Maggie Walker for Maggie Walker

Sophia McCrimmon

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The bust of Maggie Lena Walker stands in front of our school building.

Photo courtesy of Anthony Holten
The bust of Maggie Lena Walker stands in front of our school building.

In a city full of monuments, our namesake will soon find a permanent place — as part of a planned Virginia Women’s Monument set to be built on Capitol Square. The upcoming statue, to be included among twelve other female Virginians of historical significance, means a lot to seniors Finn Fisk (’16) and Kayla Temple (’16). In an attempt to help fund the $3.7 million monument by engaging MLWGS students, the two are currently leading an effort known as “Maggie Walker for Maggie Walker” in conjunction with the project’s main fundraiser, the Capitol Foundation.

Fisk first became involved with the Women’s Monument over the summer through an internship with the Virginia Secretary of Administration, Nancy Rodrigues. “I sent in my resume, which had on it that I’m a president of the SAGE club [Student Assembly for Gender Equality], so she thought I would have a special interest in the project and I did,” Fisk said. In August she managed social media for the monument and the statue, starting a Facebook page that has since gained over 1,000 likes. Once the school year started, Fisk and Temple continued raising funds for the project. Building upon the money leftover in the SAGE account, they went on to organize a “Boo-Gram” fundraiser in October.

Despite her success, Fisk says that throughout her efforts she has struggled with building up the confidence she needs to advocate for the project. “I realized recently that I hadn’t really reached out to people in the Maggie Walker community to say ‘I’m doing this,’ because I didn’t want to seem like I was self-promoting,” Fisk said. Ultimately, though, she’s realized that “It’s not about me, it’s about the cause.”

That cause is one she believes should be important to anyone with an interest in expanding the focus of historical commemoration. “When I was learning about these women I had heard of maybe three of them,” Fisk said, “The acknowledgement of the work of the past is really important, in my opinion.” She also finds it crucial that many of those recognized by the monument are women of color. “We’re a city of monuments and a city of statues and a lot of them are of white men,” she said. “This is a really cool recognition of people who have kind of been left out of Virginia history.”

According to the Women’s Monument Commission, the twelve women chosen represent female achievement over 400 years of Virginia history and “reflect various spheres of influence and geographic areas within the state.” The group of women honored includes famous figures from Pamunkey chief Cockacoeke, to First Lady Martha Washington, to suffragist Adele Goodman Clark. The monument is also set to feature a Wall of Honor recognizing the notable achievements of 150 other  women.

Looking towards the future, Fisk says she still has big plans for fundraising. For one thing, she plans to apply the skills she’s been developing in Relevance Rising and reach out to MLWGS  alumni for major donations. In addition, Fisk and Temple recently set up a Facebook page, “Maggie Walker for Maggie Walker,” specifically geared towards members of the MLWGS community. Through the page, anyone can donate to the Capitol Foundation or find out more about the project.

Ultimately, as Fisk has pushed to keep the project moving she’s also pushed herself to grow as a person. “I’ve learned so much from this whole experience,” she said “It means a lot to be part of a cause that is sort of larger than yourself.”

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