Girls seek­ing statue of woman for Cen­tral Park

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Ver­ena Dob­nik

A Cen­tral Park mon­u­ment to El­iz­a­beth Cady Stan­ton and Su­san B. An­thony is be­ing sought by ac­tivists.

NEW YORK (AP) >> Wan­der through Cen­tral Park past mon­u­ments to fig­ures in­clud­ing Christo­pher Colum­bus, Alexan­der Hamil­ton, William Shake­speare and Sir Wal­ter Scott, and it may sud­denly hit you: Where are the women?

There are none, if you dis­count fic­tional char­ac­ters like Mother Goose and Alice in Won­der­land.

Even a heroic dog has its place amid the park’s 843 acres of green­ery, but every one of the 23 stat­ues or busts of real hu­mans in the park hon­ors a fa­mous man.

Some Girl Scouts are now try­ing to change that. They’ve joined ac­tivists rais­ing money for a park mon­u­ment to two women who rev­o­lu­tion­ized the coun­try: suf­frag­ists El­iz­a­beth Cady Stan­ton and Su­san B. An­thony.

“We’re try­ing to crack the bronze ceil­ing,” dead­pans Pamela Elam, who is spear­head­ing the ef­fort along with Stan­ton’s great­great-grand­daugh­ter, Co­line Jenk­ins.

The aim of the aware­ness and fundrais­ing cam­paign — called Cen­tral Park, Where Are The Women? — is to erect the statue by 2020, the cen­ten­nial of U.S. women’s right to vote. “There are no stat­ues of women, and there’s tons of men,” says Pippa Lee, 10, a scout with Man­hat­tan’s Girl Scout Troop 3484. “We re­ally need a woman’s statue for girls to look up to, not just Mother Goose or Alice in Won­der­land. They don’t count.”

The ef­fort has drawn the sup­port of the Cen­tral Park Con­ser­vancy, a pri­vate non­profit whose mil­lions of dol­lars help beau­tify the ur­ban oa­sis. Parks Com­mis­sioner Mitchell Sil­ver also has given the green light to the suf­frag­ist mon­u­ment, which is to rise by Cen­tral Park West at the 77th Street en­trance.

So far, the non­profit rais­ing pri­vate do­na­tions — the El­iz­a­beth Cady Stan­ton and Su­san B. An­thony Statue Fund Inc. — has col­lected at least $150,000 of about $500,000 needed to cre­ate and main­tain the mon­u­ment. About the same amount would cover land­scap­ing and an ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram.

Across the street, the New-York His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety plans ex­hibits and lec­tures on key roles of women in Amer­i­can so­ci­ety.

On a bright fall Thurs­day, 10 scouts from Troop 3484 joined ac­tivists in the park to make their case. Stori Small, 10, noted that she wants women to be rep­re­sented by “an ac­tual per­son; I don’t want it to be a car­toon char­ac­ter.”

Dur­ing one weekly scout meet­ing in Cen­tral Park, the fifth-graders col­lected $123 from passers-by on a side­walk near the fu­ture statue site, while chant­ing “Where are the women?” Sun­flow­ers graced the girls’ hair, a sym­bol of the suf­frage move­ment that be­gan its march to vic­tory with a con­ven­tion in up­state New York in 1848.

The girls plan to col­lect do­na­tions on Thurs­days through the fall.

For the same cause, stu­dents from Man­hat­tan’s LaGuardia High School are sell­ing bracelets in­scribed with the words “Bring women of his­tory out of the dark and into the park.”

Any artist may sub­mit a mon­u­ment de­sign fol­low­ing cer­tain cri­te­ria, with a hand­ful of fi­nal­ists cre­at­ing mod­els to be dis­played at the New-York His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety. A jury will pick the win­ner some­time next year.

VER­ENA DOB­NIK — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Front row, from left, Girl Scouts Lila Stein­hardt, Sophia Singh and Pippa Lee join back row, from left, statue project or­ga­nizer Pam Elam, Skye Lu­cas and Jackie Hahn of Dwight School and Ariel Deutsch of LaGuardia High School in Cen­tral Park last week to raise money for a mon­u­ment in the park to women.

MARK LENNIHAN — AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A statue of jazz great Duke Elling­ton with a piano is lo­cated at a Cen­tral Park en­trance.

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