A Jamestown settler, one of only two women who arrived on the first boat. An enslaved woman who bought her own freedom. A Native American chief. These women, among others, will be honored in a new monument at Virginia’s capitol.
State leaders broke ground on the monument Monday. It’s a tribute to women and will include statues of 12 leaders, scattered throughout a new plaza. A curved glass wall will note hundreds of others who contributed to Virginia history.
Governor Terry McAuliffe says it will be the first monument of its kind at a state capitol.
“At a very difficult time that we have in our nation today as we hear about different issues as it relates to women, I think it’s appropriate that we here in Virginia are leading the way once again,” said the Governor.
Mary Margaret Whipple, co-chair of the Virginia Women’s Monument Commission, also spoke at the groundbreaking.
“I’m proud to look out into this crowd and see young girls who will grow up knowing that Virginia values and honors their contributions,” she said.
Zaria Milligan, who wants to be a writer when she grows up, was one of those girls in the crowd.
“It’s important because it stands for women who did really great things,” said Milligan, who was excited to participate.
Virginia’s Secretary of Administration Nancy Rodriguez has been a leader in planning the new monument. She had her 2-year old granddaughter at the groundbreaking, equipped with her very own tiny shovel.
“Knowing that one day she’ll look back at her shovel as well as the photographs and truly be inspired by what we’re doing here today,” Rodriguez said.
Construction will take a couple of years. The monument is being funded through private donations.