Walker College alumni Representative Connie Rowe and Ms. Sandi Sudduth were recently honored as the chosen presenters for Bevill State Community College’s Women’s Leadership Program. The program was held to recognize National Women’s History Month.
Representative Connie Cooner Rowe is a Republican member of the Alabama House of Represenatives for District 13. She was first elected to the chamber in 2014 and is currently runing for re-election in the June primary. She serves on the Judiciary Committee and the Public Safety and Homeland Security House Committee. Connie’s professional work experience includes a career in a typically male field. She worked as an adjunct instructor for the Alabama Peace Officers Standard and Training Commission; served as the 2011-2014 Jasper police chief, the only woman to hold this position; and, worked as a criminal investigator for the Walker County District Attorney’s Office.
Sandi Sudduth is a career coach with Bevill State’s Second Opportunity System Program (SOS), a program that helps out-of-school youth gain the skills and knowledge needed to become successful adults. Sandi’s career has also made notable strides for minority individuals. She was the first African American cheerleader at Walker College. She was the first elected female and the first African American female elected to the Jasper City Council in 2004 and served for three consecutive terms. “Im a trailblazer who chooses the way not taken by others and I help others along that path.”
Why is March National Women's History Month?
In February 1980, President Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th 1980 as National Women’s History Week. In the same year, Representative Barbara Mikulski, who at the time was in the House of Representatives, and Senator Orrin Hatch co-sponsored a Congressional Resolution for National Women’s History Week 1981.
As word spread rapidly across the nation, state departments of education encouraged celebrations of National Women’s History Week as an effective means to achieving equity goals within classrooms. Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Oregon, Alaska, and other states developed and distributed curriculum materials for all of their public schools. Organizations sponsored essay contests and other special programs in their local areas. Within a few years, thousands of schools and communities were celebrating National Women’s History Week, supported and encouraged by resolutions from governors, city councils, school boards, and the U.S. Congress.
By 1986, 14 states had already declared March as Women’s History Month. This momentum and state-by-state action was used as the rational to lobby Congress to declare the entire month of March 1987 as National Women’s History Month. In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity. A special Presidential Proclamation is issued every year which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women.