On September 1st, GGRWHC along with the Downtown Grand Rapics Inc., The City of Grand Rapids, Lions & Rabbits and numerous community partners, came together to host the ribbon cutting for the Harriet Woods Hill mural, located at at the Grand Rapids Police Department’s alley at 1 Monroe Center NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Harriet Woods Hill in 1955 became the first African American female officer in the Grand Rapids Police Department. Her career began in the Juvenile Division, and she later trained new recruits about the challenges faced by children. Hill, in 1977, was named the first female detective in the department’s 106-year history. “I came there to do a job, and I wasn’t going to allow [anyone] to force me to quit working because [of their] prejudices,” she said. “Once the door was opened, I never allowed it to become closed.”
“Harriet Woods-Hill was resilient and humble. Symbolism flows through this piece as waves pay ode to Harriet’s hometown leading to the old-time Grand Rapids cityscape. Lotus flowers symbolize her growth out of muddy waters, all the while soaring above.” – Statement by Mural Artist Jasmine Bruce.
(The above description of Harriet Woods Hill and statement by the artist were taken from https://www.womenswaygr.org/)
Along with the ribbon cutting there was a welcome speech from DGRI and GGRWHC’s Sophia Brewer, a performance by local artist DJ Venus Flyytrap, a video on Harriet Hill Woods, and speeches from James Hill (Harriet Woods Hill’s son), Jasmine Bruce (the artist of the mural), GRPD’s Chief Payne, and Lions and Rabbits. There were snacks and refreshments provided by Mosby’s! Scroll on to see photos from the event!
If you were not able to join us at the Harriet Woods Hill’s ribbon cutting – don’t worry there will be four more events to join in on the fun! Every Wednesday in September the community members listed above will be holding a ribbon cutting to feature each completed Women’s Way Mural in downtown Grand Rapids. Along with the ribbon cutting these events will also include local artist performances, a video on the background of the women of the murals, and time to mingle with food and drinks! For more information on the upcoming events please see our events calendar.