Today Show - Monumental Women Unveiling


Morgan Radford: Good Morning. You can feel the energy and the excitement here on this centennial, because history is being made. Central Park is a hundred and sixty seven years old. And while there are plenty of statues of men here, this is the first time we’re seeing the history and the contributions of real-life women being honored. So I want to introduce you to Brenda Berkman. You are part of monumental women, the organization that made all of this possible. Brenda, this idea has been setting years in the making. And now on this day, you’ve got these barrier breaking women like Secretary Clinton speaking right now. You’re here. What does this day mean for you?

Brenda Berkman: Monumental Women is like over the top ecstatic that finally, in the midst of a pandemic, we’ve been able to put the first statue of real women in Central Park in its one hundred and sixty seven year history. And it was not an easy journey, but, you know, for an all volunteer non profit small to raise a million and a half dollars and to carry out exhibitions, the sculpture crafting this beautiful work of art and creating an education program and a challenge to municipalities to honor more women and people of color in their public spaces. For monumental women to have accomplished that today is just a dream come true.

Morgan Radford: it’s an accomplishment. I think it’s also important for our audience to know that even with Sojourner Truth being here, that’s also the first time that a black person is being on the inside. Inside the park. What do you hope that people take away when they walk past this monument?

Brenda Berkman: So we really hope that people learn the history of women and especially the women’s suffragists that are portrayed and women’s rights, anti slavery advocates and organizers in here. And you see the three of them working country. In order to accomplish what they did. They started a movement that was the largest peaceful and franchisement of people in history. And it’s to to be able to take inspiration from them, particularly in this time. We cannot lose hope that working together in community, each bringing our own special skills, organizing and speaking and writing. 

Morgan Radford: A message for today.

Brenda Berkman: A message for today.

Morgan Radford: Because these are three New York women who worked together.

Brenda Berkman: And these three women never themselves got the opportunity to legally vote.

Morgan Radford: Well today is the day that we get to honor them. Today is the day that we get to honor their contribution, the way that they worked together and change all of our lives. So will you do us the honor? Will you lead us off in the big reveal, Brenda?

Brenda Berkman: will in a minute or two because we’re just finishing up the speech by Secretary Clinton.

Morgan Radford: And then once you actually once Secretary Clinton finishes, then we’re gonna be able to show you guys these this incredible statue with these three women as you mentioned, Elizabeth Cady Stanton We’re gonna see Sojourner Truth. We’re also gonna see Susan B. Anthony, the women who paved the way for us to have these rights that we have here today.

Savannah Guthrie: Okay. Guys, hang tight. We’re gonna hang tight there. We’ll come back to you and but let’s keep commemorating women’s equality day. And here is Renee Elise Goldsberry, also known as Angelica from the original Hamilton Broadway cast, reciting words and anthems of the suffrage movement.

Renée Elise Goldsberry: Well, children, where there is so much racket, there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the Negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about? What means this votes for women? Just this, the time has come, when they may voice with free men concerns of land and home. Then snap the ancient tether enthralling us too long, and stoutly pull together to right a grievous wrong. Once more awakes the spirit of the just, and a world worldwide flame is kindled from the dust. Women, for the right we know, for the duty that we owe, for all souls now here and coming, vote we must. Let us stand together, women, hard and fast. Let us vow to keep the faith until the last. By the trust the world has learned, by the falsehood it has spurned, we will vote and rise above the vanished past. Then sisters of our nation, put forth your mightiest nerve. Remember with elation the glorious cause you serve, and list your best endeavor, whatever that may be. With votes for women ever, press on to victory.

*sings* We, the people, all the people. How, Oh how it sings. Sisters working for the light, brothers striving for the ride. We the people, all the people. How Oh, how it rings.

Savannah Guthrie: Wow

Craig Melvin: Standing up, she deserves a standing o standing chair on

Savannah Guthrie: Oh my gosh. Let’s go back to Morgan who I know we’re trying to, get that statue revealed. What’s the latest?

Morgan Radford: That’s right, Savannah. Now is the big moment that we’ve all been waiting for. That bronze ceiling being broken. Brenda, will you lead us off in the countdown?

Brenda Berkman: So I want everyone to start counting. Start counting.

Morgan Radford: Five four, three, two, one. Around the table, working together, these three women who share the stage. They went to the same conferences, and now their contribution to history is being made. And all these people are here today to see it and to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the ratification of the nineteenth amendment which gave women the right to vote.

Savannah Guthrie: What a moment, a hundred years in the making.

Craig Melvin: Beautiful!

Hoda Kotb: No kidding and I just keep picturing little girls walking by that statue and going “Oh wait who is that who is that who is that?” Finally statues of women in Central Park pretty cool.