Sample letter to the Ohio Statuary Committee

See also: Ohio Statuary Committee Contact Information

Sample letter to the Chair of the Committee, Senator Mark Wagoner:

December 10, 2009

Senator Mark Wagoner
Ohio State House
Senate Building Room #129
1 Capitol Square
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Senator Wagoner,

In 1961, I was a freshman at Lutheran East High School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, John F. Kennedy was the President, Lyndon Johnson was the Vice-President, less than 4% of the members of the United States Congress were women, and only five statues of women graced National Statuary Hall. Now, almost 50 years later, the representation of women in government is not much better. There has never been a female President or Vice-President, only 17% of the members of congress are women, and currently only nine statues of women are in National Statuary Hall. Other representations of women by the government are also limited. There never has been a single image of women on our paper currency and in 2009, only 25% of the people portrayed on stamps were women.

Women are 51% of the population and women are significantly more likely to vote than men. Women currently comprise over half of the work force and graduate from high school, college, law school and medical school in higher numbers than men. Yet, inevitably almost every woman hits a professional glass ceiling, an internal and external limit on her achievement caused by both early programming and the subtle sexism that permeates our culture. For the young girl visiting National Statuary Hall, the teenage girl using money to buy a pair of jeans, or the adult woman putting a stamp on a letter, the message is clear, you are invisible, you don’t matter.

For our nation to move forward the achievements of women need to be recognized and women need to be given full symbolic equality. As a psychologist I know that 80% of communication is non-verbal, and that the lack of visual images of women leaders has a significant negative impact on girls and women. As a parent of a girl, I can tell you it’s painful to take my daughter to a museum or exhibit where she is invisible.

Ohio has a chance to improve the current gender disparity in National Statuary Hall by replacing the statue of Governor William Allen with a woman. Ohio has many great women to choose from: Lucy Webb Hayes, one of the most beloved First Ladies in our nation’s history; Harriet Taylor Upton, suffragette and author; Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president in the United States; Annie Oakley, an archetypal western woman and philanthropist; and Nonhelema, a Shawnee Chief.

However, of all the women available to choose from my personal choice is American abolitionist and author, Harriet Beecher Stowe. Stowe lived in Ohio for seventeen years, from 1832 to 1850, and her home was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was based on the stories she heard while harboring slaves in her home in Ohio and depicted life for African-Americans under slavery. Uncle Tom’s Cabin energized anti-slavery forces in the American North and provoked widespread anger in the South. Upon meeting Stowe, Abraham Lincoln allegedly remarked, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!” What makes Harriet Beecher Stowe the perfect choice is that her anti-slavery campaign is the perfect juxtaposition to Governor Allen’s views and would right a double wrong.

I implore the committee to select a woman for Statuary Hall so that the future generations of American women can grow up in a country that fully embraces the achievements of women.

Sincerely,

Lynette Long, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist

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