30 March 2022
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — This year is the 50th anniversary of Title IX. At Mall of America, they’re celebrating the groundbreaking women’s sports legislation ahead of the NCAA women’s Final Four this weekend.
Leeya Rose Jackson’s Title IX-inspired paintings are coming together for all to see this week.
“I basically wanted to make a landscape that was celebratory of female athletes, something that felt joyful and colorful and inclusive,” Jackson said.
It’s part of countless events at the mall leading up to the Final Four, organized by Minnesota Sports and Events, who selected 11 Title IX Honorees, including active athletes like Jessie Diggins and former Gopher Samantha Seliger Swenson. They are also recognizing the pioneers.
“There was Ann Bancroft, who you know, really wanted to play multiple sports,” said Debbie Estes, co-executive director of the Minnesota Local Organizing Committee.
Estes was along for the ride as those 11 women traveled the state last summer.
“They talked about, you know, back when Title IX first started, the changing rooms were the restrooms, they had to pin their numbers to their shirts,” she said.
Local prep athletes contributed their messages to a court installed at the mall, where another honoree, Fatun Osman, came to visit and take in the art celebrating progress.
“I have so many friends who have been impacted by Title IX, and their whole lives have changed because of having access to sports,” Jackson said.