About the Flora Challenge
In honor of the social-reformer and namesake of the Center for Women, the Flora Challenge is a co-curricular, short-term, hands-on experiences in which multidisciplinary teams of CWRU students work on community engagement project to promote gender equity with the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, their peers, and with the support of partner department or organization.
The Legacy of Flora Stone Mather
Flora Stone Mather (6 Apr. 1852-19 Jan. 1909), was a philanthropist dedicated to Cleveland religious, educational, and social-reform activities. Mather supported many activities of Western Reserve University, including the Advisory Council, College for Women (renamed Mather College in her honor in 1931), and Adelbert College. The Flora Stone Mather Center for Women is named in her honor and in honor of the College for Women alumnae that organized to create the Center for Women. Today, the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women is a community space and a social innovator empowering women and advancing gender equity though research-informed action.
2020 Challenge – Silent Witness
This year the Flora Challenge will be starting a Silent Witness for Cuyahoga County. In 1990, an ad hoc group of women artists and writers, upset about the growing number of women in Minnesota being murdered by their partners or acquaintances, joined together with several other women's organizations to form Arts Action Against Domestic Violence. These compassionate women felt an urgency to do something that would speak out against the escalating domestic violence in their state. They set out to create something that would commemorate the lives of the 26 women whose lives had been lost in 1990 as a result of domestic violence.
After much brainstorming, the women began to design 26 free-standing, life-sized red wooden figures, each one bearing the name of a woman who once lived, worked, had neighbors, friends, family, children--whose life ended violently at the hands of a husband, ex-husband, partner, or acquaintance. A twenty-seventh figure was added to represent those uncounted women whose murders went unsolved or were erroneously ruled accidental. The organizers called the figures the Silent Witnesses (the original 27 witnesses).