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I Am Not Invisible: Exhibit helps raise awareness about the dedication of women veterans in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA), Wisconsin Veterans Museum, and Governor Tony Evers unveiled a unique educational exhibit highlighting the military service of dozens of Wisconsin women veterans on November 7.

The “I Am Not Invisible” (IANI) traveling exhibit, featuring 32 banners measuring 6-feet tall with portraits of Wisconsin women veterans, was unveiled during a formal ceremony at the Wisconsin State Capitol.

“Women military veterans deserve equal recognition for their bravery and sacrifice demonstrated during their service to our country,” Governor Evers said. “This exhibit not only showcases the diversity of Wisconsin women veterans, but it also highlights the unique stories many of them experienced in the military and afterward.”

There are about 30,000 women veterans living in Wisconsin, or about 12 percent of the state’s veteran population. With the new exhibit, Wisconsin becomes the latest state to participate in the IANI project, which was initiated by the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs in February 2017 as a way to increase awareness and dialogue about women veterans. Since then, the project has grown to include nine states and 14 cities.

“Women are the fastest-growing group of military veterans in our country,” said WDVA Secretary Mary Kolar. “Despite that, women veterans still face some significant barriers and challenges. By spotlighting the faces of this diverse segment of Wisconsin’s veteran community, we continue an important conversation about their contributions to our country, as well as some of the challenges they may face.”

Wisconsin’s IANI exhibit is a result of a partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Women Veterans and the WDVA’s Women Veterans Program.

“There could not be a more appropriate location for us to unveil and have this exhibit on display than at the Wisconsin State Capitol,” added Governor Evers. “With a motto of, ‘Forward,’ Wisconsin has a continuous drive to be a national leader, and partnering to create this exhibit is yet another way we stay true to that.”

The exhibit will be on display inside the Capitol’s rotunda through November 15, at which point it will be available to the public as part of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum’s collection of traveling exhibits.

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Lee Matz

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