News & Updates

GGRWHC Mourns Passing of Gloria Bursey Slykhouse

Gloria Bursey Slykhouse as she appeared on her Blog.

GGRWHC was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Gloria Bursey Slykhouse, 79, a Grand Rapids author, publisher, photographer and feminist. Nearly 20 years ago, Ms. Slykhouse was a driving force behind the Council’s “Twelve Outstanding Women” initiative.  The photo history honors 12 local women who have made significant contributions to our community through their professional and personal lives. Read about them under Biographies at the top of this page. The collection is also on display locally at the Women's Resource Center, 678 Front Ave NW #180.

“She did the interviews, wrote the bios, took the pictures and produced the displays,” recalled long-time friend and GGRWHC member Vernis Schad.   Large posters, showcasing the women, have been displayed in prominent locations throughout the community, usually during March, Women’s History Month.  

“She was ahead of her time, . . . 

Sister Ardeth Platte, a Local and Global Peacemaker

Sister Ardeth Platte as she appears in the MI Women's Hall of Fame

Recently, the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame presented a talk by author Rosalie Riegle, ”Women Peacemakers in Michigan & Around the World.” Ms. Riegle discussed material from her two new oral histories. She focused particularly on a Hall of Fame inductee who lived in Grand Rapids, Sister Ardeth Platte. In 1999, Sister Ardeth Platte was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame. According to her biography, she was born in Lansing in 1936, educated at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, and entered the Dominican order in 1954. She has devoted her life to resisting violence in all its forms, from the violence of poverty and injustice to the worldwide violence of militarism. . . . 


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." . . .