Santa Clara Supervisor Proposes $5M Grant To Build Monuments Honoring Women
(by Melissa Hartman) – Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez held a news conference at Notre Dame High School in San Jose this afternoon to announce her proposal to grant $5 million to build monuments that would recognize women and their accomplishments all across the county.
The proposal, which will appear before the Board of Supervisors for a vote on March 20, would allocate $2.5 million to one “expression of appreciation” and $2.5 million to establish smaller monuments or gestures to
honor women who have played roles in science, medicine, business, technology,
and many other fields.
Chavez acknowledged that “in a time of fighting for every dollar we use for important things like public health and foster care,” the proposal is important because it’s difficult for people to be what they can’t see.
“We have an opportunity to start a fire across this country to honor women in a meaningful and thoughtful way,” Chavez said.
Shruthisri Ravisankar, a freshman at the private all-girls Notre Dame who is Chavez’s appointment to the county youth task force, discussed being fortunate enough to be around women who have paved the way for her
generation and how she believes that the monuments would be an ode to them in the wake of movements in recent years like the Women’s March and #MeToo.
County Executive Jeffrey Smith was present in support of Chavez’s proposal and spoke about the deeply-rooted sexism that is still prevalent in the U.S., saying that “it’s time for us all to step up when women are getting stepped on.”
“In a world where there is a lot of change going on, all of the men in this world need women to stand up for what is right, because they know what’s right,” Smith said.
Chavez said Smith was the one that urged for the $5 million amount and referred to him as “her favorite feminist.”
The proposal was discussed at Notre Dame because the whole idea behind it is to inspire young people in the community to be a part of leadership, Chavez said.
The supervisor is thrilled that Santa Clara County has women in leadership positions normally held by men, but mentioned that in the 1970s and 1980s it was dubbed “the feminist capital of the nation” after Janet Gray
Hayes became the nation’s first woman mayor of a city larger than 500,000 and women won majority on the San Jose City Council and the county’s Board of Supervisors.
“I guess by mentioning that history I wanted to say, ‘we’ve been that, let’s go be that again,'” Chavez said.
No specific details are available yet on possible monument concepts or their locations, Chavez said.
That will be suggested by a task force that would be composed of three constituents from every district if the
proposal was passed.