‘We All Have a Part, But She’s the Icon’July 08, 2009
The headline on a Kansas City Star column put it best: “Lilly Ledbetter’s name is on a law and a Supreme Court decision, and she’s not done yet.”
So true. These days, Ledbetter spends a lot of time on the road. She could take a well-deserved break and relax, but she continues to speak out so that tomorrow’s working women will be treated fairly.
On July 25, she’ll be in Minneapolis to give the summer commencement address for Walden University, but for a few days in June she was all ours. Those who attended AAUW’s successful convention in St. Louis, know about which I speak.
Ledbetter agreed to attend and serve as a headline convention speaker. Then she graciously expanded her role by taking time to sign hundreds of autographs. She put her signature on “I am the Face of Pay Equity” posters, on AAUW Outlook magazines (she was our cover girl for the Spring/Summer 2009 issue), and on page A15 of the June 25 issue of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which ran a column titled “Equal Pay is not only about fairness — it’s about survival.”
Authored by Ledbetter, AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, and Marsha Koch, president of AAUW of Missouri, the op-ed called on Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Kit Bond (R-MO) to co-sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help to create a climate in which pay discrimination is not tolerated.
Having Ledbetter for the entire convention gave us all a lift.
My colleague Christy Jones, AAUW’s director of membership, said, ‘She is the Lilly Ledbetter that you read about. I love it that she came in and had a box lunch with us. I love that she said, ‘How can I help your members get the word out?’ She knows our members can and will make a difference in getting the Paycheck Fairness Act passed.”
After waiting in line to meet Ledbetter, Barbara Burgo, a delegate from the AAUW Taunton Area (MA) Branch, said to Lilly, “You are wonderful. I thank you.”
Later, Burgo continued her praises. “The gap will close because of her. We all have a part, but she’s the icon,” Burgo said.