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Our Opinion: A step long overdue

April 24, 2001

The American Citizens Club recently welcomed 17 women into its ranks. They were the first women the prominent and storied club has admitted into its membership.

The club has a long history of endorsing and supporting political candidates in the Imperial Valley. And while candidates endorsed were both male and female, all endorsements were made strictly by men.

We are glad to see that change. Frankly, it is about time. Actually, it was about time a few decades ago.

The new members include prominent women in the community, and they are women willing to work for the group. These women do not want to be symbols, they want to be active, dedicated members helping make important political decisions.


After almost 60 years of all male membership, new member Stella Mendoza, an Imperial Irrigation District director and former Brawley mayor, called the induction a "historic night." We agree.

Our Valley is a diverse place, and political endorsements have to account for that diversity. The inclusion of women after all these years only will make the ACC stronger.

The ACC is a powerful organization that has the ability to affect leadership not only in Brawley but in the entire county. Not allowing women as members softened that effect. The fact that the membership voted recently to allow women after years of voting the opposite way shows the mindset of the membership is becoming more open.

Newly installed ACC president Robert Palma vowed to "remove gender discrimination from ACC club policy." We are glad to hear it. Such action will make the ACC an even more influential group, one that can work to make sure the growing Hispanic voice in the Imperial Valley is heard and respected.

We hope the ACC's move is a sign of good things to come, both with the club and beyond. We hope other local groups with restrictions based on race or gender will take this example to heart and move toward equality.

In today's society, there is no room for such restrictions. All voices, no matter their race, no matter their religion, no matter their gender, need to be heard if the interests of all people are to be represented.

In addition to endorsements, the ACC awards scholarships to local youth. Now that the doors are open to women, we hope to see the ACC grow and its scholarship offerings grow as well.

The ACC is starting a new chapter. It is a chapter that we are sure will prove positive for the community and the ACC.

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