Thank you for celebrating Women’s Equality Day with GGRWHC!

A big thank you to all of those who came out to honor and celebrate the local women we featured for this year’s Women’s Equality Day! Thank you to those who posted their visits on our Facebook page and to those who visited and did not post – we still noticed your presence and are grateful for that.

This year the GGRWHC featured four women in two different cemeteries to remember and continue their legacy of suffrage efforts and equal rights activism. Those who were able to participate visited one or more of the following grave sites:







For more information on Clara Comstock Russell click here and to learn more about Etta Comstock Boltwood, click here! For a synopsis of our oral history interview of Lillian Gill, click here and to read more about the life of Ethel Beverly Burgess, click here!

Women’s Equality Day and the GGRWHC were featured in local press coverage throughout Grand Rapids! On August 25th, Susan Coombes, a board member of the GGRWHC appeared on Shelley Irwin’s WGVU Morning Show (88.5/95.3 FM) to talk about the GGRWHC’s plans to celebrate local women on August 26th through our “Here Lies a Suffragist” self-guided tours as well as the four women we featured this year. If you were not able to make it out on the 26th, fear not! The gravesites of local suffragists and activists can be visited on any day of the year; to learn more about how to find them, visit our self guided tours page here. Some of the pictures shared on our Facebook page of GGRWHC members celebrating Women’s Equality Day were also shared in a Fox 17 piece on the reflection and commemoration of the anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment on Women’s Equality Day. Watch this short video here to learn more and to see if you can recognize the GGRWHC members! To see the WZZM’ 13 On Your Side feature on the Comstock Sisters, click here.

For those who were unable to participate in this year’s event, scroll on to see more of the celebration and remembrance at the Fulton Street and Garfield Park Cemeteries.

We hope to see you on the next Women’s Equality Day!


From Melissa Fox at the Gravesite of Lillian Gill.


Lucy and Tom Fox at the Gravesite of Etta Comstock Boltwood.


The Fox Family visiting Clara Comsotck Russell in the Rain.


Diana Barrett at the gravesite of Clara Comstock Russell.


Diana Barrett at the gravesite of Etta Comstock Boltwood.


From Kristen Laham Wildes and her visit to the Gravesite of Ethel Burgess.


From Kristen Laham Wildes and her visit to the gravesite of Lillian Gill.


Holding Lucy Fox’s pennant for Lillian Gill’s gravesite, Jo Ellyn Clarey wrestles with balloons in the wind.


Ruth Van Stee honoring Ethel Beverly Burgess. Watch for Ruth’s work on the Burgess family!

Women’s Equality Day with GGRWHC

Celebrate Women’s Equality Day with GGRWHC! August 26, 2021

Help us to honor and continue the legacy of local women who progressed suffrage efforts and equal rights activism in our community by visiting the grave(s) of four women we are featuring for 2021.

This year, we will mark four gravesites with purple balloons to help you locate the four women we are featuring – see the suggested steps below to make the most of your visits!

  1. Visit our website page, “Here Lies a Suffragist,” for a full description of the event here:
  2.  Please visit our new page this year for Garfield Park Cemetery to locate the gravesites of two more African American activists. Lillian Gill worked after the successful suffrage movement, but would have supported it. And the club life and public activism of Ethel Beverly Burgess suggests that she was a supporter. Meet them on the page here:
  3. For more information on the Comstock sisters and how to find their gravesites please visit the Fulton Street Cemetery page here:
  4. On August 26th, find the grave of one or more of our four featured suffragists and activists.
  5. Honor the individual’s grave with flowers, even a single stem, and record your visit by taking a photo of yourself and/or the decorated gravesite.
  6. Post your photo in the comments section of our Facebook post honoring the day. (If you do not use Facebook, please send it to our email address– [email protected])

WZZM’s 13 ON YOUR SIDE will run a short feature on the Comstock Sisters at 11:00 pm Wednesday, August 25th and throughout the day on the 26th. Look for the link of this feature on our Instagram and Facebook pages!

Note: Note: If you choose to leave any flowers, we will see that the graves are cleaned up later.

Thank you for participating!