations of women, gave us one of the greatest possible gifts.  At ALA Girls Nation, we celebrate those women (and men!) who fought for this noble goal with such a purpose and without wavering.  The struggle was never easy but these individuals were unified in their drive to change their condition and began to secure equal rights for women.  They knew what they wanted to achieve, and they understood the importance of their work.  

The United States House of Representatives passed the 19th amendment on May 21, 1919, and the US Senate followed suit on June 4, 1919.  Though it would take a year for the amendment to be ratified by the required three-fourths of all state legislatures, in 1919 women were the closest they had ever been to securing their right to vote nationwide.  In August of 1920, thirty-five states had voted to pass the amendment and eight had voted to reject it. (Remember, in 1920, there were only 48 states - so there were only five possible opportunities left for states that could ratify this amendment!) Suffragists viewed the state of Tennessee as their best chance for support and it was there that one man (and his mother) changed history.  

That summer, the Tennessee State Senate easily passed a resolution supporting the 19th amendment.  However, the Tennessee State House seemed stuck in a stalemate.  The motion to table the amendment was defeated (in a 48-48 tie), and the measure was brought to a vote.  It was on August 18th, 1920, that a young man by the name of Harry T. Burn, a 24-year old wearing a red rose to signify his opposition to women’s suffrage, changed his mind.  In one of my favorite stories of this era, Harry Burn’s mind was changed when received a seven-page letter from his mother.  She had written him a note encouraging him to support the 19th amendment and said that he should, “be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt” (Carrie Chapman Catt - a famous suffragist of the day). 

When casting his vote, his colleagues expected him to say “Nay,” but instead Burn said “Aye.”  That single syllable delivered the right to vote to all American women, ending over 70 years of tireless struggle by suffragists.  Allegedly, when he voted in favor of the bill, the chamber erupted.  Burn was chased around the room and climbed out of a third floor window to escape the mob. Although I don’t know much more about what happened to Burn after that - but the Secretary of State, Bainbridge Colby, certified the ratification of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920, forever changing the American electorate.  

Although this was a landmark victory, we should recognize that it did not open the polls to all women.  Millions of women remained unable to vote for reasons other than sex - but this stride helped bring us one step closer to our nation’s lofty ideal that all men and WOMEN are created equal!  

Raising our gavels to a great week! 

Katie Hendricks

A Reflection from the ALA Senior Counselors

A Reflection from  the American Legion Auxiliary Senior Counselors

ALA Girls Nation is an opportunity for young women to discover who they are, what they can be and how to work within a team to get things done. It’s also an opportunity for ALA members to do the same while serving on the ALA Girls Nation Committee! Our team of Senior counselors is as diverse as our ALA Girls Nation Senators. Our talents include line dancing, motor cycling, Pok√©mon gaming, hugging, crafting, cooking, shopping and making the best-looking sundaes.  All these skills come in handy as we go above and beyond for the ALA and ALA Girls Nation. 
With 150+ years of membership between us, there are so many reasons why we love being ALA members.
·      Volunteering with the VA
·      The friendships and sisterhood 
·      The mission, programs and giving back through working them
·      Giving back to those that gave for our freedoms
·      Riding with the American Legion Riders
·      Raising money to support programs and scholarships 
We thank our fathers, brothers, husbands, and grandfathers that served in all branches of the service and sacrificed so we can be eligible to serve through the American Legion Auxiliary. 
It’s because of these traits passed on from our loved ones who served, we can support, encourage and teach the senators in our community through our words and actions.  We want to share some of those moments that made our hearts warm and our faces hurt from smiling!
Key moments from the 73rdALA Girls Nation
·      Seeing senators grow throughout the week
·      Watching them get involved and running for offices
·      Party rallies and creative cheers
·      Hearing the senators defend and debate their bills
·      The reflections from the memorial visits
·      Excitement from meeting with their elected officials
·      When they brought enthusiasm and joy through singing and dancing at the Twilight Tattoo
·      When others not with the ALA Girls Nation program commented on how respectful and well behaved the senators were.
Thank you, American Legion Auxiliary members for the time, talents and treasure (and sleep) you gave up to make the 73rdALA Girls Nation session a memorable time!

Lauren Lloyd
Senior Counselor
ALA Member, Department of District of Columbia

A Busy Two Days in Washington, DC for ALA Girls Nation!

A Busy Time in Washington, DC for ALA Girls Nation!

Check out the ALA Girls Nation Times from our last two days in Washington, D.C.!

Day Five:
The ALA Girls Nation and American Legion Boys Nation senators had the opportunity to meet the Vice President of the United States. 

The senators also experienced Twilight Tattoo, a live-action military pageant featuring soldiers from The 3rdU.S. Infantry and Regiment (The Old Guard) and the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own.”

Read more about day 5 in the 2019 ALA Girls Nation Times.

Day Six: 
Today, the ALA Girls Nation senators met with their respective state senators on Capital Hill to share their ideas and also get firsthand advice. The ALA Girls Nation president, vice president, and Supreme Court justices were later sworn in during an Inauguration Ceremony.

Read about day six of the 2019 ALA Girls Nation Times.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

ALA Girls Nation Government - By the Numbers

ALA Girls Nation Government - By the Numbers 

I know that here at ALA Girls Nation, we have a lot of people who are politically-minded.  However, there are also girls here who are artistically talented, or prefer science to social studies.  Today’s blog gives a behind the scenes look at some of what happens in the government office for all of those who are number-crunchers!  

All stats are calculated for the 73rd session of ALA Girls Nation

Number of states represented at ALA Girls Nation this year: 50

Number of senators at ALA Girls Nation: 100

Number of senators named Maeve: 2

Number of staff named Lauren: 3 (One in Government, one Senior Counselor, and one Junior Counselor)

First legislation submitted: 13 June (Thanks Arkansas for starting us off on the right foot!)

Last legislation submitted: 16 July

Total days government staff (well, just me!) spent revising legislation: 33 days

E-mails I exchanged about legislation during this process: 401, or 12.2 emails a day
Number of bills docketed: 44

Number of resolutions docketed: 5

Number of joint resolutions docketed: 0

Committees that discussed all legislation: 6 (all committee work completed Sunday night)

Bills passed in committee: 41

Bills killed in committee: 3 

Pages of Legislation printed: 6,885 – so far (there will be more after committees finish their amendments Sunday night)

Number of ALA Girls Nation Government Staff members who ROCK and are excited for a great week: 4

Days we will miss Kendall Madsen who cannot join us this year on staff:  10 (we love you Kendall!)

Katie Hendricks

Raising our gavels to a great week! 
Katie Hendricks 
Indiana / Missouri 

Read All About It!-Day 4

Read All About It! 

Don't miss the latest addition of the 
ALA Girls Nation Times!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Monday Through the Eyes of Spring Valley

Monday July 21, 2019 was an extremely successful night of senate sessions!

We passed four bills: 
  • the national vote-by mail act from the senators in Oregon 
  • the Pharma in the sunshine act from the senators in Tennessee
  • the Worthy act (formerly known as the DNA testing transparency act) from the senators in California
  • the don’t look the other way act from the senators in North Dakota. We also passed the reduce plastic in oceans resolution from the senators in Washington

We all learned a lot of important information about parliamentary procedure that must be used in our senate sessions. It was great to see how fast people caught on to a rather complicated concept. 

We ended the session by playing an online trivia game of kahoot. We had some trivia questions about our federal government mixed in with some ALA Girls Nation oriented questions. It was a great way to end the night after a long day of hard work in senate. 

Alexa Carfrae (IA)
Federalist Party Secretary
Spring Valley

              Read more by downloading today’s ALA Girls Nation Times-