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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday. Photo: Lenin Nolly/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Female office-holders stood on the shoulders of suffragettes at a virtual Rock the Vote event Monday celebrating a century of progress since the 19th Amendment passed, but demanding more action to achieve equality.

Driving the news: That's what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) and other speakers noted at Monday night's event. Pelosi also celebrated "the most diverse caucus in history, over 60% women, people of color and LGBTQ."

  • Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) was among several other politicians to speak at the event. She noted that for Black women, "the struggle for the ballot didn't end in 1920," with key tenets of the Voting Rights Act "stripped away."
  • There's a "daily struggle to prevent voter suppression, intimidation, disinformation, and the disenfranchisement of millions of Black and brown Americans," she said."[A]s long as systemic barriers create inequitable access to the ballot box, full and fair representation will remain out of reach."
  • In her speech, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) spoke of how the "promise of equality remains hollow for far too many people of color who face the injustice of America's unaddressed, systemic racism."

Why it matters: The goal of Rock the Vote is to register more than 400,000 new young voters through a summer-long campaign.

  • Organizers aim to "channel the energy among young people around racial, economic, and health justice into one of the most powerful actions they can take: voting," according to a Rock the Vote statement.

The big picture: The two-hour event, called "We Vote. We Rise," featured an array of women leaders, emerging artists and young influencers looking forward to the America of the next 100 years, and what can be achieved if every woman can vote.

  • While many of the political speakers were liberal, conservative pundit Tara Setmayer also made an address.
  • The event is in partnership with the American Federation of Teachers, the House of Blues Music Forward Foundation, Ignite, the Institute for Women's Policy, the League of Women Voters, March for Our Lives, March On, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National Women's Law Center, Period — The Menstrual Movement, She Should Run, Sisters Rising coalition, Supermajority, TIME'S UP, and Vote Run Lead.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details from the event.

Go deeper

Restoring the vote to Americans with felony records

Expand chart
Data: The Sentencing Project; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Mass incarceration has fueled Black voter disenfranchisement for decades in the U.S.

Why it matters: More than 5 million Americans are unable to vote because of a felony record, and they are disproportionately Black. The fight to undo felon disenfranchisement laws is gaining ground and could radically shift the political landscape. But progress is also fueling opposition.

Voter suppression then and now

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Barry Lewis/Getty Images 

From its start, the United States gave citizens the right to vote — as long as they were white men who owned property. From counting a slave as 3/5 of a white man to the creation of the Electoral College, there's a through-line of barriers that extends to today based on racial politics.

Why it matters: 150 years after the 15th Amendment — and 55 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act — people of color still face systemic obstacles to voting.

Why minority voter participation matters

Reproduced from the Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

Legal barriers have contributed to limiting voter turnout among people of color. But if people of color voted at the rate of white voters, it would immediately alter who gets elected and what policies they pursue.

Why it matters: In the 2018 midterm elections, all major racial and ethnic groups saw a double-digit increase in their voter participation compared to the 2014 midterms, per the Pew Research Center.