HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — State and local officials honored the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) and other female leaders at the Women’s Empowerment Center in Hartford.
If you’ve been to Market Street recently, you’ve likely seen some recognizable female faces on a wall.
“Former First Lady Michelle Obama, first Latina Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, we’re looking at the ‘notorious’ RBG, we’re looking at Ella Grasso, who was the first elected governor in Connecticut and the U.S.,” Lena Rodriguez, president of the Connecticut Renewal Team (CRT) said. “Of course, you have the first VP of African American and Asian descent.”
CRT serves more than 44,000 people in Hartford and Middlesex counties — 60% are women, 26% single moms. Those stats led them to launch the Women’s Empowerment Center in 2019 as a support system for women with programs designed by women.
“That can be anything from financial literacy to budgeting to homecare to dealing with emotional things like getting divorced,” Rodriguez said.
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz helped unveil CRT’s recently renamed Ruth Bader Ginsburg Women’s Empowerment Center, equipped with a mural of the late justice and a few powerful lady friends.
“We commissioned the mural to honor RBG but also to honor other power women that we respect and honor,” Rodriguez said.
Bysiewicz has a special connection to one of the faces, Ella Grasso.
“Wehn she was governor, she spoke to a girl’s state conference that I was at,” Bysiewicz said. “She inspired me to be in public service.”
East Hartford-based artist Micaela Levesque used to paint portraits on the side. Now, she’s being celebrated for this nearly complete mural in downtown north.
“I basically took a chance here,” Levesque said. “I submitted my design and my proposal to CRT, and they accepted, and we’ve moved forward. So, it feels awesome to be here painting my passion.”
You can see their faces clearly, but if you look closer, there’s some symbolism you might not see. Like the fruit in Obama’s hand to represent her efforts to promote healthy eating.
Levesque hopes the mural sparks conversations for generations to come.
She wants people to see these faces and ask why they are on this wall.