‘I want to participate in making history’: San Antonio women praise groups that fought for their right to vote

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris made history as the first woman to hold office, but this isn’t the first time women have broken barriers.

SAN ANTONIO – Cindy Onyekwelu won’t take her right to vote for granted. She voted not just for herself but her family who she said are immigrants.

“I couldn’t just sit there at home and not vote because I want to participate in making history," she said.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris addressed the nation Saturday. Onyekwelu said she was moved by Harris' speech, which gave her hope that anything is possible.

“I feel there is more opportunity than I’m letting myself believe," Onyekwelu said.

The senator from California will become the first woman to ever hold office in the White House, but this isn’t the first time women have broken barriers.

The 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was passed 100 years ago. Grace Chimene is the president of the League of Women Voters of Texas.

She said it was a group of strong and heroic women that opened the door to democracy, but it wasn’t easy.

“It took people all over to fight for it because it was an amendment to the constitution," she said.

Chimene said the fight continued until 1965 when the Voting Rights Act was passed, which put a ban on discriminatory voting practices.

She said Harris proves that any woman can be a part of change.

“They’re truly apart of this wonderful government that America has created," Chimene said.

Jenevie Peralez said it was her first time voting in an election. She knew it was something others fought for.

“Standing in line myself, just realizing the women that had come before me. I’m proud of where we live and the opportunity we were given," she said.

Peralez believes women have reached another milestone. She said her daughter can grow up in a world of opportunities.

“There are a lot chances for her future," she said.

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About the Authors:

Steven Cavazos is a traffic anchor and general assignments reporter on weekday mornings at KSAT 12. He is also part of the Solutionaries team. He has deep South Texas roots: born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, graduated from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and worked in Harlingen and Corpus Christi before coming to KSAT 12 in 2019.

Before starting KSAT in 2017, Lee was a photojournalist at KENS 5, where he won a Lone Star Emmy in 2014 for Best Weather Segment. In 2009 and 2010 Lee garnered first-place awards with the Texas Association of Broadcasters for Best Investigative Series in College Station, as well as winning first place for Staff Photojournalism in 2011 at KBTX.