The 19th Represents: A Female-Focused Summit Hosts a Bevy of Brilliant Women—and a New Role for Meghan Markle

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex announces an award during the annual Endeavour Fund Awards on March 5, 2020, in London, England.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex announces an award during the annual Endeavour Fund Awards on March 5, 2020, in London, England.
Image: Paul Edwards (Getty Images)

‘Tis the season for a summit! As you hopefully know by now, this week marks the second week of The Root’s monthlong inaugural Root Institute, our absolutely free to the public virtual conference taking place each Tuesday and Thursday through August.


But August also marks the ratification of the 19th Amendment, effectively ending the decades-long women’s suffrage movement as the United States and its federal government could no longer deny the right to vote on the basis of sex. Of course, the amendment failed most women of color—Black women, in particular, wouldn’t unilaterally gain the right to vote until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which celebrated its 55th anniversary just last week. The 19th, a new nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom launched this summer and named for the landmark amendment, aims to right that wrong, elevating all women and fully engaging them in the workings of our democracy, as described on its website:

A century ago, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution made voting, our country’s most fundamental mode of civic participation, a right regardless of gender. But this watershed moment in our democracy excluded millions of women, including women of color, from the ballot box for generations.

​The 19th was founded to shine a light on the unfinished business of the 19th Amendment and empower women—particularly those underserved by and underrepresented in American media—with the information, community and tools they need to be equal participants in our democracy.

While The Root Institute will center Black issues, intersectionality and excellence here at The Root this August (and every day, come to think of it), The 19th will be commemorating the centennial of the suffrage with The 19th Represents, “a week of virtual events that raises the voices of women—past and present—who are reshaping the American story. Taking place from August 10-14, The 19th Represents is described as “a series of conversations with prominent women in politics, civic engagement, journalism and the arts,” including:

Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate turned voting rights activist Stacey Abrams (who also kicked off our Root Institute); Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.); San Francisco Mayor London Breed; Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones; Black Futures Lab founder and co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter Alicia Garza; attorney and co-host of The View, Sunny Hostin; feminist scholar and bestselling author of Eloquent Rage, Brittney Cooper; actress/producer Zoe Saldana, and many more.

It’s an impressive lineup, but despite the likes of Hillary Clinton and Meryl Streep among this week’s scheduled speakers and guests, perhaps the most notable—and undoubtedly most anticipated guest is Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. And it won’t be that long-awaited tell-all interview royal watchers have been hoping for; instead, The 19th posted that the duchess will be on the other side of the mic when she closes out the weeklong summit on August 14th:

After a week of #19thnews reporters interviewing the nation’s top women in politics and policy, The Duchess will turn the tables on The 19th, interviewing our co-founder and CEO, Emily Ramshaw, about our mission to create a transformative newsroom centered on gender equity.⠀


And just like our Root Institute, The 19th Represents is absolutely free—and starts today, so get over there and register (right after you register for this week’s events right here at The Root—and ​catch up on our first week’s amazing guests, Abrams, Ayanna Pressley and more). You can view The 19th Represents’ full schedule and scheduled speakers on their site.


Join the discussion! The Root is hosting its first-ever, virtual Root Institute, presented by Target, featuring several of the leading minds in our community talking about politics, culture, health, community building and social impact. Subscribe for updates today!

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?