Changes to the Dollar Bills

The $5, $10, and $20 bills will be changed by 2020 to also include famous women like Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and more. Photo by Bernice Chen
The $5, $10, and $20 bills will be changed by 2020 to also include famous women like Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, and more. Photo by Bernice Chen

On Wednesday, April 20th, the United States Treasury Department announced that the 20 dollar bill, which originally held only Andrew Jackson, would be redesigned to hold Harriet Tubman, the African American female abolitionist, on the front of the bill, while the former president would be relocated to the back of the bill. They also declared that African American abolitionists and women’s rights activists Sojourner Truth, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton would be featured on the back of the $10 bill (which the Treasury has decided to keep founding father Alexander Hamilton on), and that the $5 bill would also have women on the back to go with Abraham Lincoln on the front, including some like Eleanor Roosevelt.

Many Americans rejoiced at this new change, saying that it was world-changing for females and African-Americans to be put on dollar bills, and that it was another step towards limiting sexism and racism in the nation. Others protested against it, saying that it was insulting to Harriet Tubman’s famous legacy, or that the men whom had already been on the dollar bills deserved it more than the women did.

Many teachers in Canyon Vista also support this idea of putting women and African Americans on the dollar bills for the first time in centuries. “Women have the power to direct their own lives now because of all the women who fought for it years ago.” said Mrs. Slaughter. “It is about time these women are recognized for the American spirit they embodied. True courage will always out last ignorance and hate.”

Several staff mentioned that they like the new change of diversity in historical figures on money. “Currency should honor a diversity of individuals who contributed to our story,” said Mr. Fletcher.  “Jackson is a controversial figure who sparks an important debate of the complexities of our history. Tubman is a great hero who accomplished significant tasks in the name of abolition.”

There are other teachers don’t think that there should be a change to the paper money. “I think they should keep the same,” said Coach Nielsen. “Those were inspiring men who deserve their faces to be shown on those bills.”

Some teachers in Canyon Vista don’t think that women should be added onto the dollar bills just because they are female. “I do not think that changing the face on a bill to a woman because she is a woman is a good idea,” said Mrs. Morgan. “You get your face on a dollar bill because you have been a significant part of US history, whether you are male or female.”

According to TIME, one of the biggest factors of this request to change the paper money was from a now 11 year old girl from Massachusetts, who sent a letter to Obama in 2014 asking why there weren’t any women on dollar bills and currency. Two years later, the president replied, sending a letter back, saying that he would work on making a country where women had the same opportunities as men, and on Wednesday, the US Treasury Department announced that these new changes would be implemented by 2020. “I am most proud of the fact that it was a young girl who called attention to the fact that there were no women on paper currency,” said Mrs. Bruce. “I think it is very cool that girls are now able to see the importance of women in history and the fact that those women are often not recognized by the majority population.” Another big factor was the W20 organization trying to convince President Barack Obama to put a woman on the dollar bills.

A lot of people in the US say that changing the currency to reflect not just white men, but also women and different races, is another small step in the direction of getting rid of racism and living in a world where everybody is treated equally, regardless of their race or gender. “I think it’s time for us to live up to the dreams of what America can be, not what it used to be,” said Mrs. Slaughter. “There will be many who will allow racism to color their comments. I just feel sad that in 2016, this country is still divided by race.”