We are thrilled to be partnered with Shea Automotive Group, The Flint Women’s Forum and Back to the Bricks® to bring you
WOMEN THAT ROCK: The Rosie Radiothon
Tune in for the Rosie Radiothon, presented by the Shea Automotive Group, December 4th from 7am to 7pm on 103.9 The Fox!
The Flint Women’s Forum has been working hard for the past two years on fundraising efforts to bring a Rosie the Riveter Statue to Genesee County. Once fully funded she will be on display at Flint Bishop International Airport on baggage belt return 3. She will be the 9th statue in the Automobile Heritage Collection, but the First Female Statue in the collection.
In 2012, Back to the Bricks unveiled the first of several commemorative statues in downtown Flint of important automotive pioneers, including life size bronze replicas of David Buick, William C. (Billy) Durant, Louis Chevrolet, and Albert Champion. Other statues include Walter P. Chrysler and Charles Nash, who welcome visitors at the baggage claim area of Flint’s Bishop Airport, where Rosie will reside. These statues, created by local artist Joe Rundell, celebrate key leaders in business, industry, and labor, whose vision, ingenuity, and determination became an integral part of the heritage and culture of the “Vehicle City.”
The Heritage Committee chose the Flint Women’s Forum to help lead the way of this particular statue for their commitment to honoring, gathering, and celebrating women in the community. Both parties felt that Rosie the Riveter embodied the perseverance and commemoration of the hard-working women in the Flint area and Michigan overall.
“We on the Back to the Bricks Automotive Heritage Committee are delighted that the Flint Women’s Forum is taking on the responsibility to raise the funds for the only female statue in our overall Statue Project” stated Al Hatch, former Chairman of the Board for Back to the Bricks. “Their partnership with us on this project has been invaluable.”
ABOUT ROSIE THE RIVETER
Rosie the Riveter was the star of a campaign aimed at recruiting female workers for defense industries during World War II, and she became perhaps the most iconic image of working women. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who joined the military. Rosie the Riveter is used as a symbol of American feminism and women’s economic power. Rosie is based on a real person, Rose Will Monroe, who worked on the line as a riveter at the Willow Run Aircraft Factory in Ypsilanti Michigan. The great thing about Rosie, is that we had LOCAL Rosies right here in Genesee County. Rosies worked in AC Spark Plug and the Grand Blanc Tank plant during WW II.
ABOUT FLINT WOMEN’S FORUM
The purpose of the Flint Women’s Forum is the advancement of women as a non-sectarian, non-partisan organization. FWF brings together women of achievement and influence in the professions of the arts, science, education, industry, commerce and public service. Through educational programs and the exchange of ideas, experiences and resources, the members contribute to one another’s professional advancement, increase the visibility of women leaders and facilitate the effectiveness of women in the community. They hold monthly lunch meetings the third Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit the website at flintwomensforum.org.
ABOUT BACK TO THE BRICKS HERITAGE COMMITTEE
The annual Back to the Bricks event has grown from a one-day car show to one of the nation’s premiere week-long events. To celebrate its success and heritage, The Back to the Bricks organization created the Automotive Pioneers Statue Fund which is a 501 (c)(3) to honor those individuals who shaped an industry, a community and a nation. This group’s goal is to organize events that inspire the next generation of leadership while educating the public on the legacy of the automotive industry, especially in Flint and Genesee County. For more information, contact them via their website at backtothebricks.org.
ROSIE TAKES SHAPE
Rosie was started in June of 2018. Artist Joe Rundell worked from the bust up to create her almost now 5’4″ standing frame. She was then taken to Fine Arts Sculpture Centre in Clarkston where she went through the total process of being cut up and molded into smaller parts to be casted in bronze and then put back together. The process took longer than expected due to covid-19. Rosie is completed and currently is stored, awaiting funds to finish her mounting process and install at the Airport.
This statue has meant so much to everyone that has got involved especially the President of the Flint Women’s Forum Amber Lynn Taylor, CTA. Even her 12 year old daughter Peyton has joined in on the fun of promoting the statue and all that she stands for. In June of 2020, the Flint Women’s Forum held their first ever 5k Run/Walk and all proceeds went to the statue. Shea Automotive Group was one of the first to sign up and be a sponsor of this event. They have been such a wonderful support to this statue project and we are hopeful with this Radiothon, we can get to the finish line.
THE HISTORY OF ROSIE THE RIVETER
The war came fast. On December 7, 1941 America officially entered the greatest conflict mankind would ever know. The German war machine was a juggernaut. Japan had taken control of Asia. Both powers were far ahead of America in manpower, machinery, and technology. America’s only chance was to build an Arsenal of Democracy. But how? To fill out the military ranks every man would be needed. That would address the manpower gap, but what about the manufacturing?
Into this breach came America’s women. By the hundreds of thousands, they joined the heavy machinery ranks wielding wrenches, wires and rivet guns. Collectively they became known as “Rosie’s”. Inspired in 1942 by a Pittsburgh artist named J. Howard Miller, and the iconic “Rosie” image was featured on a poster for Westinghouse Electric Corporation under the headline “We Can Do It!” Then in 1943, a hit song called “Rosie the Riveter,” hit the American airwaves, and Rosie was solidified in the American consciousness for all time.
The women who answered the bell brought innovation to the manufacturing process, breathed life in to the war effort, spirit in to the Arsenal of Democracy, and changed America, and indeed the world. Many Rosies went home after the war and raised families. Others stayed in the work force. But both created the legacy that helped win the war, save the world, and empower women here and abroad.
That legacy will live for as long as there are people who love liberty, treasure freedom, and know that without all of those Rosies we might not have either.
A grateful nation owes a massive debt of gratitude to all of the Rosies. It turns out that poster was right. They COULD do it.
-Gary L. Fisher, October 29, 2020
WOMEN THAT ROCK – ROSIE RADIOTHON MAJOR SPONSOR