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Trailblazing American women, like Maya Angelou and Sally Ride, to be face of US quarters starting in 2022

Starting in 2022, Americans can be on the lookout for quarters sporting a new design with the faces of the author Maya Angelou, astronaut Sally Ride and other trailblazing women. 

The change comes from The American Women Quarters Program that honors notable American women on the face of U.S. quarters, according U.S. Mint. From 2022 through 2025, U.S. Mint will release up to five new reverse designs, with George Washington’s likeness on the other side.

The women set to be the face of U.S. quarters for the first year are:

  • Maya Angelou, a celebrated poet, author and civil rights activist 
  • Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation’s first female principal chief
  • Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American Hollywood film star
  • Adelina Otero-Warren, a leader in New Mexico’s suffrage movement
  • Sally Ride, an astronaut and physicist who was the first American woman in space

The public can submit recommendations for potential honorees through the National Women’s History Museum website. Submissions will be accepted through June 30. 

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Mankiller’s husband, Charlie Soap, said Mankiller’s legacy and impact made her a fitting choice for the coin program.

“We thank the U.S. Mint for recognizing Wilma and the other recipients for such an honor,” Soap told Indian Country Today. “Wilma was a humble, spiritual, great leader whose leadership was not only for Cherokee people but for all women and races. The real value of this coin is the inspiration it brings to Indian people and women everywhere.”

Ride’s selection into the coin program comes during the 20th anniversary of Sally Ride Science, a nonprofit based at UC San Diego, where she taught physics.

“Sally would be so moved by this great honor,” Tam O’Shaughnessy, Ride’s life partner and cofounder of Sally Ride Science said in a statement. “… This tribute reflects Sally’s legacy not only as a trailblazing astronaut but also as a champion of diversity and inclusion in STEM fields.”

The push for the coin program started in 2017, with the support of U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, a California Democrat. Lee drafted legislation with help from Rosa Gumataotao Rios, the Treasury official who oversaw the U.S. Mint under former President Barack Obama.

Support for the coin program:American women who shaped history are coming soon to quarters, just like George Washington

She then created the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act with two Republicans, U.S. Reps. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio and Deb Fischer of Nebraska. It was signed into law in 2020.

Lee’s efforts received recognition from many, including Hillary Clinton. 

Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda

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