6 local women to be honored in Women's Equality Day celebration

The Coalition of Women’s Organizations will host its 29th annual Women’s Equality Day program at 5 p.m. Aug. 25, 2021 in the Muncie City Hall auditorium to honor the achievements of women who fought for the right to vote and the successes of today's community leaders. Women’s Equality Day celebrates the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

The Muncie celebration will honor six local women who have made significant contributions to the community.

The event will pay special tribute to Vivian V. Conley, who was a civil rights activist in Muncie at the forefront of many community issues relating to education, civil and elderly rights, according to an Aug. 11 press release. The women honored at the Equality Day program will be awarded a Vivian V. Conley Recognition Certificate.

In her 60s, Conley enrolled at Ball State University and attended classes at the same time as her daughter and three of her grandsons. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in gerontology from Ball State. She was the founder of the Non-Traditional Student Association and was credited with directing more than 150 young people and adults into college programs. She was an activist until her death in 1993 at the age of 71. Then-Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh named her a Sagamore of the Wabash.

Honorees for the Coalition of Women’s Organizations 2021 Women's Equality Day celebration include:

  • Lindsey Arthur — Distinction in Community Development Leadership
  • Mia D. Johnson — Distinction in Educational Empowerment Leadership
  • Beth Goetz — Distinction in Athleticism Leadership
  • Teresa Long — Distinction in Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • Patricia Nelson — Distinction in Arts and Culture Leadership
  • Rhonda Ward — Distinction in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leadership

Trenda Whiteman will be the 2021 recipient of the Vivian V. Conley Memorial Re-Entry Scholarship at Ball State University.

The Coalition of Women’s Organizations will also acknowledge 20 local women as "heroes of the pandemic." These individuals have gone above and beyond to ensure the Muncie community has been cared for during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the press release.

The coalition is made up of the local branches of the American Association of University Women, League of Women Voters, National Organization for Women, Indiana Women of Achievement Awards Committee, Friends of Conley and the Coalition of 100 Women.

2021 is the 101st anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. Former President Richard Nixon was the first president to declare Aug. 26 national Women's Equality Day, and since then, every U.S. president has issued the same proclamation.

Attendees can join the Muncie City Hall event in-person and social distancing protocols will be in place.

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