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SuffrageForward in Collaboration with RoCA Presents Breaking the Bronze Ceiling: Envisioning & Creating the First Ever Monument to Real Women in Central Park—A Panel Discussion. When Meredith Bergmann’s Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument is unveiled on August 26, 2020, it will, in essence, break Central Park’s bronze gender barrier. This panel discussion explores the process of conceiving, advocating and fundraising for the creation of this groundbreaking public sculpture. The panelists will be artist Meredith Bergmann, Pam Elam, and Coline Jenkins, with moderator Clare Bowes Sheridan. The journey of envisioning and creating this sculpture was spearheaded by Monumental Women, an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization created in 2014, with the goal of creating the first statue of real women in Central Park. This journey had its own share of hurdles. Contending with NYC bureaucracy and permits was as massive a task as the process of sculpting the work. To fund the statue, Monumental Women has raised over $1.5 million, with the help of private donations and the Girl Scouts. The three women of the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument were selected by Monumental Women for their historic victories in women’s suffrage, women’s civil rights and the abolition of slavery. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth will make history again by becoming the first statues to depict real-life women in NYC’s iconic Central Park sited on Literary Walk, near Sir Walter Scott and William Shakespeare. Of the 840 acres in the 166-year- old park, where there are 23 statues of men, there are only a handful of sculptures of women— all based on fictional characters. Although each of the three women are shown hard at work, having a vigorous conversation, it is Bergmann’s hope that viewers will make up their own story about who is saying what. Bergmann’s powerful homage to these remarkable women depicts a coalition of like-minded people and serves as an inspiration for further study and activism by young girls and women of all ages. With the Women’s Rights Pioneers Monument, Monumental Women and Bergmann begin to correct the scarcity of commemorative sculptures highlighting women’s achievements. When the 14-foot monument is unveiled on August 26, 2020, it will be the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the right to vote. 2020 is also the 200th anniversary of the birth of Susan B. Anthony. The distinguished panelists will discuss the 6-year journey of this process and its significance.
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