When President Barack Obama left the White House, he left a very positive image of what a President should be like. He set a high standard for his staff, with no swamp creatures running around his Administration and no scandals emerged in the eight years he was in office. Even those who might have had a few differences with him look back and wish we could have him back in the White House to clean up what is there now.
I will never forget the day we learned that the people had spoken about which woman should be on the $20.00 bill. It was a magical day when we heard the news that we would see Harriet Tubman on the bill in 2020. The decision had come about when in 2014 Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH) introduced the Woman on the Twenty Act (HR 2147). In April of 2016, Secretary Jack Lew announced that Harriet Tubman would be on the $20.00 bill. Suffragists would be on the $10.00 bill and other historical figures would be on the $5.00 bill. We were told the redesigns would be unveiled in 2020.
Then at the end of 2016 came that disastrous day when the Russians helped to deliver the Presidency to the most undeserving person our country has seen in modern times—maybe of all times! Less than a year later in August of 2017, on a television appearance Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin refused to endorse putting Tubman on the $20.00 bill.
Shortly thereafter Congresswoman Beatty contacted Mnuchin asking him to recommit to putting Tubman on the $20.00 bill. A few weeks later, he responded that it would be more than 10 years before a new $20.00 bill would be released. 2018 passed by without much being said about the Trump Administration’s mean-spirited decision that Tubman wouldn’t be on the $20.00 bill while he remains Secretary. Not to be defeated, Congresswoman Beatty renewed the “Woman on the Twenty” Act (HR 3082) in June of this year.
A few days ago, a large crowd of men and women showed up at Mr. Mnuchin’s door on the steps of the Treasury Department to tell him he doesn’t have the final word on this issue. In the crowd there were over 20 House Members and a lot of supporters of diverse backgrounds.
As I walked backed to my office with my “Show Me the Tubmans” sign in my hand numerous people enthusiastically gave a thumbs up. Now, I know that the boss man in the White House and his minions want to prevent Harriet from being on the $20.00 bill so that women can’t celebrate Harriet on the $20.00 bill to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. We already know how little respect this Administration has for women—especially Black women, but that will not deter us from having Harriet on that $20.00 bill.
The disrespect this Administration has shown to Black women is not just about us. It’s disrespectful to men and women of all colors and cultures who voted to put Harriet on the $20.00 bill and to all who want to have at least one woman on the money. I know it’s hard for racists and misogynists to give up old Andrew Jackson, but it will happen!
Along with Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, I call on all fair-minded people—men and women—to demand that we get Harriet on the money as scheduled by former Secretary Lew and President Obama. Until it’s done or #45 is out of office, everywhere #45 and Mnuchin go, they should hear the words or see the signs that say, “Show Me the Tubmans” or “Tubman on the Twenty.”
Dr. E. Faye Williams, is President of the National Congress of Black Women. www.nationalcongressbw.org–202/678-6788. She’s also host of “Wake Up and Stay Woke” on WPFW-FM 89.3.