The Women’s Museum of California at Liberty Station wishes women across the country a happy (almost!) 100-year-anniversary on the passing of the 19th Amendment giving them the right to vote (passed by Congress June 4, 1919 and ratified on Aug. 18, 1920.)
In the spirit of beginnings, the Museum hosted a gathering on July 15 to introduce its new executive director, Jenni Prisk. Basking in the glow of united feminism, guests partook of wine and hors d’oeuvres while learning about upcoming events.
Prisk, also an executive speech coach at Prisk Communication, offered not to rub it in that New Zealand, where she was born and raised, gave women the right to vote 25 years before the United States did. “I think it makes people very bad and I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable,” she said as her guests laughed, “but there are times when I feel like shouting it from the rafters.”
Prisk was hired after serving as an emcee at the Women’s Hall of Fame for three years. Having been involved in women’s activism “as long as I can remember,” it’s natural, she added, that she’d wind up working in one of the only three brick-and-mortar women’s museums in the United States. (Prisk clarified that there are other women’s museums, but they’re essentially someone’s old house that features historical pieces).
“We have to make sure the younger generation doesn’t think a Women’s Museum is old stuffy history, because it’s not,” said Ashley Gardner, the Museum’s business manager and board treasurer, during the introduction.
SPEAKER SERIES DEBUTS
Joanelle Ramiro, founder of the Red Nation Celebration Institute and Native American humanitarian, will be interviewed by Prisk during a live podcast at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28 at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park (MOPA). This interview will be the first of a series of live interviews presented by the Museum, though this will be the only one to involve audience participation. Tickets for the event are $25 at womensmuseumca.org/live-podcasts
Other influential female voices confirmed for the Speaker Series include actress and international spokesman for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, Sheri Belafonte (Oct. 8 at MOPA), and Tony Award- winning playwright, activist and author of “The Vagina Monologues,” Eve Ensler (Dec. 8 at MOPA).
Other speakers will include Gloria Allred (January 2020 at Shiley Theater USD Law School), founding partner of the law firm Allred, Maroko & Goldberg, which represents victims who have been discriminated against based on their sex, race, age, physical handicap, sexual orientation and more, and is known for its work on behalf of victims in sexual assault, rape, child sexual abuse and battered women’s cases; Angela Davis (March 2020, date and location TBD), social justice activist, author and member of the executive board of the Women of Color Resource Center; and Gloria Steinem (May 2020, date and location TBD), feminist activist, writer and co-founder of the Women’s Action Alliance.
Ticket prices for the Speaker Series are $200 for a VIP reception and the first 10 rows (50 tickets available), and $75 for the remaining 176 general admission tickets. More information at bit.ly/2KNe11B
Gesturing to three young girls seated on the floor, Prisk stated: “We must build a foundation and a legacy for them, because without that, where do they go? They need role models, they need leadership, they need you. And we need you as part of the people of the Women’s Museum of California.”
By the end of the evening, an estimated 25 people joined the Museum’s membership.
“Spread the word — we’ve decided that every woman in San Diego should be a member of the Women’s Museum of California,” Prisk told Point Loma-OB Monthly.
In light of the success behind the evening’s gathering, Prisk said she’d like to continue hosting free get-togethers to be called “Monday at the Museum,” with drinks, hors d’oeuvres and a speaker. Prisk is even toying with the idea of starting “Men at the Museum,” a series that would feature business leaders who are providing equal pay and equal status to all employees.
“(I want people) to recognize how far women have come since we got the right to vote, but also how far we still have to go to reach full equality,” Prisk said. “I’d like people to realize that we all have to become very aware of cultural diversity, of women’s rights, of intersectionality and ... that women and girls must be recognized in leadership positions, in boardrooms, to be able to realize their full value.”
Women’s Museum of California is open noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday at 2730 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 103 at Liberty Station, Point Loma. Annual membership dues are $50. (619) 233-7963. womensmuseumca.org