Kentucky Women Remembered exhibit lauded

Published 5:30 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2024

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In honor of Women’s History Month, Gov. Andy Beshear, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman and members of the Kentucky Commission on Women unveiled the portraits of seven new inductees to the Kentucky Women Remembered exhibit during a ceremony on Friday.

This marked the first time in 10 years new inductees were added to the exhibit, which is a portrait gallery located in the West Wing of the state Capitol.

“It has been far too long since women have been honored in this way in our Capitol, and I am proud to say this administration and commission got it done,” said Gov. Beshear. “It’s a priority to recognize Kentucky women as important leaders and change-makers.”

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Lt. Gov. Jaqueline Coleman also spoke at the event. “The beautiful portraits of seven trailblazers added to the Kentucky Women Remembered exhibit highlights the incredible impact these women had on the Commonwealth. I am so happy they will forever be honored inside our state Capitol.”

In March 2023, members of the Kentucky Commission on Women unanimously recommended seven women to Gov. Beshear for his consideration to be added to the exhibit. Local artists worked collaboratively with the inductee to create each unique portrait. Those honored Friday included:

  • Lonnie Ali. An inspiring humanitarian, Parkinson’s research and awareness advocate, children’s education defender and soulmate to Muhammad Ali, she currently serves as the chairwoman of the Ali in All of Us initiative, which honors the life of Muhammad Ali.

–Jane Beshear. A former First Lady of Kentucky, she has dedicated her life to the service of others throughout the state. She addressed the rampant spread of breast cancer, which is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Kentucky, by founding Horses and Hope.

  • Sharon “Sherry” Currens. Working on behalf of survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual violence, she was one of the founding women of Lexington’s Rape Crisis Program in the 1970s. Later, she became the first executive director of the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
  • Hannah Drake. An activist, author, podcast host and poet, Drake serves as the chief creative officer at IDEAS xLab and co-lead artist of the (Un)Known Project, which seeks to discover the hidden names and stories of enslaved Black people in Kentucky and beyond.
  • Mary Margaret Mulvihill (deceased). One of the first women elected to the city of Louisville Board of Aldermen, she paved the way for young female leaders who came behind her. She also served her community on numerous nonprofit boards and commissions.
  • Peggy Purdom Patterson. The first woman federal judge appointed in Kentucky, she served in Ashland and surrounding counties until her retirement in 2006. She served as one of the first board members of Pathways, the community mental health program that served the FIVCO and Gateway ADD districts.
  • bell hooks. An author and social activist who served as Distinguished Professor in Residence at Berea College. Her writing explored race, capitalism and gender and what she described as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination.

The Kentucky Commission on Women is dedicated to elevating the status of women and girls in the state, empowering them to overcome barriers to equity and expanding opportunities to achieve their fullest potential.