Story by Hannah Lenore Gray
The transcendent Notorious B.I.G. once said “Mo money, mo problems”, but in my humble opinion he completely missed the point. Admittedly, money IS terribly problematic, though many people deal with the problem of too little of it. Our nation is in a constant discussion and struggle surrounding the topic of money. How much debt are we in? Should we raise the minimum wage? Can students afford the cost of college tuition? Should women receive equal pay to men? (Hint: duh)
So you get the idea: Money, in all of its forms and sums has the capacity to create issues. But deeper than its intrinsic value and impact on our nation, physical cash itself is becoming an issue, because white men are the only ones currently taking up real estate on American currency.
Women have never been featured on paper money (Susan B. Anthony was featured for a short time on the Silver Dollar coin before eventual discontinuation, and Sacagawea appeared on her own dollar coin, though it is not widely used). The movement known as Women on 20s is looking to rectify this problem. They have a plan to “generate an overwhelming people's mandate for a new $20 bill, to be issued in time for the 100th anniversary in 2020 of the Constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote,” according to the site.
Their strategy is straightforward. They must garner at least 100,000 votes in order to petition the White House for executive action. Once they grab President Obama’s ear, they intend to present the name of the woman who won the most votes from their final ballot. It is the hope that once this is achieved, Obama will directly order the Secretary of the Treasury to enact the change (Congress needn’t have any hand in this process, an order from the Secretary of the Treasury is sufficient to alter “a portrait on paper money.”).
But why the $20 bill? Andrew Jackson’s mug currently claims the spot, but if the Women on 20s movement has its way his position is only temporary. Their reasons for booting him include his opposition to the central banking system and paper money, preferring the use of silver and gold coins. He also played a major role in the infamous Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the subsequent Trail of Tears; embarrassing historical stains. So why should a man who pushed the original Americans off their own land and didn’t even like paper money be immortalized on the very thing he opposed?
With a preliminary ballot of 15 admirable American women including the likes of Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt, Women on 20s is gaining large amounts of traction and attention.
It is enormously apparent this initiative is more than just a pipe dream. With support and coverage from the likes of NBC Nightly News and Ivanka Trump, the movement cannot be downplayed or ignored. The team behind the effort meticulously and painstakingly labored to ensure the ballot encapsulates respectable individuals who positively impacted American history and society. The goal is ambitious but it is proving to be unstoppable.
Do you want to see a woman on the $20 bill? Head over to www.womenon20s.org to cast your ballot now.