Senator Stavisky recognizes Dr. Mabel Ping-Hua Lee for Women’s History Month

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As the Legislative Women’s Caucus of New York State celebrates Women’s History Month, Senator Toby Stavisky, who represents Forest Hills, is honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Mabel Ping-Hua Lee.

An exhibition displaying the stories of Dr. Ping-Hua Lee and other brave female pioneers their stories went up on the first floor of the Legislative Office Building at the State Assembly in Albany yesterday, and will continue through the moth of March.

This year, we are celebrating the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote in the United States. As a Chinese immigrant, scholar and relentless advocate for Women’s Rights in the early 1900s, Dr. Lee was entrenched in that fight from a young age. She was just 16 years old when she rode amongst the leaders of a massive parade in New York, calling for the right to vote.

New York was three years ahead of the country when it began counting women’s votes in 1917, but the Chinese Exclusion Act meant Chinese immigrants, both male and female, would not be allowed to cast their ballots until more than 25 years later.

“It is appropriate that we celebrate the one hundred year anniversary of the 19th amendment,” says Senator Stavisky. “But, it is vitally important that we do not try and rewrite history. Despite standing on the front lines with fellow suffragists, Mabel and other Chinese immigrants were denied their right to vote for additional decades. Mabel did not let herself be overcome by frustration. She continued to break down barriers through academic achievement, community organization and leadership. Despite being denied American citizenship, Mabel proved to be a shining embodiment of the American Spirit.”

When Dr. Lee was a teenager in 1913, she wrote that true feminism “is nothing more than the extension of democracy or social justice and equality of opportunities to women.”

More than a century later, the Legislative Women’s Caucus of New York State remains committed to ensuring that that equality remains, and those opportunities continue to grow.



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