News & Updates

Equality Day August 26, 2014: Your Story Matters! Celebrate it!

Equality Day, August 26, 2014

Since 1971, Women’s Equality Day has occurred on August 26. This date marks the day in 1920 when the Nineteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was certified and became law. Thus, universal franchise to vote was guaranteed in America. This year the Council welcomes you to share your stories about politics and women’s rights or about other landmark legislation such as the 1972 passage of the educational amendments to Title IX or the 1972 "displaced homemakers" legislation. 

On Equality Day, August 26, 2014, Your Story Matters! Celebrate It! Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., come to the terrace outside the Grand Rapids Art Museum. There you will find GGRWHC members waiting and eager to audio record your story. We will help you get started with some basic questions and give you 15 - 20 minutes to tell your story. We promise the experience will be very informal and fun! Feel free to bring along another important woman in your life. . . . 

The StoryCorps Trailer in GR for Equality Day

On Equality Day, August 26, 2014, just by chance, the National Public Radio's StoryCorps trailer will be parked right outside the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Actually, it will be there for almost an entire month (from August 9 to September 5). But if you come out on Equality Day, you have the opportunity to tell your story twice! For StoryCorps, however, you do need an appointment. To make an appointment, call 800-850-4406 or visit 

For the StoryCorps interview, a trained facilitator guides participants through the interview process. At the end of the 40 minute recording session, participants receive a free CD copy of their interview, and with their permission another CD is preserved in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The interviews are conducted between two people who care about each other such as a mother and daughter or a pair of sisters.

So think about warming up or practicing first by telling your story to us and then going to your appointment at the StoryCorps! . . . 

The Dedication of the Helen J. Claytor Sculpture

Helen J. Claytor's statue surrounded by her daughters (from left to right), Judith Claytor and Sharon Claytor Peters, and granddaughter, Shani Peters.

On Wednesday, July 23, 2014, The Grand Rapids Community Legends Project unveiled the sixth in a series of 12 sculptures funded by Peter Secchia, former Universal Forest Products CEO. This event honored Helen J. Claytor. Among the special guests were her daughters, Judith Claytor and Sharon Claytor Peters, and her granddaughter, Shani Peters.  

The location of the statue is at the Grand Rapids Community College Dr. Juan R. Olivarez Plaza.

Helen J. Claytor (1907 - 2005) was an educator, civil rights activist, and the first African American president of both the Grand Rapids YWCA and the national YWCA. Ms. Claytor was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1943, she moved to Grand Rapids and married Dr. Robert Claytor, a prominent physician and community activist. After serving in various roles at the national YWCA, Ms. Claytor became the first African American president of the local chapter. In 1967, she became the first African American president of the national YWCA. In 1984, Ms. Claytor was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. Coretta Scott King said of her, "She was an eloquent testament to the great things people can accomplish." . . .