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Ruby Bridges will headline ‘Power of Women’ event Nov. 4 in Indy

Ruby Bridges speaks onstage at Glamour's 2017 Women of The Year Awards at Kings Theatre on November 13, 2017 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Glamour)

INDIANAPOLIS (MIRROR INDY) — On Nov. 4, the day before the presidential election, civil rights icon Ruby Bridges will speak at the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana’s annual fundraising event, the Power of Women, at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, 140 W. Washington St.

Tickets for the 5:30 p.m. event go on sale July 9, and the event  typically sells out quickly. They start at $250.

Tamara Winfrey-Harris, president of the Women’s Fund, calls Bridges a “phenomenal woman,” but Bridges is most famous for her actions as a girl. At 6 years old, she was the first Black student to integrate William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. Nov. 14, 1960, she walked into the school on her first day escorted by federal marshals, surrounded by an angry, white crowd. 

Bridges, now 69, is an author, speaker and founder of the Ruby Bridges Foundation, which teaches students about diversity and creating change.

She joins a list of impressive women the event has hosted in past years, including Allyson Felix, an Olympic track athlete; Meghan, Duchess of Sussex; and Billie Jean King, the former world No. 1 tennis player. Each year, a moderator – usually someone local – has a conversation with the guest. 

The moderator for this year has not been chosen yet, but Winfrey Harris says they are looking for someone “who can be very thoughtful and challenging with their questions.”

“Perhaps someone who has also lived through navigating racism, and been affected by those things in their own lives,” Winfrey Harris said. “Someone who shares experience with that point in history and point in time, so that they can have a great shared conversation.”

Ruby Bridges is an icon from the Civil Rights Movement, and Winfrey Harris referred to her as “living American History.”

Norman Rockwell immortalized Bridges’ walk into school that first day in his painting, “The Problem We All Live With.” Years later, President Obama hung the painting outside the Oval Office, and invited Bridges to see it. 

With the Women’s Fund event happening the day before the general election, Winfrey Harris hopes hearing Bridges serves as a reminder of what America can be.

“If you look back at the Civil Rights Movement, it’s a reminder of our collective power to create a community and a country that we’re proud of and reflects our values,” she said. “It’s important that we use our power to make sure we live in the world that we want.”

How to attend the event:

  • What: Power of Women: An Evening with Ruby Bridges
  • When: 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4
  • Where: Indiana Roof Ballroom, 140 W. Washington St.
  • How much: $250
  • Get tickets here.