Can you name the first black woman who was elected to Calgary’s city council? Did you know that the first blind woman to earn a Doctorate in Musical Arts came from Calgary? If you’re silently shaking your head, worry not because there are many more than haven’t heard about women’s impact on history. At YW Calgary are changing that and making a little history of our own.
On Thursday, October 26, we launched YW She Who Dares: a creative, engaging and interactive installation which tells the stories of 150 women who have impacted the Calgary community over the last 150 years. This unique interpretive display involved more than a year of planning, sourcing stories and engaging some exceptionally creative individuals.
More than 300 guests arrived and wandered through the maze of boxes, 67 to be exact with 335 sides telling 150 different stories. The women celebrated each bring their own legacy of impact on Calgary; from journalists to neuroscientists, to community builders. Many women celebrated were in attendance at the unveiling and posed with their box and their story. We were grateful to Barry Anderson for speaking about his mother, Virnetta Anderson, the first black Alderwoman in Calgary’s history who left a legacy as a community builder. We had three levels of government present with Minister Kent Hehr moving the audience after speaking about the profound impact Dr. Betty MacRae, a woman celebrated, had on him after his injury. It was an honour to have the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Lois Mitchell, for join us and speak about her heroes, many of whom were on our list. The list could go on, but the truth is the community came together to honour a project celebrating our incredible community of women.
Women’s history matters. Period. Women have always impacted history, but their stories are often lost and forgotten. That was part of the driving force behind YW She Who Dares, we wanted to remember and celebrate women for their incredible achievements. Achievements that often occurred during a time when women were discouraged from stepping outside their traditional and limited roles.
We are moved by the number of people who have engaged with this project, who attended the launch, who were sounding boards for o ideas, who came up with amazing and creative ideas (looking at you Frank Design) and for all those who supported this project to completion, thank you. Women in this great city matter and we are proud to honour their legacies.