Press Release on Harriet Tubman Statue Bill, with statement from EVE President Lynette Long

March 28, 2011 by EVE   · Comments Off

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Last Thursday a Maryland Senate committee approved an amendment that effectively guts the bill to place a statue of Harriet Tubman in National Statuary Hall.

The original bill (Senate Bill 351) calls for Maryland’s existing statue of John Hanson to be replaced with one of Harriet Tubman. The new amendment almost completely rewrites the bill, asking Congress instead to give Maryland special permission to place three statues, with the Tubman statue as the third addition.

“But we already know the answer to that,” says Suzanne Scoggins of EVE (Equal Visibility Everywhere), which sponsored the original legislation. “The answer is no. Each state is allowed two statues. The rules for Statuary Hall are precise and carefully formulated. There are 100 statues in the collection—two from each state—and the Capitol barely has room for all of them as it is. If you want to change a statue, you bring one home and send the new one in its place. There is absolutely no reason to expect that Congress will make a special exception for Maryland and allow them to have three statues. The supporters of the amendment are calling it a ‘compromise,’ but it’s not a compromise. Maryland isn’t going to be allowed to have three statues, and they know it. The effect of the amendment is to kill the Harriet Tubman statue.”

In an statement, EVE President Lynette Long said:

Maryland had a unique opportunity to replace a slaveholder with a slave, a white man with a Black woman, a colonial figure with a Civil War figure. They have squandered that opportunity. Instead, they’ve chosen to petition Congress for something they know they won’t get, in a transparent attempt to pass the buck to the federal government.

The population of Maryland is 29% African-American and 51% female. Harriet Tubman, an African-American woman from Maryland, was one of the most courageous and inspiring individuals in our nation’s history. She was truly one of the all-time great American heroes, one of a handful of names that every schoolchild in this country knows. It is only right that she should be one of the two individuals representing Maryland in National Statuary Hall. Yet a small group of white male legislators has derailed the entire project.

Leading the opposition is Maryland Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Jr., a 68-year-old Democrat who has been a member of the Maryland Senate since 1975. He is joined by two other long-standing Democrats, Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton (a member of the Senate since 1995 and a relative of John Hanson) and Senator Roy Dyson, also a member of the Senate since 1995.

These gentlemen apparently believe that Maryland is best represented in Statuary Hall by an all-male, all-white contingent. Rather than honor Harriet Tubman, they prefer to keep the statues of Charles Carroll and John Hanson that have been in place since 1903. Charles Carroll was the largest slaveholder in the American colonies, and John Hanson was a minor figure who served a one-year term presiding over the Continental Congress.

What is especially disturbing is that on February 16, 2011, the Southern Maryland News reported Senator Miller as proposing that “a special category should be established in Statuary Hall for women and blacks who were not considered when states first were invited to contribute statues in 1864.” This smacks of separate but equal. It’s a sexist and racist statement that ignores the fact that women and Blacks have made contributions throughout history that have been ignored.

…continue reading

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Amelia Earhart Will Make History Again

September 27, 2010 by EVE   · 1 Comment »

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 27 — There are giant parade balloons of Olive Oyl and Miss Piggy, but until now, no one has ever produced a balloon of an actual historic woman.

All that will change on October 2, when a forty-five foot helium balloon of Amelia Earhart in her red Lockheed Vega will make its first test flight in the 2010 Circle City Classic Parade in Indianapolis. Three to four hundred thousand people are expected to be on hand to witness the launch of the balloon. The parade will also be televised in Indianapolis, greatly increasing the viewership of the historic moment.

The Earhart balloon will be one of five balloons in the parade, all supplied by StarBound Entertainment. The balloon will escorted by thirty balloon handlers dressed in white jumpsuits patterned after Amelia Earhart’s famous flight suit.

The Amelia Earhart balloon was the brainchild of EVE (Equal Visibility Everywhere) founder and president Dr. Lynette Long. Long was frustrated by the lack of balloons of female characters in parades across the country. “When I was a child I watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, and there wasn’t a single female character balloon in the parade,” she explains. “I decided that needed to change!” The result is a joint venture between EVE and StarBound Entertainment, a leading balloon supplier, to introduce a new line of balloons honoring great American women.

“We could have chosen to depict female cartoon characters,” Long explains, “but since the stories of historic women are virtually omitted from our nation’s narrative, we thought it would be better to tell the stories of real women and inspire young girls, telling them they can achieve anything.”

Amelia Earhart was selected for the first balloon based on her accomplishments as an aviator (the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, the first person to solo over the Pacific) as well as her current popularity (last year’s Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian featured Earhart and her red Lockheed Vega, while Hillary Swank starred in the biopic Amelia.) Toni McKay, the president of StarBound Entertainment, also voted for Earhart since she felt the red Lockheed Vega would make an especially striking and aerodynamic balloon.

Funding for the balloon was raised from individual donors, each of whom became a member of “EVE’s 99 Club,” named after the original Ninety-Nines founded by Amelia Earhart. The balloon was designed by Chad Baptiste, a Fort Lauderdale artist.

###

Contact:

Lynette Long, President of EVE
president@equalvisibilityeverywhere.org
(301) 325-6976

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Kansas to send Amelia Earhart to National Statuary Hall

August 23, 2010 by EVE   · 3 Comments »

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 23 — It’s official: Kansas will replace its statue of John James Ingalls in the U.S. Capitol with a new sculpture of famed aviator Amelia Earhart.

Ingalls has represented Kansas for more than a century in the National Statuary Hall Collection, which features two statues of illustrious citizens from each state. Amelia Earhart will become only the tenth woman to be honored with a statue in the collection.

Equal Visibility Everywhere (EVE), a national non-profit dedicated to achieving gender parity in the country’s symbols and icons, has been given responsibility for raising the funds for the statue and commissioning the artist.

The Kansas legislature passed a resolution in favor of the Earhart statue 11 years ago, when the state decided to update both of its representatives in Statuary Hall with more modern figures. The statue of George Glick was slated to be replaced by one of Dwight D. Eisenhower, while Amelia Earhart was chosen to replace John James Ingalls.

The Eisenhower sculpture was duly commissioned and installed in 2003. But plans for the Amelia Earhart statue went nowhere—until now.

Earlier this year, EVE approached officials in Kansas about taking on the Earhart project. The resulting statue replacement agreement was signed this month by Governor Mark Parkinson and delivered to the Architect of the Capitol in Washington.

The onus is now on EVE to raise the necessary funds for the statue and begin the process of choosing a sculptor.

“Amelia Earhart was one of the most inspiring women in American history,” says Dr. Lynette Long, president of EVE. “She’s still a role model for girls everywhere, and the prospect of having her in Statuary Hall is incredibly exciting. We are deeply honored to be entrusted with this responsibility. Everyone in Kansas has been wonderful.”

An open competition will be held for the statue’s design, with the winner chosen by a selection committee chaired by Dr. Long. The selection committee will also include representatives from the Governor’s office, the family of Amelia Earhart, the Atchison Chamber of Commerce (Earhart’s home town), the Amelia Earhart Festival, and the Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum.

Kansas isn’t the only state to be approached by EVE about updating its statues. In Maryland the group has partnered with NOW to persuade lawmakers to send a statue of Harriet Tubman to National Statuary Hall. Tubman would be the first African-American in the Hall and, depending on the timing of the Earhart statue, either the tenth or eleventh woman so honored. Earlier this year EVE encouraged Ohio citizens to choose a woman for their state’s new statue. The organization has plans for similar campaigns in New York, Florida, and California.

The Kansas statue will be the second Earhart-related project for EVE. The group is also introducing a line of giant parade balloons featuring famous American women, with Amelia Earhart as the first entry.

###

Contact:

Lynette Long, President of EVE
president@equalvisibilityeverywhere.org
(301) 325-6976

Suzanne Scoggins, Communications Director, EVE
press@equalvisibilityeverywhere.org
(804) 693-0381

Associated document:

Letter from Governor Mark Parkinson to the Architect of the Capitol, with statue replacement agreement (pdf format): GovParkinson_AOC.pdf

Background links online:

EVE organizational info:

Related projects:

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Coming Soon to a Parade Near You: Amelia Earhart

July 1, 2010 by EVE   · 1 Comment »

July 1 — Equal Visibility Everywhere (EVE) is an organization with a mission. The Washington D.C.-based non-profit is dedicated to achieving gender parity in statues, stamps, dollar bills, historical monuments — and now parade balloons.

The giant helium balloons familiar from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the National Independence Day Parade, and other extravaganzas are notable for their lack of female characters. The Macy’s parade, for example, has included only 10 balloons of female characters in its entire 85-year history.

Now EVE is moving into the breach with a new balloon featuring aviator Amelia Earhart. The balloon will take the shape of a 40-foot replica of Earhart’s famous red Lockheed Vega, with an oversized Earhart in the cockpit.

The balloon will be constructed by Pennsylvania-based StarBound Entertainment, which provides the balloons for more than one hundred parades all over the country. The StarBound inventory includes 350 different balloons for parade organizers to choose from. EVE plans to make the Amelia Earhart balloon the first in a series honoring American heroines, with a new balloon introduced every year.

EVE is raising funds from donors to finance the construction of the balloon, which is expected to cost several thousand dollars.

###

Contact:

Lynette Long, President of EVE
president@equalvisibilityeverywhere.org
(301) 325-6976

Suzanne Scoggins, EVE Director of Communications
press@equalvisibilityeverywhere.org

Media:

Slideshow with background on balloons and StarBound Entertainment
High-resolution image (2 MB) of Earhart’s Lockheed Vega (National Air and Space Museum)

Social Media Tools:

EVE Fundraising Widget for the Amelia Earhart Balloon (distributed by WidgetBox)

Background:

Put Amelia Earhart back in the skies! (EVE)
Amelia Earhart – Biography and Links (EVE)
Friends in High Places: Profile of StarBound Entertainment owner Toni McKay (American Profile)

EVE organizational info:

EVE website
EVE Press Room
EVE on Facebook
EVE Factsheet (pdf)

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Ohio legislators urged to choose a woman for new statue

June 18, 2010 by EVE   · 1 Comment »

Ohio legislators urged to choose a woman for new statue

June 18, 2010 – Ohio legislators got a visual reminder this week of the importance of choosing a woman for the state’s new statue in Washington.

Equal Visibility Everywhere (EVE), an organization dedicated to highlighting women’s history and achievements, sent custom-designed posters to the members of the General Assembly’s National Statuary Collection Study Committee. The stark, black-background 16×20 inch poster features an archival photo of schoolgirls surrounded by male statues in the Hall. The caption reads, “Change the possibilities for the next generation of girls. Put a woman in Statuary Hall.” (View a 1600px image of the poster here.)

nsh_poster_1600

Out of the 100 statues currently in Statuary Hall, only 9 are of women.

Ohio is currently in the process of choosing a replacement for the statue of Governor William Allen, which has stood in the U.S. Capitol since 1887. The 10 finalists for the honor include 3 women: Harriet Beecher Stowe, the Cincinnati-based author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Judith Resnik, the Akron astronaut who died in the Challenger disaster; and Harriet Taylor Upton, an Ohio suffragist who played a leading role in winning the vote for women.

Ohio residents were given the opportunity to vote for their favorite from March 20 to June 12, 2010. Those ballots are being counted now, with the tabulation expected to be announced in early July. The public vote is not binding, however, and the National Statuary Collection Study Committee is tasked with making the final recommendation to the General Assembly.

EVE sent the poster to all six members of the Study Committee, as well as to Senate Minority Leader Capri S. Cafaro, Assistant Minority Leader Shirley A. Smith, and Governor and First Lady Strickland.

###

Contact:

Lynette Long, President of EVE
president@equalvisibilityeverywhere.org
(301) 325-6976

Suzanne Scoggins, EVE Director of Communications
press@equalvisibilityeverywhere.org

Media:

Image of poster: http://equalvisibilityeverywhere.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/nsh_poster_1600.jpg

Full list of poster recipients:

Sen. Mark Wagoner (R-Toledo), Chairman, National Statuary Collection Study Committee
Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo)
Sen. Karen Gillmor (R-Tiffin)
Rep. Richard Adams (R-Troy)
Rep. Connie Pillich (D-Cincinnati)
Rep. Tom Letson (D-Warren)

Sen. Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard), Minority Leader
Sen. Shirley A. Smith (D-Cleveland), Assistant Minority Leader

Governor Ted Strickland
First Lady Frances Strickland

Background:

Ohio Statue Project (EVE)
Statuary Hall Project (EVE)
Legacy for Ohio
National Statuary Hall Collection official website

EVE organizational info:

EVE website
EVE Press Room
EVE on Facebook
EVE Factsheet (pdf)

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EVE teams up with Maryland NOW to put Harriet Tubman in National Statuary Hall

May 12, 2010 by EVE Press   · 2 Comments »

Maryland has a chance to become the first state to honor an African-American in National Statuary Hall.

There are 100 statues in the U.S. Capitol Building’s Statuary Hall, representing great Americans from all 50 states. Only 9 of the statues are of women. None are of African-Americans.

Equal Visibility Everywhere (EVE), an organization dedicated to highlighting women’s history and achievements, announced today that it is teaming up with the Maryland chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) to put a statue of Harriet Tubman in Statuary Hall. Tubman, a Maryland-born slave who became a renowned conductor on the Underground Railroad, would be the first African-American in Statuary Hall and only the tenth woman.

“Harriet Tubman represents what is best about America: courage, selflessness, and an overriding sense of justice,” says Dr. Lynette Long, the president of EVE. “She is truly one of the great American heroes.”

Harriet Tubman was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore in about 1820; her exact birth date is unknown. In 1849 she fled north to freedom, where she joined the secret network of free African-Americans and white sympathizers who helped runaways escape—the Underground Railroad. She became known as “the Moses of her people,” risking her life repeatedly to return to Maryland and lead slaves to freedom. When the Civil War started, Tubman became a scout, spy, and nurse for the Union Army. She spent her later years as a champion of civil rights and women’s suffrage.

Linda Mahoney, the president of Maryland NOW, says that Tubman is an inspiring figure who deserves to be commemorated in Statuary Hall. “Harriet Tubman was an amazing person who risked her life many times to lead people to a land of liberty and opportunity,” says Mahoney. “When visitors go to the Capitol Building and look for the heroes from Maryland, this is who we want them to see. Americans need to be taught that our great country was forged by the contributions of individuals. It didn’t just happen. We should emulate the wonderful women, like Clara Barton and Harriet Tubman and Rachel Carson, who pursued their dreams. We need to encourage and honor the contributions of the female populace as well as the male. Statuary Hall is a terrific place to pursue this effort for equal visibility.”

By law, each state is allowed to honor two people from its history with life-sized bronze or marble statues placed in the Capitol Building. The statues can be swapped out after 10 years. Maryland is currently represented by Charles Carroll (1737-1832) and John Hanson (1715-1783), Revolutionary War figures whose statues both date from 1903.

More than 3 million visitors tour the Capitol Building each year, and Statuary Hall is one of the most popular stops.

“What a lot of those visitors probably don’t realize is that the Capitol was built partly with slave labor,” says Suzanne Scoggins, the communications director for EVE. “The huge marble columns in Statuary Hall were quarried, cut, and polished by slaves.” Harriet Tubman would be the first enslaved person honored with a statue in the Hall.

Most of the statues in the collection date from before 1940, but in 2000 Congress voted to allow states to replace one or both of their existing statues with more up-to-date models. So far three states have taken advantage of the new rules. California sent a statue of Ronald Reagan to replace Thomas Starr King, Kansas replaced George W. Glick with Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Alabama replaced Jabez Lamar Monroe Curry with a bronze figure of Helen Keller that has become one of the top tourist draws in the Capitol Building. Missouri, Michigan, and Arizona are also in the process of swapping out older statues for new ones.

Dr. Long says that EVE’s goal is to make sure the new wave of replacement statues includes women. The organization kicked off its Statuary Hall Project earlier this year in Ohio, where a public referendum is being held to decide who should replace the statue of William Allen. EVE is also working with officials in Kansas to place a statue of Amelia Earhart in Statuary Hall, and is launching similar statue projects in New York, California, Florida, and Oklahoma.

###

Contact:

Lynette Long, President of EVE
president@equalvisibilityeverywhere.org
(301) 325-6976

Suzanne Scoggins, EVE Director of Communications
press@equalvisibilityeverywhere.org

Linda Mahoney, President of Maryland NOW
Irish20901@aol.com

Background:

Maryland Statue Project
Maryland’s existing statues: Charles Carroll and John Hanson
About Statuary Hall
Rules for replacing statues
National Statuary Hall Collection official website
“History of Slave Laborers in the Construction of the United States Capitol” (pdf)

Organizational info:

EVE website
EVE Press Room
EVE on Facebook
EVE Factsheet (pdf)

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Meet Ohio’s Three Women Candidates for Statuary Hall

March 16, 2010 by EVE   · Comments Off

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Meet Ohio’s Three Women Candidates for Statuary Hall

COLUMBUS, March 16, 2010 – Equal Visibility Everywhere (EVE), an organization dedicated to highlighting women’s history and achievements, is inviting Ohioans to “meet” three of the candidates for National Statuary Hall.

Beginning this Saturday, citizens of all ages will have a chance to vote for which famous Ohioan should represent the state in Washington. Three of the ten finalists are women, and EVE wants to make sure Ohioans know who they are. The organization is sponsoring a living history presentation at the Ohio Historical Society on Saturday to mark the start of the public voting.

Actors in costume will portray Harriet Beecher Stowe, the Cincinnati-based author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin; Judith Resnik, the Akron astronaut who died in the Challenger disaster, and Harriet Taylor Upton, the Ohio suffragist who played a leading role in winning the vote for women.

“This will be a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages to learn about history in a fun way,” says Dr. Lynette Long, the president of EVE. “Parents can bring their kids. People can interact with these great figures from the past, ask them questions, find out who they are and why they deserve to be in National Statuary Hall.”

Out of the 100 statues currently in Statuary Hall – two from each state – only nine are of women. That’s a sore point with EVE.

“Women have contributed enormously to the history of the United States,” says Long. “Their achievements should be recognized equally with men’s. When girls walk through Statuary Hall, they need to see the women who have broken barriers and achieved success in spite of the odds. Instead, all they see is men.”

The living history presentation will begin at 12:00 noon at the Ohio Historical Center in Columbus, and is scheduled to run until 3:00 pm. The event is free to the public.

Voters may cast ballots at the Ohio Historical Society or at one of 35 other polling places around the state, or by downloading and mailing an electronic ballot at Legacy for Ohio: http://www.legacyforohio.org/index3.html. The voting will run through June 12.

Detailed biographies of the three women candidates and background on the Ohio Statue Project are available on EVE’s website: http://equalvisibilityeverywhere.org/what-we-do/statuary-hall-project/ohio-statue-project/.

Contact:

Lynette Long, Ph.D., President of EVE
301-325-6976
drlynettelong@aol.com

Jennifer Lee, Project Coordinator
818-219-9339
encouragegirls@gmail.com

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