03/08/2014 10:19 am ET Updated May 08, 2014

Women's History Month Call to Service: Pursue Liberty to Achieve Justice

During Women's History Month we stand on the shoulders of our mothers and foremothers, in partnership with our sisters, in service to our daughters and future generations with solidarity and intersectionality. We pledge this month, as we do every day, to advance the ideals of liberty and justice for all in our Pledge of Allegiance.

We are part of a fight that is hundreds of years old. For over 200 years, despite the original sins of our Constitutional republic -- colonial subjugation, slavery, exclusion of people of color and women -- American patriots, abolitionists and suffragists have kept working to make the promise of liberty and justice a reality for all.

The story of America is the story of that struggle, day after day, for our values of liberty and justice for all. This month that struggle has a national spotlight. Thanks to a small group of activists right here in California who fought to establish Women's History Week, the nation is celebrating Women's History Month honoring the lives of everyday women who made extraordinary progress.

Women's History Month is a time to break down the institutional inequality, shaming and sexism that hold women back -- institutionalized sexism in the media, in the classroom, in the workplace, in the financial systems, in the legal system and in the most private spaces of all -- our doctors and nurses offices -- so that women can ascend. It is also a time to acknowledge that the climb is far steeper for women of color and women in poverty.

To overcome these challenges, our Women's History Month call to service is clear: pursue liberty to achieve justice.

We pursue the liberty of free speech by women advocates as equal partners to achieve justice in open debate with women's voices discussing women's choices.

We pursue the liberty of a level playing field for students to achieve the justice of a well-educated community where our girls have the same STEAM -- science tech arts engineering and math -- to power their future.

We pursue the liberty of a fair workplace with a living wage to achieve the justice of equal pay, where women succeed and advance to leadership without discrimination based on race, gender, religion, creed, disability, national origin, sexual orientation or identity.

We pursue the liberty of financial non-discrimination in credit and lending to achieve the justice of equality of opportunity for women workers and small businesswomen to reach their highest potential

We pursue the liberty of laws reformed from the institutionalized shaming that blames women for being raped, wives for betting battered and girls for being assaulted to achieve the justice of punishing the perpetrator and healing the survivor not blaming the victim.

We pursue the liberty of reproductive freedom to achieve the justice of autonomy, agency and the ability to make our own decisions guided by faith family and nurse or physician not dictated by politicians or pundits

That is why during Women's History Month we pursue liberty to achieve justice. As Democrats we have a proud history of fighting this fight every day -- pushing back against gender stereotypes in the media, working for equality in the classroom, for fair pay in the workplace, to end financial discrimination, to reform the criminal justice system and for the freedom of women to make our own health choices.

As we enumerate the challenges ahead, can take pride in the progress we have made. Every family has a story of this progress. My grandmother was a stay at home mom who wanted to go to law school in the 1930s but had to quit when her young son died. She wrote to me when I passed the California Bar in 1990 about how happy she was to see me accomplish what she could not 55 years before. I imagine what this aspiring lawyer would have thought of her only daughter Nancy becoming a top lawmaker in the country -- the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives. I carry my grandmother's dream with me every day. I see her in the women who are still not free to pursue their life wishes and in my little daughter Bella who inspires my fight for equality.

My generation is carrying the dreams and living the life wishes of foremothers who could not openly fight inequality with the same freedom they earned for us. And we in turn must dedicate ourselves to raising a new generation with more freedom, less discrimination, more choices to follow their dreams, ever closer to our shared ideal of liberty and justice for all.