Women’s Voices, Women’s Votes, Women’s Rights: Engaging with Art to Educate and Motivate Learners

Exhibit at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, closes April 30, 2023

2020 marked 100 years since the passing of the 19th Amendment, allowing white women the right to vote. Of vital importance, it also marked 55 years since the passing of the Voting Rights Act, granting many disenfranchised populations protections to participate in America’s democracy. Many of us remember this year as the start of the pandemic, our lives and routines in some cases permanently altered.

Prior to the shutdown of the world as we knew it, I embarked on a human rights education quilt with my students at Ben Milam Elementary and Townview High School in Dallas, TX. It was a way to express what I had learned, motivating me to continue my efforts to impart and gain knowledge about the world. My students and I learned about quilt artists like Faith Ringgold and Harriet Powers, who use(d) their art to talk about their lives and educate the world around them. Finishing this quilt during the pandemic gave me the inspiration I needed to pursue a human rights education for myself. As my understanding of human rights has been strengthened, I am empowered to provide human rights education to my students. Creating and experiencing art continues to broaden my vision unencumbered.

Last fall, the Clinton Foundation hosted the Women’s Voices Summit on pressing issues on female access to education, leadership, voting and healthcare. I was overjoyed to learn that their effort to remind the world that “women’s rights are human rights” included my favorite art medium. I eagerly anticipated the opportunity to view these masterpieces in person. In what’s become a yearly civil rights pilgrimage, I travelled to Little Rock, Arkansas. Viewing the quilts was a powerful experience, and it continues to fuel my human rights educator actions. May it be the impetus we need to bring about the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment.  Please make every effort to learn and share these works of art and the important lessons behind them. The exhibit at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock ends on April 30, 2023.

About the Clinton Foundation Quilt Exhibit in Little Rock, Arkansas

The Women’s Voices Summit on Youtube

Julie Rinker is a public-school dyslexia interventionist and dyslexia teacher trainer in Dallas, TX. She became a human rights educator in 2019 after attending a Holocaust Pilgrimage in Poland.

In the Summer of 2022 Julie was the first Teacher Fellow for Human Rights Educators, USA. This involved reviewing the library of resources available to all teachers, free of charge. These sources equip opportunistic teachers with the materials and lesson plans needed to incorporate a human rights education into unconventional settings.