Members of Colorado's congressional delegation are backing the efforts of a Loveland artist to install a new monument in Washington D.C.
The bipartisan legislation, which was introduced in the House mid-December, would allow a sculpture commemorating women who were key to the passage of the 19th Amendment to be placed near the U.S. Supreme Court and Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument. The U.S. Constitution's 19th amendment gave women the right to vote.
The "Every Word We Utter" monument would feature women’s rights activists Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Alice Paul and Ida B. Wells. It will be adorned with the names of other key women in the fight for women’s suffrage.
"I've always wanted to highlight, in my body of work, notable women,” sculptor Jane DeDecker said. She wanted to honor the many generations of activists “to speak to the 70 years it took” to get the 19th Amendment ratified and the artwork will highlight “that women have their place in legislative duties.”
“I think when you see an event or person celebrated in sculpture it gives value to that," the artist said.
She got the idea for the statue after seeing a call for artists to create a 19th amendment commemorative work in New York City’s Central Park. DeDecker was a finalist, but in the end, did not receive the commission. To ensure the work had a home, DeDecker approached members of Congress, along with her project coordinator Jody Shadduck-McNally, and proposed the monument for the nation’s capital.
“We actually drove out to Washington D.C. in October,” Shadduck-McNally said. “And when we came back, we got a call from congressman and Gov.-Elect [Jared] Polis’ office. They said we want to write this legislation and introduce it. And here we are.”
Polis sponsored the bill, with U.S. Reps. Scott Tipton, Ed Perlmutter and Diana DeGette as co-sponsors.
“I am so pleased that Loveland residents came to us with this wonderful project,” Polis said in a statement. “The women who were behind the 19th amendment were American heroes, and they deserve to have their bravery recognized."
A local community group will raise funds for the monument. DeDecker and Shadduck-McNally are aiming to have it installed in time for the centennial anniversary of women’s suffrage in August 2020.