On November 14, International President Mary Ellen Brock spoke at the groundbreaking of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial in NOVA Park’s Occoquan Regional Park. The memorial, slated to be completed August 2020, will honor the brave women whose courage and commitment led to the passing of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. President Brock was invited to be an honored guest speaker by the Chairman of the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, Patricia Wirth. In her remarks, President Brock addressed the history of the suffragist movement and how GFWC played a role in securing women’s right to vote. President Brock encouraged the audience to be proactive and never forget what these women have done. She stated: “Let us never forget how they fought, how they suffered, and how they persevered. Let us always remember to honor who they were. Let us always rejoice what they accomplished. Let us always be thankful for the gift that they gave us. Let us never forget and always remember to pay tribute to them and vote.”
President Brock was accompanied by a host of influential guest speakers; including Dr. Thelma Daley 16th President, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; Virginia Kase, CEO, League of Women Voters U.S.; Lidia Soto-Harmon; CEO, Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital; and Collen Shogan, Vice Chair, Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission; Assistant Deputy Liberian for Collections and Services, Library of Congress. GFWC Executive Committee joining President Brock at the groundbreaking event were President-elect Marian St.Clair, First Vice President Deb Strahnoski, Second Vice President Suellen Brazil, Secretary Wendy Carriker, Treasurer Jolie Frankfurth, Director of Junior Clubs Trisha Schafer, and Parliamentarian Dean J. Meloro, RP. Also attending were Special Assistant to the President Linda Babeuf, Resolution Committee Member Mary Powell, and GFWC Florida Director of Junior Clubs Shannon Bailey.
The site selected for the Memorial is where suffragists were imprisoned and kept in inhumane conditions after organizing the famous 1917 march on Washington and protest in front of the White House. Once suffragists were arrested, they were taken to the Occoquan work house. This work house will be dedicated as the Suffragist Memorial, and the Plaza Rotunda will feature a statue of GFWC clubwoman Carrie Chapman Catt.