Opening Event For Voices Of Resilience: Inclusive Exhibit Of “Hidden Figures” Inspires Event Speakers

Opening Event for Voices of Resilience: Inclusive Exhibit of “Hidden Figures” Inspires Event Speakers

Opening Ceremony
Voices of Resilience: The Intersection of Women on the Move
February 15, 11am
D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts

The Springfield Museums will hold opening ceremonies for the new exhibit Voices of Resilience: The Intersection of Women on the Move, February 15, 11 am to noon, with guest curator Janine Fondon, Bay Path Assistant Professor and Chair of Undergraduate Communication and the project scholars; Dr. Demetria Shabazz; and Dr. Lucie K. Lewis. Voices of Resilience, which is open through April 26, celebrates the intersecting lives of women in Massachusetts and beyond who have changed the course of history.

“In this year when we commemorate the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution granting women the right to vote, it is important to reflect on how African-American women and other women have stepped up to shape our civic culture and political imaginary over time,” Shabazz said. “From Elizabeth ‘Mum Bett’ Freeman to Dr. Ruth Loving, this exhibition invites us to see women on the move for freedom and justice.”

“It is an honor to be a part of this powerful exhibit,” Lewis said. “Remembering the shoulders on which we stand and discovering the spirit that guided their journey emboldens each of us to embrace the work that remains yet to be done.”

Ceremonies begin at 11 am in the Blake Court of the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts. Local and national guest speakers include actress Laiona Michelle; Freedom Rider Jean Denton Thompson; Gentle Deer Running; poet Maria Luisa Arroyo; Denise Jordan; Cynthia Simison; reenactor Maria Furlow; Mother Carrie Roberson; and scholar Dr. Demetria Shabazz. The events include a salute to LuJuanna Hood, the founder and executive director of the Pan African Historical Museum USA, who died in 2019.

Tours of the exhibit led by Fondon will follow the opening ceremony.

ABOUT THE EXHIBIT

Through highlights of diverse “hidden figures” and narratives, this exhibition explores the collaborative and interconnected stories of social, educational, and cultural change as defined by women, women of color, and others on the move to a more inclusive and just world.

The February event acknowledges the seventy+ women featured in the exhibit which coincides with the 200th birthday of Susan B. Anthony, a pioneer of the women’s suffrage movement. In 1848, Anthony helped spearhead the Seneca Falls Convention where historic dividing lines gave rise to many of the voices in the exhibit.

The Springfield Museums partnered with Fondon as a natural progression in their ongoing mission to make the museums relevant to all. “Bringing light to the many hidden histories of women who fought for change helps us all understand a more complete narrative of American history. The Museums value exploring these stories,” said Kay Simpson, President and CEO of the Springfield Museums.

Visitors to the exhibit will see an inclusive timeline of women’s diverse history unfold with highlights and photos that provide new context to our knowledge about both women’s rights and civil rights. “The exhibit shares personal stories that matter,” said Fondon. She and other local women share the stories of their lineage. Fondon highlights her grandmother who came via Ellis Island as well as the stories of more than seventy women in the area and beyond who are making change in a complex world. “This exhibit stands on the shoulders of our ancestors as we all walk into the future with the hope of collective change,” adds Fondon.

Exhibition scholars Dr. Shabazz and Dr. Lewis worked with Fondon, Springfield Museums Acting Curator of Art Maggie North, Springfield Museums Curator of Library and Archives Maggie Humberston, and Power of Women editors Wayne Phaneuf and Joe Carvalho and others to complete the exhibit highlights.

The exhibit includes an interactive “story board” for visitors to share their own stories and stories that should be included in the storytelling surrounding this exhibit.

About Janine Fondon

Janine Fondon is Assistant Professor and Chair of Undergraduate Communications at Bay Path University. Fondon has worked to advance diversity, inclusion, and cross-cultural communication in corporations, communities, and educational institutions. Her work on diversity councils, boards of directors, leadership teams, and community projects has helped raise unheard voices, establish inclusive practices, and highlight history. She is proud of her community related projects such the “On the Move Forum to Advance Women” and her work with  husband Tom and daughter Nikai on  www.UnityFirst.com, a site that shares news, events and stories relating to diversity and inclusion.