*This is the first of two writings identifying vision and purpose. Change is exploring and embracing new territory. Time to harness and organize skills for meaningful action!
2020 will be a year of reinvention. Old patterns continue to reject positive initiatives. It’s time to circumvent and create new operating systems. The need is great and so is goodwill. Two projects will be of focus: a curation and community program.
August 18th, 2020 will mark the 19th Amendment Centennial granting women the constitutional right to vote. The city of Richmond is home to the historic Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front. My proposed exhibition highlights women-identified Richmond artists with diverse art practices. The Vote at 100: Women Can Do It curation responds to the complexity of securing the vote for all. Women, not politicians, have the power and autonomy for equality.
From the National Park Service website: “A shortage of white male workers led to active recruitment, by the United States Government, to war industry jobs. Initially white middle class women were recruited, followed by minority men, and finally minority women. Integration of women and minorities into the workforce was initially met with resistance, however, the new opportunities for women and minorities ‘cracked open’ the door to equal rights and would have profound impacts on the Civil Rights Movement and Women’s Movement during the following decades. During World War II six million women entered the workforce.’ Rosie the Riveter’ and her ‘We Can Do It’ motto came to symbolize all women Home Front workers.
The World War II period resulted in the largest number of people migrating within the United States, in the history of the country. Individuals and families relocated to industrial centers for good paying war jobs, and out of a sense of patriotic duty. Many industrial centers became ‘boom towns’, growing at phenomenal rates. One example, the City of Richmond, California, grew from a population of under 24,000 to over 100,000 during the war. Workers from around the nation had to intermingle with each other, overcome differences, and form a cohesive identity in order to meet war demands. Following World War II, many migrants decided to stay in their new homes, forever changing the cultural landscape of the United States.”
On August 18th, 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified granting women the right to vote. However, it took many years to include “all” women. Today, sexism continues to be interwoven into systemic discrimination and progress (aka “equality”) feels like oppression to the privileged. Women will continue to disrupt power structures and reclaim equality: one exhibition, program, and vote at a time.