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  • By Bruce Lloyd

Leon Guerrero acknowledges women who came before

At a U.S. District Court ceremony which conferred U.S. citizenship on 38 persons from different countries, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero noted that March is Women's History Month. She told a story that is familiar to many on the island about Mrs. Agueda Johnston, who was known for, among many other things, helping to hide Navy radioman George Tweed during the Japanese occupiers of Guam

But she reminded those in the court, including the new American citizens, about what followed and its significance to both Americans and women in governance.

"Cynthia Torres Johnston followed in her mother's footsteps," Leon Guerrero said. "Cynthia and another woman, Lagrimas Untalan, were the first two women to run for the Guam Legislature in 1954. During their campaign, they helped in achieving what was rarely discussed then, women's rights and marital problems. Many husbands tried to discourage their wives from attending these meetings. The established political parties tried to shut them out by holding the meetings in school buildings where officials held the keys, instead of in private homes. People threw raw eggs at them and they were even accused of selling their bodies for votes. But when the votes were tallied, they became members of the local legislature. Their belief in the U.S. political system, their belief in themselves as agents of change, helped to shatter the glass ceiling for Guam politics, They are part of the reason that I stand before you today as Guam Maga Haga..

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