Margaret Sánchez turned off her TV for two days following the National Women’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. She wanted time to “absorb the hope.”
I can’t imagine a higher compliment for the National Women’s Hall of Fame and its mission. At our core, we exist to inspire hope for a brighter future and better tomorrows. The stories of our Inductees make this work possible.
The nine women we honored last month comprised our most diverse class of women to date, with accomplishments that span the sciences, public service, business, athletics and more. While they are wildly different in terms of their life’s work, several key characteristics unite them:
Grit. Determination. Strength.
In fact, these qualities permeate the stories of every one of our 302 Inductees. They overcame barriers. They learned from their set-backs. And they believed in a future they helped create.
If that doesn’t inspire hope, what does?
Induction Weekend featured three full days of events designed to engage the Inductees, the Seneca Falls community, and the nation. This level of activity may send a message that the Hall’s staff is a passionate, hard-working team that is big enough to seamlessly pull off three days of festivities while maintaining year-round programming, museum operations, and community events.
No question, this team is a passionate and hard-working one. Induction Weekend involved six venues, engaging 2,000 people in person and 5,000 people online. Our 2022 virtual and in-person programming reached more than 35,000 individuals across the nation. At our home in Seneca Falls, we recently broke ground to begin the next phase of work that will expand exhibit and gathering spaces for all who make the pilgrimage to the birthplace of the women’s rights movement.
But make no mistake: we are not big. We are a small team with big hearts and hopes for the future of the National Women’s Hall of Fame.
I have never worked with a group of individuals who are more vivacious, more caring, and more committed to a mission than the Hall’s staff. I could not write a blog talking about Induction Weekend without honoring their work: Natalie, Kate, Taytum, Beth, Colin, Gabrielle, and Terry: you redefined “success.” You brought inspiration and hope into the Smith Opera House – and in fact, into thousands of houses and classrooms across the globe. Thank you.
And of course, we could never do this work alone. Hundreds of volunteers and donors join us in the celebration and amplification of women’s experiences. Donations keep our programs free and open to all, allowing the stories of our Inductees to inspire people from Puerto Rico to Portland.
For many in our nation, these past few years have been especially difficult. The National Women’s Hall of Fame can provide hope, a sentiment that Margaret Sánchez echoed in her post-Induction message:
“Thank you for providing such ‘inspiration’ at a time when what I loved about being born and living in America was our democracy and freedom is now in jeopardy.”
It’s easy to talk about preserving history and women’s stories. It takes community and commitment to make it happen. The National Women’s Hall of Fame exists for all of us and especially for those who will one day stand on the shoulders of the great women we honor.
Thank you for being a part of a national movement to ensure that women’s voices and stories forever have a home of their own. Together, we are providing hope for all generations.