Today is Women’s Equality Day- the day we celebrate 90 years of American women's right to vote.
As a student of history, I am moved by the dedication and perseverance of the women and men who led the century-long fight for suffrage. When my daughter was two, we took a road trip to the Hotel Hermitage in Tennessee. In 1920, this was the headquarters of the pro and anti-suffrage forces who descended en masse on Nashville. Tennessee was poised to become the critical 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment.
(Maeve, age 2, in the lobby of Hotel Hermitage, Nashville)
If Tennessee voted to ratify, women across the country would be enfranchised. Sitting in the hotel lobby with my little girl, I could still feel the passionate conviction on both sides of the debate. I am extremely grateful that the pro-suffrage side emerged victorious.
As a modern woman running for office in Maryland, I must point out that we ourselves did not fall into the top 35.
That’s right, despite heroic efforts of Maryland’s own suffragists (including a petition signed by 125,000 Marylanders), the Maryland General Assembly failed to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920. Four years earlier, the Maryland Senate passed a women’s vote bill, but the measure was killed in the Maryland House of Delegates.
And now, I am running to be a member of that same legislative body. Times have changed, and they are still changing.
I am proud to be a longtime professional advocate for women’s rights. As a nonprofit executive, I have committed my career to passing policies to advance the rights of women and families and ensuring financial stability for women’s organizations.
I have worked at numerous women’s groups including Girls Inc., NOW Legal Defense, and NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland. I am a former Board Member of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC, NOW New York City, and the Democratic Women’s PAC of Maryland.
If elected, I will continue my work to:
- Support fair pay for women and minorities
- Protect reproductive rights
- Address unique women’s health needs
- Expand family leave and flexible work options
- Ensure top quality childcare is available for everyone
- Prevent discrimination against women in the legal system and tax code
- Empower victims of domestic violence and sexual assault
- Strengthen programs that support women-owned businesses
- And much more.....
Here’s what the leaders of today’s women’s movement have to say about my campaign:
“The NARAL family is proud to support Ariana Kelly. She will be a strong voice for progressive values. We live in challenging times. That’s why Ariana’s real-world experience running an organization and bringing people together to come up with practical solutions will serve her—and her constituents—well in Annapolis.”
President, NARAL Pro-Choice America
“We are proud to support Ariana in this race, not simply because she is a woman, but because she is the most qualified candidate. Ariana has worked for more than a decade to protect the environment, advance civil rights, and expand health care access in Maryland. She has a proven track record as an advocate, and first hand experience running a business during tough economic times. She is thoughtful, strategic, and a successful coalition builder. We can not wait to see what she accomplishes once she is elected to the Maryland House of Delegates.”
Siobhan “Sam” Bennett
President/CEO Women’s Campaign Forum
"Ariana is a powerful advocate for women and families. She is strategic, intelligent, and a master coalition builder. Throughout her career she has been effective at moving forward policies to empower women and promote family economic security. As Delegate, she will be a tremendous asset in Annapolis for all Maryland families."
Co-Founder & Executive Director MomsRising.org
"Ariana is not only deeply committed to women's health. She is also smart, innovative, and a proven coalition builder. She was a savvy advocate for NARAL in Annapolis, and has an excellent track record with fiscal responsibility "
NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, PAC Chair
"Ariana Kelly has been a lifelong advocate on the issues that matter for women and their families in Maryland. I'm proud to support Ariana Kelly for Delegate because I believe her record as a proven, principled leader is exactly what we need in Annapolis."
Kathy Reiner Martin
Democratic Women’s PAC of Maryland, Chair