December 03, 2020

Neguse Legislation to Authorize Women’s Suffrage Monument Passes the Senate, Heads to the President’s Desk

Washington D.C.—Today, Congressman Joe Neguse’s bipartisan legislation to create Washington, D.C’s first outdoor monument honoring the women’s suffrage movement passed out of the U.S. Senate, clearing it’s final hurdle before heading to the President’s desk for signature. The President has previously expressed support for the legislation and his intention to sign it into law.  

H.R. 473, introduced by Congressman Neguse in January 2019, passed out of the House of Representatives in February of this year. With only a few weeks left in the 116th Congress, Congressman Neguse sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Monday urging the Senate to vote on the bill before the end of the year. 

“I’m thrilled to see the U.S. Senate pass our bipartisan legislation today to authorize installation of the first outdoor monument honoring the women’s suffrage movement,” said Congressman Neguse. “This effort has been locally-led from the start, when the idea for a suffrage statue was brought to our office from constituents in Loveland. It is a prime example of what we can accomplish when Colorado’s ingenuity and passion are put to work. With the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment and women’s suffrage upon us, the celebration and commemoration of the long-fought victories of American Suffragists is incredibly timely. The monument will be a special site for future generations to visit from all across the country. I urge the President to sign the bill into law, so the next phase of this project can begin.”

“Over the past two years, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission has been tasked with ensuring the story of American women’s fight for the vote is shared and commemorated nationwide. With the passage of this legislation by the Senate, we are one step closer to setting this history in stone for all visitors to our nation’s capital to discover and explore,” said Anna Laymon, Executive Director of the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. “We look forward to the president signing this legislation, and we are honored by the bipartisan and bicameral support for this historic piece of public art. By working together, Congress has ensured that all Americans will be inspired by the radical women who waged and won the battle for the ballot. As we close out the commemoration of 100 years of the 19th Amendment, nothing could be more important than honoring the legacy of the suffragists, telling their stories, and educating future generations of American changemakers.”

This legislation authorizes the Every Word We Utter Monument Board, located in Loveland, Colorado, to select and install the historic monument. The board aims to install a statue created by renowned sculptor Jane DeDecker entitled “Every Word We Utter.” 

“We are thrilled to see this bipartisan effort move forward in this critical way, and are so appreciative of Rep. Neguse and Colorado’s senators for standing behind this project from the very beginning,” said Jody Shadduck McNally, President of the Every Word We Utter Monument Board. “At no cost to the taxpayer, today we made strides in commemorating the women who led our nation to greater equality. There is no better way to ring in the centennial of women’s suffrage than with this kind of public memorial, which will create ripples of inspiration for every generation to come”

“This is a victory for women, for history and commemoration in our nation, and for all those in the future who will get to look at this monument, placed in the heart of our democracy, and see themselves reflected,” said Jane Dedecker, the Loveland sculptor who conceptualized the Every Word We Utter monument. “Each of the women depicted in the Every Word We Utter design brought something unique and irreplaceable to the fight for women’s suffrage. From Sojourner Truth who threw off the shackles of slavery, fled to freedom in the North, and proclaimed to her sisters in suffrage the humanity of women of color, to Alice Paul who brought women out of the home and into the streets to protest for national change, and every woman in between, this statue epitomizes the very tenants of not just the suffrage movement, but our nation’s whole founding: freedom, peaceful protest, and millions of voices coming together as one to create change.” 

Background

Congressman Joe Neguse introduced H.R. 473 in January 2019 after constituents in Loveland, Colorado proposed the idea of installing the first outdoor women’s suffrage monument in Washington D.C. The bill would authorize the Every Word We Utter Board, located in Loveland, Colorado, to select the design of and install the historic monument. The board aims to install a statue created by local sculptor Jane DeDecker called “Every Word We Utter,” which depicts Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Stanton Blatch, Alice Paul and Ida B. Wells. It’s title comes from a letter Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote to Lucretia Mott in which she said of the power of words and deeds: “Every word we utter, every act we perform, waft unto innumerable circles beyond.” 

This legislation gained swift momentum in the House. The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the bill on May 22nd, 2019 and sent the measure to the House floor on September 19th, 2019. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives with unanimous support on February 22, 2020. Senator Michael Bennet and Senator Cory Gardner are sponsors of the companion measure in the Senate.