July 29 , 2020 I www.ggrwhc.org  I 616-574-7307
Getting Women’s Names into Public Spaces
For much of the past year, the GGRWHC has been working with Kim Van Driel of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and Hannah Berry of Lions and Rabbits on a public art initiative designed to honor historical Grand Rapids women and reclaim overlooked alleyways downtown. Stay tuned for another walking tour!

DGRI Women’s Way art work
Women’s history in alleyways?! The Women’s Way project is as bold as the local women it features. It endeavors to acknowledge women’s complicated history in alleys by reclaiming ownership of these spaces and enhancing them for a positive public purpose.

The W omen’s Way initiative kicks off with four downtown murals featuring Ethel B. Coe, a community activist, musician, actor and civil rights leader; the  Grand Rapids Chicks 1945 All American Baseball Team ; Angeline Naw Kay o say Yob, an educator, community activist and citizen of the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians; and Harriet Woods Hill—but s croll down to meet her and the mural in process!  

Four currently nameless alleyways will be marked with commemorative street signs to honor the highlighted women--an intentional gesture calling attention to the fact that women’s names are rarely assigned to public and private buildings and property. Other improvements, depending upon the spaces, will include furniture for seating, planters, lighting, biographical plaques, and periodic pop-up programming to further energize the space.

The Women's Way Initiative is a collaborative effort by the City of Grand Rapids, the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council, Lions & Rabbits Creative Arts & Events Space, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and several local businesses and institutional partners.

Click here to scroll down and see the women’s actual photographic images .

Harriet Woods Hill mural in process
Chart the progress of local artist  Jasmine Bruce , who has begun painting the mural of  Harriet Woods Hill in the alleyway off Louis Street at the northwest corner of Grand Rapids Police Department headquarters.

In 1955 Harriet Woods Hill became the first African American female officer in the Grand Rapids Police Department. Her career began in the Juvenile Division, and she later trained new recruits about problems faced by children. In 1977, Hill was named the first female detective in the department’s 106-year history. S he had joined the Police Department "to do a job,” she said later, and wouldn't allow anyone's prejudices to force her to quit. “Once the door was opened," she never allowed it to close.  Hill also served as a leader in the NAACP and was actively involved in other community service.

DGRI's Rad American Women A – Z
Back in business! DGRI’s Rad Women Walking Tours offers eight tours between August 2nd and September 20th.
Based on the New York Times bestselling Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz, the DGRI and Lions and Rabbits oversaw the creation in 2019 of 27 works of public art repurposing electrical boxes in downtown Grand Rapids. The spruced-up boxes feature portraits of #RadWomen from Angela Davis to Zora Neale Hurston.
Led by Grand Rapids Running Tours, the FREE events will provide background on each historical woman as well as the Rad Local Artist behind each artwork. All tours meet at Rosa Parks Circle. Start times vary with the date. Registration is not required but strongly encouraged. Register here
During this challenging year, the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council has pivoted to virtual salutes after losing in-person celebrations of the centennial of the 19th Amendment. We have rededicated ourselves to honoring the long and costly battle for the universal right to vote at the same time we pause to reconsider how we will more fully and effectively embrace all of our community’s women’s histories.
Please continue to celebrate with the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council virtually and in print! Watch for us via this electronic newsletter, follow us on Facebook, find our monthly features in  Women’s Lifestyle Magazine , and sign up for our hard-copy newsletter, if you haven’t already – at ggrwhc.org ! Stay tuned, stay safe, and stay exercised!
Stay home and stay safe--but celebrate with us virtually and in print! 
GGRWHC |   www.ggrwhc.org   | 616-574-7307
Hats off to the historical women who have shaped West Michigan!
Please take a moment to forward this message to others you know who may be interested in women's history. If you've received this message as a forward, consider joining our mailing list in order to receive future updates about programming.

Thank you for your interest in preserving and celebrating the history of the many phenomenal women who've helped to shape West Michigan!  If you aren't already a supporter of the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council , consider investing in our work as a volunteer or with an annual donation .  Visit our  website  for more information and the ability to donate online.