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    Independent and intelligent, Abigail was a highly influential confidant to husband John Adams, who frequently requested her advice on a variety of political issues. In one of many letters to her husband, she requested he “Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors.”

    A prominent human rights advocate and abolitionist, Sojourner Truth fought for the inclusion of African Americans into the Union Army. She spent time volunteering and bringing food and resources into the army, and helped recently-freed slaves acclimate to a new life in D.C. In her most famous address, “Ain’t I A Woman,” she argued that women were equal in capability to men.

    Best known for refusing to give up her seat on the bus, Rosa Parks is one of the most iconic figures of the Civil Rights movement. Her bold actions triggered the 381-day bus boycott, and she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996. In 1999, she received the Congressional Gold Medal, and was named by Time magazine as one of the 20 most influential people of the 20th century.

    Earning more than 50 honorary doctorate degrees for her work as a poet, author, and civil rights activist, Angelou is a popular choice for the new spot on the bill. She was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010, and received international acclaim for her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

    As the longest-serving First Lady, Roosevelt spent many years traveling the country, recounting her trips in her daily syndicated column “My Day.” She was the first First Lady to hold her own press conference, and only allowed female reporters—who were traditionally barred from presidential press conferences—to attend. After her husband’s death, she served as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations.

    Stanton co-organized the first Woman’s Rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York with Lucretia Mott, and later worked with Susan B. Anthony in the suffragist movement. She lectured across the country and authored several books, including three volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage and Woman’s Bible.

    While Justice Ginsburg (the second female justice on the Court) can’t actually appear on the bill, since law prohibits living persons from being printed on currency, there’s no question that she’s had a substantial influence on the judicial system. Ginsburg has argued historic cases for women’s rights, including United States v. Virginia, which granted admittance for women into the Virginia Military Institute.

    The new bill will be unveiled in 2020, which coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment (which gave women the right to vote). Amongst her many causes, she was an influential suffragist who was so integral to the passing of the amendment, it was named after her.

    As one of the most important abolitionists and a key “conductor” during the Underground Railroad—making the dangerous trip multiple times—many feel her heroism and bravery should land her a spot on the bill. In fact, she won the vote of the grassroots organization, Women on 20s, which petitioned to have a woman’s face on the $20 bill.

    Throughout her tenure as First Lady during the presidency of Gerald Ford, Betty Ford became an influential voice on woman’s rights issues and breast cancer awareness. She quickly became known for her humor and candor, and showed no fear when tackling the controversial issues of her era. She was an avid supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, which was designed to guarantee equal rights for women.

    "Engage in some real soul searching. Take a good, hard look at your strengths and weaknesses. A fulfilling professional life can be found at the intersection of what you love and what you’re good at. And when you think you’ve discovered it, go at it full throttle.” – Journalist Katie Couric at University of Wisconsin-Madison

    “I want you all to stay true to the most real, most sincere, most authentic parts of yourselves. I want you to ask those basic questions: Who do you want to be? What inspires you? How do you want to give back? And then I want you to take a deep breath and trust yourselves to chart your own course and make your mark on the world.” – First Lady Michelle Obama at Tuskegee University


    “Keep reaching. Keep seeking. Keep using your abilities to bring out the best in those around you, and let them bring out the best in you. Become the next great generation! You can and you will—dare I say it, change the world!” – Scientist Bill Nye at Rutgers University

    “Only authenticity will keep your head on straight and your feet firmly planted. So don’t strive for somebody else’s notion of perfection. It’s an unattainable and ultimately ridiculous goal. Strive instead to be uniquely yourself. And, when in doubt, listen to your gut, because it already knows what you want to become.” – Journalist and TV Host Meredith Vieira at Boston University

    “Don’t worry about the fear factor. Everybody in here has felt it and will feel it. It is something that you have to realize that if you wait for it to pass you’re going to be sitting on the sidelines for a very long time.” – Journalist Robin Roberts at Emerson College

    "No matter what you do next, the world needs your energy, your passion, your impatience for progress. Don't shrink from risk. And tune out those critics and cynics. History rarely yields to one person, but think, and never forget, what happens when it does. That can be you. That should be you. That must be you.” – Apple CEO Tim Cook at The George Washington University

    “Life’s not easy. Don’t try and make it that way. It’s not fair, it never was, it isn’t now, it won’t ever be. Do not fall into the entitlement trap of feeling you are a victim, you are not. Get over it and get on with it. And yes, most things are more rewarding when you break a sweat to get them.” – Actor Matthew McConaughey at the University of Houston

    “Don’t forget about what doesn’t come from this prestigious diploma—the heart to know what’s meaningful and what’s ephemeral; and the head to know the difference between knowledge and judgment.” – Vice President Joe Biden at Yale University





    From Michael Usian.

    From Eileen Myles.