Queens residents born before women could vote will cast ballot for a female president

Esther and Luisa
Photos via iwaited96years.com

Queens resident Esther Diamond, 96, was born just months before the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote.

Now, she’s casting her vote for a female president.

Diamond is one of the women featured on the website iwaited96years.com, which is dedicated to sharing the stories of women who were born before the 19th Amendment was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920, who are now casting their ballots for a female candidate.

According to the site, Diamond was born in January 1920 in Kishinev, Russia.

“I traveled a long distance in my life — from the shtetls in Russia to Romania to Canada and finally to the United States in 1930 — and became a citizen in 1945,” she said, as quoted on iwaited96years.com.

Diamond was married 53 years to her late husband and has two children, two granddaughters and three great-grandchildren. She worked most of her life as a legal secretary.

Now, she is voting for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“I am so excited about the prospect of a lady president,” Diamond said. “I am [an] immigrant to this country and never expected to reach this point in my lifetime. She is opening the door for future women presidents.”

Bayside Hills resident Luisa Ceci Jacobson, who was born in May 1920 in Vallecorsa, Italy, is also featured on the site. Jacobson, 96, was the first woman from her town to attend college, starting at the University of Rome. She had to stop her education due to World War II, but after the war, she attended USC, then New York’s Hunter College.

“I broke my own glass ceiling by being the first woman from my hometown to attend university,” Jacobson said. “Women have made progress in this world, that’s for sure. It’s not a man’s world anymore; it’s becoming a woman’s world.”

Jacobson, who speaks English, Spanish and Italian fluently, taught language classes in New York City and Long Island. She has four children, six grandchildren, and “many grand-pets.”

“Never in my whole life did I think I would live to see this day,” she told I Waited 96 Years. “We need a woman president for our country, and it’s going to be Hillary Clinton!”

Jacobson told QNS that she went to the polls with her daughter at 9:30 this morning.

Jacobson at the polls (Photo courtesy of Carole Jacobson Papadatos)
Jacobson at the polls (Photo courtesy of Carole Jacobson Papadatos)

How did it feel for Jacobson to vote for Clinton?

“It felt good. Otherwise I wouldn’t have voted for her,” she said, laughing.

She wants to tell future voters that “It’s important to vote for the future generation and I think [Clinton] would be the best president for them and their children and grandchildren, and that’s it. That’s it.”

Jacobson is optimistic about the election’s outcome: “I’ve been voting for a long time, and I’ve always chosen the one that got in.” She’s on a streak, “and I hope it continues,” she said.

The I Waited 96 Years website was created in October 2016 after Sarah Bunin Benor shared a photo on Facebook of her 98-year-old grandmother, Estelle L. Schultz, casting her absentee ballot for Hillary Clinton.

Within a few days, the post had more than 1,600 likes, and Benor’s friend suggested creating a website with similar photos.

In an interview with the Huffington Post, Benor said that one and a half years ago, her grandmother was diagnosed with a heart condition and told she had only six months to live.

“She’s still alive, and I think it’s partly because this election has given her something to live for,” Benor told the Huffington Post. “She said she wanted to live long enough to vote for Hillary Clinton in the primary, and then in the general election. Now she wants to live to see Hillary inaugurated.”

Benor told QNS that the site now features more than 150 women.

“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been worth it, because we get to learn about so many impressive women with interesting life stories,” Benor told QNS. “I hope our site has reminded people of this historic moment and what it means to so many older women. The reaction has been wonderful. We’ve gotten hundreds of positive comments about how moving this is and how it brings an upbeat angle to a contentious election season.”

To submit yourself, a friend or a relative for possible inclusion on the site, go to iwaited96years.com/submit.