UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR
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NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
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NATIONAL CAPITAL MEMORIAL ADVISORY COMMISSION
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TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2019
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The meeting convened at the National Building Museum, Suite 311, 401 F Street, NW, Washington, DC, at 1:00 p.m., Peter May, Chairman, presiding.
PETER MAY, Chairman; National Park Service
SAJEEL AHMED, Department of Defense
THOMAS LUEBKE, Commission of Fine Arts
DAVID MALONEY, District of Columbia
MICHAEL SHERMAN, National Capital Planning Commission
MICHAEL TURNBULL, Architect of the Capitol
MINA WRIGHT, General Services Administration
CHRIS WILSON, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (non-voting advisor)
SOPHIA KELLY, National Park Service
BETH PORTER, National Park Service
KATIE WALLACE, Staff for Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO)
JODY SHADDUCK-McNALLY, Co-Founder, Every Word We Utter Monument
KYLE DALLABETTA, Co-Founder, Every Word We Utter Monument
REBECCA KLEEFISCH, Executive Director, Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission
BARBARA COCHRAN, President, Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation
RICK HUTZELL, Editor, Capital Gazette, Annapolis
AMANDA BENNETT, Journalist
KATIE ORSINO, Executive Director, Emergency Medical Services Memorial Foundation
JAMIE ORSINO, Vice President, Emergency Medical Services Memorial Foundation
ALAN HARWOOD, AECOM
CLAIRE SALE, AECOM
Introduction and Welcome
Peter May 4
MR. MAY: Good afternoon. Welcome to the first meeting of the year of the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission.
My name is Peter May. I’m here representing the Director of the National Park Service. Present for today’s meeting are Michael Sherman, representing the Chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission; Michael Turnbull, representing the Architect of the Capitol; Thomas Luebke for the Chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts; David Maloney, representing the Mayor of the District of Columbia; Mina Wright, representing the Administrator of General Services Administration and Sajeel Ahmed, representing the Secretary of Defense.
Mike Conley, normally the person who represents the Chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission, could not join us today, although he did send me a few notes on the cases on today’s agenda.
And also, representing the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, is Chris Wilson. Mr. Wilson participates with the Commission in a nonvoting advisory capacity.
So I would like to recognize the new staff for the Park Service who help manage the National Capitol Memorial Advisory Commission. First, Beth Porter, who is the new Commission Secretary and Legislative Affairs Specialist for the National Park Service. She’s been doing Legislative Affairs for us on and off for, I don’t know, two years, but has now officially taken over that role and will be the new Commission Secretary.
And Sophia Kelly, who is our new Memorials Program Manager, replacing the legendary Glenn DeMarr, who retired last year.
So, between Beth and Sophia and I, we have just enough information and ability to pull together a meeting. But we’re not experts yet, so it may be a little rocky because I’m the guy who just stands here and reads the notes, so I couldn’t tell them much on what to do.
So, but no, I appreciate everybody’s patience with us. I would like to thank Tom Luebke, Frederick Lindstrom and the Commission of Fine Arts and staff who allow us to use their boardroom today. They’re always a great help to us, particularly in setting up the meeting. We really do appreciate that. Thank you very much.
So quick overview of today’s business. Most of you who are here know that the Commission was established by the Commemorative Works Act of 1986, and the Commission is required to act to advise the Secretary of Interior, the Administrator of the General Services Administration and committees of Congress on the establishment of commemorative works in the District of Columbia and its environs and to provide its views to the appropriate committees of Congress when the committees are considering legislation to authorize commemorative works within the District of Columbia and its environs.
The act also requires that sponsors of authorized memorials consult with this Commission regarding site and design concept proposals.
Today we will review two pieces of legislation and one site selection study.
First bill is H.R. 473 and S. 1705, bill to authorize the Every Word We Utter Memorial to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and its environs.
Note that H.R. 473 was amended by the House Natural Resources Committee and no longer contains the section entitled Findings. S. 1705 remains unchanged, as it was introduced.
Second bill is H.R. 3465 and S. 1969, a bill to authorize the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation, to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and its environs.
The third item is that we will provide consultation on site selection prepared by the National Emergency Medical Services Memorial Foundation. The Foundation is here to share their site selection study and ask for recommendations as they continue to pursue site approvals. And there are multiple approvals that will be required.
Finally, we’ll conclude with an update on several currently authorized memorials that are in various stages of development.
We have a very large crowd here today. I hope everybody is here to the bitter end so I can provide my gripping update on all of the memorials in progress, all 12 of them. That’s okay. I don’t expect everybody. Anyway —
MS. WRIGHT: We’re all sure it will be gripping.
MR. MAY: Yes, and you’re going to be here for it.
MS. WRIGHT: Yes. I wouldn’t dream of missing it.
MR. MAY: Yeah, so, let’s see, first agenda item, the Commission will hear testimony regarding H.R. 473 and S. 1705, the bill to authorize the Every Word We Utter Monument.
On January 10th, 2019, Congressman Joe Neguse introduced H.R. 473. And on June 19th, Senator Michael Bennet introduced the companion bill, S. 1705. And the purpose of legislation is to authorize the establishment of the Every Word We Utter Monument in recognition of the 70-year Suffragist effort to pass the 19th Amendment.
On September 18th, 2019, just a few days ago, House Natural Resources Committee favorably reporting out on H.R. 73 (sic) with amendments, and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held hearings on S. 1705, but no further action has been taken.
So normally we would try to review these bills before they’re considered by Committee, but we did not have that opportunity this time around, unless we have an obligation to review and report, so we will.
So with us today is Katie Wallace, representing Congressman Joe Neguse, house sponsor or H.R. 473. So if you could please give us your statement and stay at the dias in case anybody has questions.
MS. WALLACE: Yes, sir.
MR. MAY: Thank you.
MS. WALLACE: Well, good afternoon. My name is Katie Wallace, and I’m the legislative aide for Congressman Joe Neguse who sends his apologies for not being able to be present today.
We want to thank Chairman May and the Commission for holding today’s hearing on Congressman Neguse’s bill, H.R. 473, to establish the first outdoor statue honoring the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Washington, D.C.
Just over a hundred years ago, Congress passed a proposed amendment to the Constitution extending the right to vote to women. It took just over a year for the states to ratify this amendment, forever enshrining women’s rights to vote in our Constitution.
At the forefront of this effort was a diverse and multi-generational movement of women. From farms and villages throughout our nation, their organized, educated, picketed, and demanded their enfranchisement.
Through this enduring movement, women received the vote. It is in tribute to the fearlessly bold women who championed equality in our nation that Rep. Neguse introduced H.R. 473.
This bill has received strong bipartisan support, is bicameral and has been heard in the relevant committees of both the House and the Senate. Leading women’s organizations support it, including the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission.
In consultation with the National Park Service, while drafting this legislation, it suggested both the location and design of this statute. Initially placed in the Findings Section, these were non-binding and left the ultimate decision of both to the Committee, to this committee, and to the process of the Commemorative Works Act.
During the House Natural Resources markup on this bill just last week, which the chairman referenced, this Findings Section was removed to bring the bill into better, more fully aligned with the CWA.
Rep. Neguse is very pleased that the Committee then passed this bill on a bipartisan voice vote, and it is now on its way to the House floor.
The Every Word We Utter Board, including sculptor Jane DeDecker and Board President Jody ShadduckMcNally, have worked diligently to apply for the required non-profit status, having been registered with the Colorado Secretary of State since December 2018 and incorporated with the IRS.
Additionally, they have submitted their paperwork for status as a 501(c)(3). While the specific design of the statue remains at the discretion of the process of the CWA, I would like to highlight the design formally included in the Findings Section of this bill as it does a phenomenal job of encompassing the broad diversity of this movement.
Jane DeDecker is a nationally renowned sculptor and the artist behind the suggested statue. Her beautifully crafted design in Every Word We Utter brings to life the women behind the Suffrage Movement from its beginning to its final victory.
The women included in this sculpture hail from every corner of our country and from a diverse set of background. These women’s efforts across the decades were critical to the ultimate enfranchisement of women throughout our nation.
It is a priority of Rep. Neguse’s to ensure that our nations daughters feel represented, empowered and assured of the fundamental role they play in our society. Establishing D.C.’s first outdoor statue honoring the Women’s Suffrage Movement is a critical way to guarantee just that and to inspire the next generation to continue advocating for justice and equality for one another and for all that will follow them.
In reverence to all the generations that came before us and on behalf of all those still to come, Rep. Neguse thanks the Committee for considering this bill today. And thank you for your time and allowing me to testify.
MR. MAY: Thank you very much. Are there any questions from the Commission? Seeing none, thank you very much.
MS. WALLACE: Thank you, sir.
MR. MAY: Appreciate your coming here to testify.
Next we have three of the founding board members of the Every Word We Utter Monument: Jody Shadduck-McNally, Kyle Dallabetta, and Jane DeDecker. So if you could, whatever order you’d like. And please stay nearby so we can ask questions.
MS. SHADDUCK-MCNALLY: Good afternoon. Good afternoon, Chairman May, members of the Commission. Thank you so much for this opportunity to testify and speak before you today.
My name is Jody Shadduck-McNally, and I am a cofounder of Every Word We Utter Monument Board. I’m here today with my fellow cofounders, Kyle Dallabetta and Jane DeDecker.
Together, we are here to propose a monument commemorating the ratification of the 19th Amendment that honors the women who were instrumental in the fight for women’s equality to be placed in Washington, D.C.
We’re not asking for any federal funds, only to be allowed to create and install a monument that depicts the height, the depth, the length and the breadth of the Women’s Movement, all through grassroots movement and donations.
On November 2nd, 1920, an estimated 8 million women voted for the first time, making it the largest increase in voter participation in the history of the United States.
Seventy-two years earlier, in Seneca Falls, Elizabeth Cady Stanton heralded the Women’s Movement with the delivery of the Declaration of Sentiments, a demand for equality of rights echoing, but purposely amended our own country’s Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women are created equal” — her words elevated the founding vision of our country to include the voices of women.
In 1878, Susan B. Anthony authored and introduced the proposed 16th Amendment to prohibit the disenfranchise of citizens of the United States on the account of sex. For an additional 41 years, Congress debated/denied the amendment.
Countless women joined the movement, ranks swelled and the pressure built, culminating the passage of the 19th Amendment. It is in this spirit of that call and this call to action that we are here today.
The three of us started with a singular vision to celebrate these women by donating a commemorative work to our nation’s capital. We have followed in the footsteps of these women from the 19th and early 20th Centuries.
We went to D.C. last year, knocked on 97 out of a hundred Senate doors, met with members of the House, anyone who would listen. We began a grassroots outreach back home in Colorado.
And now we have the support of the League of Women Voters of Larimer County in Colorado, the American Association of University Women of Colorado and Nevada, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission and many other women’s groups from other states.
Today, per the Commemorative Works Act, thanks to former Congressman Jared Polis — now Governor Jared Polis, Congressman Joe Neguse, along with the entire Colorado Congressional House Delegation consisting of Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Congressman Scott Tipton, Congressman Doug Lamborn, Congressman Ed Perlmutter, Congressman Jason Crow, and Congressman Ken Buck, and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, and Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, we have our bicameral bills, H.R. 473 and S. 1705, allowing our group, Every Word We Mutter Monument, to establish a commemorative work — on federal land in the District of Columbia and its environs to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which gave women the right to vote.
A Gallup poll asked for the most significant events of the 20th Century. Americans voted the passage of the 19th Amendment as the second more important event, only second to Word War II. The Apollo Moon Landing was voted Number 7.
Yet, of the roughly 7,000 reported public arts in our country, a mere 10 percent are dedicated to historical female figures, and most of these are allegorical.
As Myra Sadker poignantly wrote, “Each time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns she is worth less.” The lack of female role models depicted in public art sends a message that women have not participated in the forming of our nation.
A young girl visiting our nation’s capital for the first time does not learn about the women who shaped our country because we lack an outdoor monument to view and become inspired. Regardless of gender or age, we cannot let anyone walk through a womanless representation of our American history, especially in our nation’s capital.
Women from many diverse backgrounds have contributed great things to this country. As I watch my teenage daughter, Delaney, become more civically engaged and devoting her time, bridging intergenerational communication in our community and looking for ways to improve our community, I am moved by the strength and perseverance of these women who owe — we all owe a great debt that we can only repay by pressing forward.
My daughter and I are pressing forward and we are both passionate about this endeavor. As we walk along the historical journey of this movement, a history that I was never taught nor told, I have become more inspired and empowered.
And with the centennial anniversary less than a year away, the time has come. It is a testament to our open government and the power of community engagement that we find ourselves here today.
On behalf of the Every Word We Utter Monument Board and the founders, I thank you for including us in today’s agenda and considering our proposal. And I thank you for listening to my testimony. Thank you.
MR. MAY: Thank you. We’ll handle — we’ll do questions at the end.
MS. SHADDUCK-MCNALLY: Okay.
MR. MAY: How about that? Make it a little bit easier, so we can just go through that.
MR. DALLABETTA: Good afternoon. I’m excited to be here. And I want to thank you for including us in today’s hearing.
I am Kyle Dallabetta. I am here today, not only as a Founder of the Every Word We Utter Monument but also as a father. My daughter, Siena, will be franchised to vote next election in 2020, the centennial anniversary of the first year women claimed their right to vote. And the significance of that date is not lost on her.
I can’t speak for all, but I assure you there are millions of men who, like me, recognize the magnitude of the passage of the 19th Amendment and recognize the lasting impact that women’s participation in our democracy has had on the United States.
The Commemorative Works Act has vested in you a solemn responsibility of ensuring that the public monuments and memorials placed in our nation’s capital symbolize our collective identity.
Walking the streets of Washington, D.C., visitors encounter historic monuments detailing the evolution of a great nation. They discover the values that are important to us as a country. Travelers see what and they see who we value as a society.
Through the sculptures placed throughout the city, viewers see our founding fathers and learn about the Constitution and the heroes of the Revolutionary War.
Sightseers ascend the stairway to the Lincoln Memorial and experience the sheer awe of President Lincoln’s conviction for a unified nation.
Travelers journey through the bread lines and war times alongside President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and they feel the pain of lives lost in Vietnam.
They hear Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream for equality and feel his dedication to civil rights.
In this visual tapestry of our shared American experience, a significant element is missing: women.
It was Albert Einstein who observed women always worry about the things that men forget. Men always worry about the things women remember.
We need to remember that women’s participation in our democracy did not come easily and equality of rights needs to be continually fought for and expanded upon. The work is not done. It is our turn.
We need this figurative monument to keep the vision alive in the continued efforts toward equality. The time has come.
The Every Word We Utter Monument Board and Founders, comprised of women and men, are dedicated to placing a monument that pays tribute to this victory for the American people, a heroic scale monument dedicated to women depicting real women, a monument placed in a prominent location commensurate with the pre-eminent historical and lasting significance that women’s participation in our democracy has had on the United States of America, a commemorative work that will inspire our daughters to aspire to greatness. Thank you very much, and I look forward to the process ahead.
MR. MAY: Thank you.
MS. DEDECKER: Thank you, Chairman May and everyone at the Committee here.
I am an artist. My name is Jane DeDecker. I am an artist in Loveland, Colorado. And I too, am the Founder of the Every Word We Utter Monument.
The time has come to place a tribute to the women whose journey brought them to our nation’s capital where they bravely fought for the women’s right to vote in order to make a more perfect union.
I never imagined I would be here today advocating for the placement of an outdoor monument to represent the achievements of women, but I am inspired by Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s opening words at Seneca Falls.
She had never before spoken in public, but she raised her voice that day to say, “The time has come for the questions of women’s wrongs to be laid before the public. Women alone must do this work for women alone can understand the height, the depth, the length and the breadth of our own denigration.”
We envision a monument that captures the height of the movement. This monument should tell the story of the suffrage movement. From the first call to action to the celebratory ratification, it should encompass the varied voices and work of these strong women, and coalesce into a never-ending cascade of involvement and change that still reverberates today. A height that elevates our democracy and uplifts our consciousness with the power of collaboration.
At its height, celebrating the accomplishments of women and constitutional change. A height that reflects the lasting impact of the largest expansion of citizenship in the United States.
We envision a monument that captures the depth of the movement, a monument that reveals the depth of devotion that the suffragists gave to the cause for equality and liberty, a tribute to the depth and strength of character of women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth.
Stanton and Anthony brought to Congress the first legislation for women’s citizenship. Anthony, at the age of 88, never having voted, delivered her final speech to Congress and said, “Failure is impossible.”
Sojourner Truth, a guiding light for the movement, was among the first voices of the suffragists. Sojourner met Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C. in 1864, where she advocated for education and affordable housing for the newly freed American African Americans.
These three women represent all women who dedicated their lives and fought for equality. Sadly, these women did not live long enough to have the opportunity to cast their vote.
These three women paved the way and inspired the next generation of activists whose efforts led to the passage of the 19th Amendment, women such as Harriet Stanton Blatch, Alice Paul and Ida B. Wells.
Blatch absorbed her mother’s words and continued to fight all the way to the ballot box. Alice Paul re-energized the National Women’s Party and organized a women’s suffrage parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in 1913.
Ida B. Wells was a towering activist organizing the National Association of Colored Women here in D.C., whose motto was and still is “Lifting as we climb.”
These women and so many others offer us the courage and the tools to be stewards of human rights. We envision a monument that captures the length of the movement. A sculptural narrative is needed that acknowledges the long road to ratification from the Declaration of Sentiments to the drafting of the 19th Amendment and to its eventual celebration and victory.
We envision a monument that captures the breadth of the movement, an educational proclamation that projects into the future and urges positive social change in generations to come, a monument that speaks to the power of words and deeds or, as Stanton’s letter to Lucretia Mott, “Every word we utter, every act we perform waft into innumerable circles beyond.”
The eventual impact of any commemorative work is dependent on the memorial site and design. A heroic monument to the 19th Amendment needs to be placed at a site that is prominent, accessible and visible with historical linkage to the capital, celebrating the idea that shared visions and sustained efforts can bring about monumental change.
We hope the site and the sculpture become a monument dedicated to the power of collaboration and unity; a site for contemplation and conversation; a site for education and inspiration; a site for introspection and demonstration that is equal to the pre-eminent historical and lasting significance of the Women’s Suffrage Movement and has had on the United States of America.
The time has come to fill in the missing stories of the women who helped build our country. We need a sculptural tribute that captures the height, the depth, the length and the breadth of the women’s movement. Thank you for your time today.
MR. MAY: Thank you very much. Now do members of the Commission have any questions for the trio of presenters? I guess not. Thank you very much.
So next I’d like to invite Rebecca Kleefisch, Executive Director the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission to testify.
MS. KLEEFISCH: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission. My name is Rebecca Kleefisch, and I’m the Executive Director of the small federal agency created by Congress in order to ensure a proper commemoration of the 100th anniversary of my personal favorite amendment, the 19th, which is approaching on August 26th, 2020.
And I think it is a moment of reflection for all Americans, to think that women have only had the right to vote for 100 years. From 2019 through 2020, the U.S. will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and women’s right to vote.
And the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission urges the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission to commemorate the historic centennial by supporting H.R. 473 and S. 1705 in the building of the first monument and outdoor statue in our nation’s capital to honor the brave suffragists who never gave up the fight for equality.
As you’ve heard, suffragists began their organized fight for women’s enfranchisement in 1848, when they demanded the right to vote during the first-ever Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York.
For the next 72 years, an estimated 5 million women lobbied, marched, picketed, protested for the right to the ballot. When the 19th amendment was fully ratified into the U.S. Constitution in 1920, 27 million American women were granted the access to the ballot, marking the single largest expansion of voting rights in the United States’ history.
Today, more than 68 million women vote in elections because of the men and the women who waged and won the right for the vote.
We believe that the Every Word We Utter Monument is going to be the perfect tribute to the legacy of the suffragists. Today, fewer than 8 percent of all memorials in the United States actually honor women.
There is no national memorial right now commemorating the Suffrage Movement. The Every Word We Utter Monument, which features suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriot Stanton Blatch, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Alice Paul and Ida B. Wells, tells the story of American democracy, of an unprecedented movement for change and the diversity of thought and action so often forgotten in the history of America.
Through this vital public art which will come at no cost to the taxpayer, which — I did not lose my place in my script here — will come at no cost to the taxpayer, we have the opportunity to share the story of the 19th Amendment and ensure the legacy of the suffragists is remembered and celebrated for the next 100 years.
The Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission believes that in establishing the Every Word We Utter Monument in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Congress and the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission will take a vital step toward commemorating the history of the 19th Amendment and educating future generations of learners and change-makers about the power of civic engagement.
I’ll leave you with the words of one of the leaders of the Suffrage Movement, Alice Paul, who we think said it best. “I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction. Most reforms, most problems, are complicated. But to me, there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.”
On behalf of the brave women who committed their lives to that ordinary equality and in pursuit of the ordinary equality of women’s representation in public art, we urge your support of the building of the Every Word We Utter Monument in Washington, D.C.
We thank you for your time and your consideration today.
MR. MAY: Thank you very much, Ms. Kleefisch. Do we have any questions? No? No questions? Okay.
So we have come to the end of the speakers who we knew about in advance, but we always offer the audience the opportunity to testify. So if anyone else is here to testify regarding this legislation, please step up to the microphone or at least raise your hand so I know — I’m not seeing any hands raised, so I will conclude that there are no further speakers.
So thank you all very much. Mr. Wilson, now’s the time to turn to you. Are there any comments you’d like to make on behalf of the Advisory Council?
MR. WILSON: No comments.
MR. MAY: Okay, thank you very much. Okay, so now we will turn to our own discussion of the bill. I won’t recap things that have been said earlier, but I will note that the Department of Interior has already provided testimony on the bill in the House and in Senate and recommended the bill be deferred until the Every Word We Utter Monument Foundation receives its 501(c)(3) status.
The Commemorative Works Act requires that sponsors have that status, and I know that is in process but it hasn’t been secured yet. The testimony from the Department also indicated concerns regarding the findings in the bill. I think those were mentioned earlier, and I won’t go into those in any — I don’t need to repeat that again since it’s already been struck from the House bill, and my fellow commissioners are well aware of those concerns with regard to the consistency with the Commemorative Works Act.
And, let’s see, so now I would — I’d like to turn things over to the Commissions for discussion.
Before I do that, I want to make one observation which is that, you know, when we undertake consideration of new memorial proposals we often look back into the past and what has been done. And there is not really a very direct parallel between this and any prior memorial proposals.
There is something of a parallel to legislation, to a memorial that was proposed to specific legislation, which this Commission did not consider favorably. But I think, in this circumstance, an amendment to the Constitution, particularly one as momentous as this, is in a different class of legislative action.
MS. WRIGHT: Which one was that?
MR. MAY: That was the Fair housing Act Memorial.
MS. WRIGHT: Oh.
MR. LUEBKE: Peace Corps could possibly be —
MR. MAY: Well and they’re — I’m not trying to recount every possible parallel. There are many in our — we all have in our head.
I do want to make one other comment about this which is that the specific language for the commemorations says that it would commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment. But I think that the — there is one finding, which I haven’t seen the revised version of the House bill, but I assume it’s still in place. But it indicates that — it refers to the seven-decade effort to pass the memorial.
And I think this is another way in which this proposal is different from something as simple as the Fair Housing Act Memorial proposal because it’s really about a movement and not just about a specific legislative action, even though it was undertaken in such an important way as an amendment to the Constitution.
So those are just a couple of opening comments that I had. And I’d be very happy to turn things over to any commissioner who would like to speak.
MS. WRIGHT: Can I ask a question?
MR. MAY: Please.
MS. WRIGHT: So the Findings Section of the bill —
MR. MAY: Yeah.
MS. WRIGHT: — has been removed —
MR. MAY: Right.
MS. WRIGHT: — while the — while they get 501(c)(3) status. Correct?
MR. MAY: No. No, no. What happened with the House’s action and markup was to strike Findings, let’s see, Section 1 — 1, 2. Sorry, Section 1, 2(a). So that’s the findings that specify, that are specific about the recommendation of the artwork and the location. MS. WRIGHT: Right.
MR. MAY: So it’s Findings 2(a) — MS. WRIGHT: So the —
MR. MAY: And 2(b).
MS. WRIGHT: So the findings were taken out not because of the 501(c)(3) —
MR. MAY: Correct.
MS. WRIGHT: — but because they ran afoul of the CWA. All right. So they have a —
MR. MAY: That’s my understanding, yes.
MS. WRIGHT: — that conversation’s already taken place.
MR. MAY: In the House version, yes.
Ms. WRIGHT: Okay. Well, I’ll just keep going.
MR. MAY: Good.
MS. WRIGHT: Because that — I’m sure glad I got here, to be the only woman on the Commission. I — that’s — who can argue with the reasons for it? I hope no one at the table will.
But I have — you’ve — all the witnesses said, several times, about the breadth, the depth, the length and the width of the movement. And I think that’s a really important thing to emphasize, as you did.
But I have to say, at first glance, it feels incompatible with the artistic vision that is emerging. And I think taking out the Findings Section is a good thing not just — I mean this — not for bureaucratic process making or process adherence but rather because the artistic goals, even in those four little words, are really huge. And I don’t know that they can be accomplished with a Pre-decisional bent towards a representational sculpture. I know you’ve thought long and hard about this already, but I would urge you to be open to the ideas of your bringing this forward.
And it should benefit from the breadth and length and width of others who have considered this for the last hundred years as well. And so the CWA is flawed. Mr. May hears me say this all the time. But —
MR. MAY: In my —
MS. WRIGHT: — one of the things that I think it does very well is — because virtually everyone who comes here — you’ve got to be some kind of crazy to undertake one of these memorials because I don’t know if you realize it yet, but you’ll be at this for longer than you could possibly imagine.
And the — and not for the sake of bureaucracy, is this an important idea that the CWA gets right. Because you — without this careful pre-consideration, you can end up with a plot piece that doesn’t relate to its setting, that doesn’t make sense where it’s located, that nobody cares about, that ends up stashed someplace in the context of the city that doesn’t do, that doesn’t take all of these things that you have envisioned for your memorial into account.
So I would urge you to keep on keeping on. And don’t be discouraged by the process. This part of it really is important and you’ll benefit from people who have — are a lot smarter than I am and have been thinking about this for a long time and be open to it.
MR. MAY: So would any other commissioners like to speak or has Ms. Wright said it all? I didn’t mean to tee that up, to silence everybody.
MS. WRIGHT: It’s a challenge.
MR. SHERMAN: I concur with —
MR. MAY: Yeah, Mr. Sherman’s going to —
MR. SHERMAN: — Ms. Wright’s comments. I would say the NCPC staff enthusiastically supports the intent of this commemorative work.
We note that this memorial represents an opportunity, really, to expand the memorial landscape. It’s something we’ve been advocating for as a Commission for years since we produced our Memorial Trends report a few years ago. And I would like to personally say that, note that Ida Wells, celebrated author and member of NAACP, also was an author and articulated the anti-lynching, has a anti-lynching campaign.
She’s also one of the early members of a sorority called Delta Sigma Theta, one of the largest AfricanAmerican sororities in the country. Also my wife and daughter are members of this sorority. And they made sure I said that I am — my wife is a member of the League of Women Voters.
And so I say all that to say that we really look forward to how this memorial will evolve. Having said that, and sort of consistent with the early comments, we’d like to see a national discussion and really be open to a lot of people’s thinking on this.
This memorial represents others beyond just the key leaders. I mean, this — the 19th is a pretty big deal. It’s just as big the 14th, 15th Amendment. And we would urge that you take this year to really expand the design process and thinking process and open it up so others can weigh in on the design and site location and have a national dialogue on this.
We believe that this design deserves its own deliberate process. And it can manifest itself from national discussion that really raises a visibility and dialogue on 19th Amendment. Really, just be open to the process. Thank you.
MR. LUEBKE: All right, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I’m going to preface my comments by saying that I am whole-heartedly in favor of this enterprise, this commemorative undertaking.
And it’s sort of hard to — I think I agree with the speaker that it’s hard to imagine it hasn’t happened already. And it’s conspicuous lack in our commemorative landscape and national narrative that we don’t have this. So —
MS. WRIGHT: I’d say Me Too, but that would be a little —
MR. LUEBKE: Yeah, I could say Me Too because I’m hanging everything on your comments.
I have a couple of sort of, little bit technical questions. The first really goes to the question of purpose, and this ties into what Chairman May talked about.
Are we commemorating the passage of a piece of legislation on a specific day? Or are we actually talking about equality for women in this Democracy?
Or are we — you know, or is it suffrage generally? I think that there’s actually a — you know, there’s sort of different — specifically you can be broad. And that, I don’t know if this is an issue, Mr. Chairman, in terms of the interpretation of this proposal, vis-a-vis the Commemorative Works Act.
But my inclination is to be a little bit broader than possible as opposed to specific. I would rather personally — and again, in the end, you know, this is — I said it’s completely supportable and it’s kind of difficult — it’s hard to imagine being against it.
But I think a broader topic, such as equality for women or Women’s Suffrage is actually something that can be fine-tuned. Now having said that, there’s specificity in the proposed legislation that gets into these procedural issues, which I would love to see broadened.
For example, it talks about the memorial being a statute. Where —
MS. WRIGHT: But that’s gone.
MR. LUEBKE: But the — no, it still refers to a statue.
MS. WRIGHT: I thought that was the Findings Section.
MR. MAY: Yes, it’s in the Findings Section.
MR. LUEBKE: Oh, did — there is — is the word —
MS. WRIGHT: Yes, that’s been —
MR. LUEBKE: It just says memorial now?
MR. MAY: Well —
MR. LUEBKE: Is it my — I thought I saw it.
MR. MAY: No, I’m sorry. Tell me where you’re reading from.
MR. LUEBKE: Well, you know, I’m reading fast.
MR. MAY: Yeah.
MR. LUEBKE: I thought that I saw the word statue.
MS. WRIGHT: It was in there.
MR. LUEBKE: Okay.
MS. WRIGHT: That was very prescriptive about location, the figurative element and all that stuff. And that’s what —
MR. MAY: Okay, the authorization language is —
MS. WRIGHT: That’s what I was talking about, like don’t go there.
MR. MAY: Okay.
MR. LUEBKE: All right.
MS. WRIGHT: And have it all fixed.
MR. LUEBKE: I stand corrected on that.
MR. MAY: Yeah, the authorization language specifically states —
MR. LUEBKE: Okay.
MR. MAY: — commemorative work.
MR. LUEBKE: Okay, that’s fine.
MR. MAY: But they were, the findings were more prescriptive about the statue.
MR. LUEBKE: I’m sorry, I confused those. All right, the other question is is it normal — again, I think it’s probably a great idea, but then the question is the preferred site.
Is that a normal thing, to hone in on a site? No, seriously, with the Belmont-Paul National Monument?
MR. MAY: No, and again, that finding was —
MR. LUEBKE: Okay.
MR. MAY: — struck.
MR. LUEBKE: I must be with an older — I’m sorry then. I’ve got an older version.
MR. MAY: No, no, no. The new version had not been printed.
MR. LUEBKE: Got it.
MR. MAY: So that’s why I was noting, at the beginning, those findings had been struck.
MR. LUEBKE: No, I said supported that idea.
MR. TURNBULL: Now does that start with Section 2?
MR. MAY: All right, so on Page 2 of the legislation, where it says in Finding Number 2, such a monument should include.
MR. TURNBULL: There we go.
MR. MAY: So 2(ab) and (b) have been struck, as far as I understand it.
MR. LUEBKE: Thank you.
MR. MAY: And again, I haven’t seen the final version of it, but that’s my understanding.
MR. LUEBKE: And 3 as well?
MR. MAY: I’m sorry, and 3.
MR. LUEBKE: Okay.
MR. TURNBULL: Is 1 still in there? So I guess my —
MR. MAY: I’m not sure about 1. But I think that that goes to the issue that you were pointing out about the broader purpose of the commemoration.
And, I mean, I think that one of the things that we could say at this moment is that we recognize Finding Number 1 and the authorization kind of together and that, in fact, it may be preferable for the authorization to be explicit about recognizing the seven-decade effort to pass the 19th Amendment and not just the culminating act.
MR. TURNBULL: Okay. So the location thing is gone now?
MR. MAY: The location thing is gone.
MR. LUEBKE: So finally, where this leads me, and this, I really apologize if anybody feels taken aback by what I’m going to say.
This is a terribly important thing for us nationally, to see this happen. Again, in the spirit of making this as broad and understandable to the widest number of people possible, I would really ask you to reconsider the title because I think that the name, Every Word We Utter, is a little bit like insider baseball.
I understand it probably came out of a branding effort, but it doesn’t mean much to any of us. I have never heard this before.
And I’m in on this stuff I — you know, I find it to be very esoteric and doesn’t actually explain anything about the purpose of the memorial.
And I think it would be we’d be really wise to think about this in the lens of history. Think about it in a hundred years. It’s a little — it’s a catch thing that was taken out of context in a letter.
It’s important — maybe you use that as an inscription somewhere, I don’t believe it is worthy as title for a national commemorative work.
I would rather see it say, the National Monument to Equality of Women or the National Women’s Suffrage Memorial or something that actually keys it to what it really is. I think it’s — I just would urge you to reconsider that.
Again, I’m completely in favor of this thing going forward. I just wanted to get that on the record. I think you’d be doing yourselves a favor.
MR. MAY: I think that’s an important point because one of things that we have been sticklers about the past is hewing closely to the title of the commemorative work as it has been designated by the Congress, sometimes to the chagrin of the sponsors who’ve shifted their perception on what was originally authorized and want to take out words or add words like the National and so on.
So I think that’s a very important point.
MS. WRIGHT: I do too.
MR. LUEBKE: It would be —
MS. WRIGHT: Imagine it on a map. I mean, it — I don’t think it’s easily recognizable.
MR. LUEBKE: It would also require somebody to explain it.
MS. WRIGHT: Yeah.
MR. LUEBKE: And that’s not where you want to be. You’d like people to know it at a glance.
MR. MAY: Yeah. Okay. Thank you.
MR. TURNBULL: Mr. Chair?
MR. MAY: Yeah?
MR. TURNBULL: I am totally in favor of the concept, whatever that concept finally gets to be determined. I mean, whether it’s equality for women, I struggle with one part on the Act here that it talks about, to commemorate the passage of the 19th Amendment. That seems very definitive.
On Page 1, when it talks about the seven-decade effort, that seems to be the struggle. That seems to be a truly heroic effort that had to be done to get to that 19th Amendment.
So, to me, that’s monumental for me. That’s a big impetus that women went through and were — felt the pressure of their husbands and every other male coming against them.
So I think that, to me, is a very serious effort. I mean, the 19th Amendment is the culmination of that, right, but the equality — so I don’t — you’re right. I think we’re struggling with how to put this together in a package that really makes it really more emphatic to everybody.
I mean, really hits home with the story of what this really means. But I am a hundred percent with the effort that’s going on and would support it, again, a hundred percent. But I just think we need to pull it together a bit more.
MR. MAY: Okay. Very good. Thank you.
MR. MALONEY: Mr. Chairman, I think very little needs to be said at this point. As speaking for the District of Columbia, we certainly would be enthusiastically in support of this memorial. And I would associate us with the comments of everyone on the Commission.
I think the points are very well taken and I certainly would agree that the focus of the memorial needs to be not on a piece of legislation or a constitutional amendment but certainly the effort that caused that to come about and the focus on the suffragist movement and the extraordinary efforts of the women who made that come about.
MR. MAY: Thank you very much. Mr. Ahmed?
MR. AHMED: Mr. Chairman, we, from Department of Defense, we agree with the concept also, the memorial is, I think it’s symbolic. It is required. But I agree with the comment about changing the title or relooking at that so that everyone could understand much easily.
I think, because when I was reading it, just trying to prepare for the meeting itself, I looked at. Then I have to start to go through the details and try to find out, okay, what does that mean.
So I think for any common person to just know right away what that is, I think that would be helpful. Thanks.
MR. MAY: Okay, thank you very much. So to summarize, I think that the sense I’m getting from the commissioners is that there is overwhelming support for the purpose of the legislation to commemorate women’s equality and the Suffrage Movement and the passage of the 19th Amendment.
But a recommendation that the broader nature of that, of this commemoration which should be acknowledged. It’s there in the findings when you add the findings to the authorization, but perhaps the language should be stronger to connect both of those in the authorization.
And then the second would be a recommendation that the title of the commemorative work altered to recognize that —
MS. WRIGHT: The breadth with the length and the depth.
MR. MAY: Thank you. Exactly that. The broader purpose, as it were. Anyway, that — I mean, I think that that’s — that captures pretty much what we’ve talked about today.
And I think I would entertain a motion to that effect, that we capture it a different way.
MR. LUEBKE: Just to clarify, are any other technical issues that relate to the Commemorative Works Act —
MR. MAY: No.
MR. LUEBKE: — particularly you find needed other —
MR. MAY: No, I mean, this — all of the normal language that we require regarding naming the sponsor and the handling of funds and so on are all handle appropriately in the legislation.
So, all right. So I would ask for a motion to —
MS. WRIGHT: So moved.
MR. MAY: And a second?
MR. SHERMAN: Second.
MR. MAY: All those in favor, aye.
(Chorus of aye.)
MR. MAY: Okay, so we will put that into a letter to the committees and to the sponsors as quickly as possible because we know this is moving. And if there’s an opportunity to tweak the legislation, as we’ve recommended, I think it has to happen very quickly. So we will work on that.
Okay. Thank you very much. We’ll move on to our next item.
MS. WRIGHT: Eat your Wheaties. It’s going to be a long process, but it always is.
MR. MAY: It works out. It’s okay. Okay. Thank you very much.