113th Congress- Most Diverse Ever!

Most Gender, Ethnic, Cultural, and Religious Diversity Ever!

Americans want change in the country and that means the Congress has to change, and it is changing slowly.  The 113th Congress is the most diverse in history.  So,  it could be a whole lot worse. Consider these other encouraging facts. There is a record number (20)  female Senators,  with the first openly gay female Senator, and the first female Asian American Senator.  In the house there are  77 female House members and the first American Samoan ever elected, as well as  the first openly gay congressman of color.  The 113th Congress will also be younger, with four new congressmen born in the 1980s. With regard to religious affiliation,  the first two Hindu congress people, the first Buddhist senator, and the first non-theist has been elected.

Latinos Record Number

Latinos won a record number of 28 House seats and 3 in the Senate.  In the final analysis that’s more diversity.  The demographics are changing and that should mean that we should see some real change in the future.  Or does it?  The Republican majority House still has to draft and pass the laws,  the Democratic majority Senate still has to sign off on those laws, and the President still has to sign them.  Senate Democrats still do not have the requisite 60 votes to invoke cloture, the formal mechanism for ending a filibuster.  This means Republicans can still hold up any legislation they find unpalatable. Yes, it could be better, but it could be worse. Let’s hope they all get along and do what’s best for the entire country.







I’m Barbara Talley,  The Poet who speaks and inspires.   To find more about me, check out my promo sheet or visit  my website.

America’s Diversity Votes and Wins!

Even beyond the excessive attempts to disenfranchise voters, in spite of an effigy of the President with a noose around his neck, and even with so many other disparaging and racial sentiments arising out of the 2012 campaign, I am more hopeful and proud of my country than ever. American’s voted that they care about each other.  Even when they may not agree with each others ideologies or lifestyles, they still voted that everyone should be included and deserves to be counted and have civil rights.  The landscape is changing and I am optimistic about the future for the following reasons!

  1. America’s first African-American president wins not only the majority of electoral votes but also the popular vote, the most successful Democratic candidate since FDR by margins.
  2. The 113th Congress will have at least 19 female senators – more than ever in U.S. history.
  3.  Hawaii elects America’s first Asian senator.
  4. Wisconsin elects America’s first openly gay senator.
  5. Nevada elects Steven Horsford, its first African American Congressman.
  6. Voting was up for African Americans, young people, and Latinos despite the unprecedented number (25) of voter suppression laws passed last year.

I’m Barbara Talley, The Poet who speaks and inspires.   To find more about me, check out my promo sheet or visit  my website.

Women’s Rights: Declaration of Sentiments

Opening Lines of the Declaration:

“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one portion of the family of man to assume among the people of the earth a position different from that which they have hitherto occupied, but one to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes that impel them to such a course. “

A few sentiments:

  • He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise.
  • He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of which she had no voice.
  • He has withheld from her rights which are given to the most ignorant and degraded men – both natives and foreigners.
  • Having deprived her of this first right as a citizen, the elective franchise, thereby leaving her without representation in the halls of legislation, he has oppressed her on all sides.
  • He has made her, if married, in the eye of the law, civilly dead.
  • He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns.
  • He has endeavored, in every way that he could to destroy her confidence in her own powers, to lessen her self-respect, and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.

The closing lines of the Declaration:

“ Now, in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-half the people of this country, their social and religious degradation—in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as citizens of these United States.

In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no small amount of misconception, misrepresentation, and ridicule; but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts, petition the State and national Legislatures, and endeavor to enlist the pulpit and the press in our behalf. We hope this Convention will be followed by a series of Conventions, embracing every part of the country.

Click to read the entire Declaration of Sentiments at Wikipedia.

I’m Barbara Talley, the poet who speaks and inspires.  To find out more about me check out: What Does Barbara Do? or visit  my website.

Equal Rights Amendment Facts

This is Women’s History Month.  So yesterday I challenged you to see how much you knew about the Equal Rights Amendment. I posed twelve questions to you.  How did you do?  I will present the answers below, but before I do, have you wondered why we even need an Equal Rights Amendment?  Shirley Chisholm shown here (another Women’s History figure to learn about) is championing the Equal Rights Amendment.

Those fighting for the ERA say that women and blacks were not included in the Constitution.  Rights were for land owning white men.  That is why an Amendment had to be passed giving black men the right to vote.  Then the 19th Amendment had to be passed giving women the right to vote and amending the Constitution.

“The need for the ERA can be expressed simply as a warning. Unless we put into the Constitution the bedrock principle that equality of rights cannot be denied or abridged on account of sex, the political and judicial victories women have achieved with their blood, sweat, and tears for the past two centuries are vulnerable to erosion or reversal at any time – now or in the future.  Congress has the power to make laws that replace existing laws – and to do so by a simple majority. Therefore, many of the current legal protections against sex discrimination can be removed by the margin of a single vote.” EqualRightsAmendment.org

The Answers Appear Below are from Equal Rights Amendment.org too.
  1. What is the Equal Rights Amendment?
    Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
    The Equal Rights Amendment would provide a fundamental legal remedy against sex discrimination for both women and men. It would guarantee that the rights affirmed by the U.S. Constitution are held equally by all citizens without regard to sex.
  2. Who wrote the text for it?
    The Equal Rights Amendment was written in 1923 by Alice Paul, a leader of the woman suffrage movement and a lawyer.
  3. When was it first introduced to Congress?
    It was introduced in Congress in 1923 and subsequently reintroduced in every Congressional session for half a century.
  4. How many years did it take to pass?
    It took 49 years to pass in the Congress.  On March 22, 1972, the ERA finally passed the Senate and the House of Representatives by the required two-thirds majority.
  5. What year was it sent to the States for ratification?
    On March 22, 1972, it was sent to the states for ratification.
  6. How many States are needed to ratify the Amendment?
    Three/fourths of the States or 35 States were  necessary to ratify the Amendment.
  7. How many years did Congress allow for the States to ratify the Amendment?
    An original seven-year deadline was later extended by Congress to June 30, 1982.
  8. Did enough States ratify the Amendment before the time limit expired?
  9. What happened then?
    It is therefore not yet included in the U.S. Constitution.
  10. How many States actually ratified the Amendment?
    When this deadline expired, only 35 of the necessary 38 states (the constitutionally required three-fourths) had ratified the ERA.
  11. Is it ratified now?
    NO! The Equal Rights Amendment has been reintroduced in every session of Congress since 1982.
  12. Which States didn’t ratify the Amendment?
    The 15 states whose legislatures have not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

So, what did you learn and what do you think about this?

I’m Barbara Talley, the poet who speaks and inspires.  To find out more about me check out: What Does Barbara Do? or visit  my website.