New mural at Palmer High School honoring women, the right to vote

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Palmer High School in downtown Colorado Springs has a new mural-wallscape honoring women.

It’s a celebration of the centennial of women’s right to vote. The mural is at the corner of E. Boulder St. and N. Nevada Ave. But some have concerns with the women chosen to be on the mural.

The mural was created to start the conversation about all the people who fought for women to have the right to vote.

“Creativity takes courage,” D11 Visual & Performing Arts Facilitator Laurilea McDaniel said. “We value the empowerment of all students to analyze the world around them and develop a unique voice.”

“We wanted you to be aware of all the people that are not white that have fought for the right to vote,” Mural-Wallscape Jury Committee Member Jerima King said. “Yes, there are some white people that everyone knows about, but these are folks that we did not know about. We need to know about these people, their struggles, so we don’t take for granted being able to vote.”

Voting–a privilege not all had. The El Paso County GOP sent out a press release last week with concerns about the mural.

“What is lacking to me is all the women like the Susan B. Anthony’s and others who were the main parts of the suffrage movement, before we got the right to vote in the early years before we got the right to vote, and these are women who blood, sweat, and tears to get the right for women to vote, and I don’t see them on there,” El Paso County GOP Chair Vickie Tonkins said.

A QR code at the bottom of the mural gives a more in-depth look at the history, according to the League of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak Region. The mural is on vinyl and can be removed to be put up in another place for others to enjoy.

“It was not all about the suffragette movement,” League of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak Region Spokesperson Shelly Roehrs said. “The women that you don’t hear about are the women on this wall. The everyday woman that is very important, the everyday woman is on this wall you are important in voting and helping us get full equity.”

The artist, a graduate from Palmer High School, is now an art teacher in District 20. She said that this mural has a powerful meaning.

“I think it’s important for people like me, and people younger, to look and be able to see women can make a difference, and women’s voices do matter, and they should be heard,” Shanah Cooley said.

The artwork is meant to be a selfie wall too. If you do stop by to take a selfie in front of the mural, the League of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak Region asks you to use the #LWVPPR when you share your pictures on social media.

“Standing right between them with the words “World Changers” almost signifies that you are a world changer also,” Cooley said.

The League of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak Region hopes more murals will be added in other communities and that the red ribbon on the mural and its meaning will continue.

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