Choice for $20 bill is a step in right direction

By Denise White

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew recently announced that there would be a historic change to the $20 bill. Harriet Tubman will be the new face of the bill, replacing Andrew Jackson, who will move to the back.

“It is just absolutely beautiful to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman, because where Jackson represented the worst side of American history, Tubman represents the best ideals of American democracy,” said Kari Winter, a professor who studies slavery and dissent at the University at Buffalo, noting that Jackson had been a slave owner.

Living in a white, male dominated, United States, it’s refreshing that the Treasury has taken the time to reconsider the face of the $20 bill to be an African American woman. A freed slave, at that.

Lew called Tubman’s story “the essential story of American democracy” and the power of an individual to make a difference, adding that “so much of what we believe has changed for better for this country is reflected in what she struggled for.”

Finally having a female on our currency is big.

Women are at least 50 percent of the population and it’s about time they are recognized. The Webster’s Dictionary definition of feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”

This is definitely a step in the right direction for women.

Bravo for the Treasury to recognize a strong black female who went against the grain during that time.

A slave herself, Tubman was well aware of the economic benefits slave owners reaped from their slave labor. Once she made it to the North as a free woman, she knew she needed funds to help free other slaves.

The choice to put Tubman on the $20 is exciting — more than 500,000 people voted for her to be on the bill. She devoted her life for racial equality and women’s rights, goals still valid today.

Without any doubt, America still struggles with racial issues. The Blacks Lives Matter movement, for instance, protests the killings of unarmed African American young men by police.

Noting this, some people criticized keeping Jackson on the $20 bill, given his racist actions.

Meanwhile, some were concerned that Tubman would be even considered for the $20 bill because back then she was considered a criminal. This is ridiculous, given that she was helping free slaves.

The simple change of adding an African American woman to our currency is an important step in our movement away from our sexist and racist roots.