Saturday, March 26, 2011

Geraldine Ferraro: Bending the Arc of History

If the arc of history bends toward justice, it is because of trailblazers like Geraldine Ferraro who speak up, step up, grab the moment and give what is good, just and right a chance to thrive. Today, after battling multiple myeloma for years, Ferraro died. Most people know her as the first woman of a major political party to run for Vice President, but her advocacy for equality began years before she was chosen as Walter Mondale's running mate in 1984. As a prosecutor in Queens County, she started the Special Victims Unit and sought justice for victims of sex crimes, domestic violence, child abuse and elder abuse. Then, she was elected to Congress where she fought for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and sponsored The Women's Economic Equality Act that stopped pension discrimination against women. Never deterred by the inevitable critics who feared the change she represented, Ferraro continued throughout her life to advocate for justice and equality for all.

Geraldine Ferraro helped build the ladder for women who aspire to political office. Indeed, when Hillary Clinton kicked all those cracks in the ultimate glass ceiling - she was standing on Gerry's shoulders. In so many ways, we all do.