LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4)– Up near the rafters of her Loveland studio, Jane DeDecker carefully shapes clay into faces of those who shaped history. “There’s Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells, Sojourner Truth,” the sculptor said, naming some of the six women in the piece.
Standing 21 feet tall, and eventually 24 feet wide, the larger-than-life sculpture called “Every Word We Utter” honors the many women who fought for equal rights.
“They paved the way for us women today and women in the future,” DeDecker told CBS4. “I think we forget that 100 years ago we didn’t have the right to vote.”
In the same week of the 100th anniversary of the House passing the 19th Amendment, DeDecker’s handcrafted creation took a pivotal step toward becoming a national monument.
“This is incredibly important,” she said.
At a U.S. House Natural Resources Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, DeDecker sat quietly, listening to Colorado Congressman Joe Neguse recommend her sculpture become a beautiful way to represent and empower women of all ages.
“Establishing this statue, in my view,” Neguse said, “is certainly a critical way that we can do just that and inspire the next generation to continue advocating for equality for one another and all that will follow them.”
Neguse introduced HR-473 earlier this year, a bill that would authorize the establishment on federal land in the District of Columbia of the Every Word We Utter Monument in commemoration of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
“This bill has strong bipartisan support from the entire delegation of Colorado,” Neguse said in the committee hearing. “This sculpture can be donated to the National Parks Service. This bill simply authorizes the private donation [and] stipulates that it will not cost anything to the federal government.”
With the approval of the House and Senate, along with the president’s signature, Every Word We Utter could be placed near the Supreme Court. It would become the first outdoor monument in Washington, D.C. to honor the women’s suffrage movement.
“This really needs to happen,” DeDecker said. “It’s long past due that these women have been even acknowledged for what they’ve done for democracy.”
DeDecker added it is her hope her work will become a monument in a prominent location by the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment in August 2020.