By Mayor Cameron Smyth
With the March 24 City Council meeting being canceled as a response to the directives around COVID-19, the Council won’t have the opportunity to formally recognize March as “Women’s History Month” as we had planned.
While we will still do so at the next meeting in April, I wanted to use this opportunity to remind our residents that every March is set aside to honor the countless accomplishments that women have made to help shape this country and to share the stories of two local women that — without their efforts and leadership — Santa Clarita may very well not have ever been incorporated.
Many of the great accomplishments we have seen and heard of throughout the United States are due to the tremendous efforts of women. Their successes have influenced the way our society functions today in areas such as politics, healthcare, technology, athletics, education and much more. Every March, we celebrate and recognize the achievements of these individuals during Women’s History Month.
Although one month is not enough to encompass all of the hard work of women, our country has done a remarkable job of shedding light on the labors of those both widely and lesser-known since the commemorative month’s inception.
Women’s History Month emerged from what was previously a week-long celebration organized by the Sonoma, California school district in 1978.
This celebration was quickly adopted by many other communities throughout the country, which led then-President Jimmy Carter to issue a presidential proclamation in 1980, declaring the week of March 8, to be National Women’s History Week. Years later, in 1987, the year our City was incorporated, Congress officially expanded the week event to all of March.
The commemorated women have included women’s suffrage activist Susan B. Anthony, aviator Amelia Earhart, first female Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, civil rights activist Rosa Parks and many others.
A prominent woman in our own City’s history who should be recognized as well is Jo Anne Darcy. Jo Anne was a pivotal member in the formation of Santa Clarita and her efforts show in almost every facet of our community.
Her work consisted of aiding in the development of the City’s Chamber of Commerce, serving as a council member and four-time mayor, launching the Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library group and more.
Another crucial member of Santa Clarita’s history is Connie Worden-Roberts. Connie was a dedicated and compassionate activist who was committed to improving the lives of individuals in our City.
Her activism spanned from areas such as environmental cleanup to traffic management and local government formation. In each of these areas, and more, Connie engaged with the community to find the best solutions for all.
What stands out the most to me in Connie’s efforts, was her ability to make these major achievements through volunteerism and not through public office.
In addition to the countless influential women in Santa Clarita’s history, and American History, this year gives special recognition to voting rights activists with the theme “Valiant Women of the Vote.”
Along with Susan B Anthony, our country’s history has seen women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, Alice Paul and others fight for many years to win the right for women to vote in the United States. Their hard work was not in vain, because the 19th Amendment was added to the Constitution on August 18, 1920.
As March comes to a close, take a moment to reflect on the phenomenal efforts of the women who helped build our City and country.
The City of Santa Clarita is grateful for their past work, and we are thankful for the current contributions of the many women who live and work in our community.
Mayor Cameron Smyth is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected]
clarita.com. The views expressed in his column are those of the City and do not necessarily reflect those of The Signal.