PA Commission for Women Role Model Exhibit Debuts at African American Museum of Philadelphia

The Pennsylvania Commission for Women today celebrated the opening of its exhibit, “Voices: African American and Latina Women Share Their Stories of Success,” at the African American Museum of Philadelphia.

With a goal to raise awareness about the critical need for young girls to have visible role models, the exhibit was adapted from the commission’s successful book of the same name. Both the book and the exhibit portray 50 African American and Latina women through portraits and stories told in their own words. Each woman featured in the exhibit is a Pennsylvania resident who has reached the top of her field in law, medicine, communications, business, technology, the arts, education and government. Twenty-one of the featured role models are from the Philadelphia region.

“Studies have shown that gender- and racially-matched role models promote educational and professional achievement, a decrease in drug or alcohol use and a decline in physically violent behavior,” said Leslie Stiles, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. “We hope the Voices exhibit will inspire young visitors to the African American Museum to envision what they can achieve by learning what women of color in Pennsylvania are accomplishing.”

An opening reception featured Voices Role Model, Maria Del Rey, Latin Grammy Award-nominated recording artist and film producer, who performed her original song, entitled Voices. Ms. Rey composed and wrote the lyrics to the song after being inspired by the stories of her fellow Voices role models.

The exhibit will be displayed at the African American Museum of Philadelphia through November 2010.

The Pennsylvania Commission for Women’s Role Model project began as a coffee table book published in 2006. Copies were donated to every county and middle school library in Pennsylvania. Copies of the book will be on sale at the museum and are also available at www.borders.com and www.amazon.com.

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