Skydive over NJ to encourage voting, honor women’s suffrage
Look up toward the sky Saturday afternoon in Mount Laurel, and you'll find a handful of women risking their lives, but doing what they love, in order to encourage folks to submit their ballot for Nov. 3, and celebrate the 100-year anniversary of a woman's right to vote.
The Highlight Pro Skydiving Team, made up of women only, is scheduled to perform an aerial display at 12 p.m. on Oct. 10, over the Alice Paul Institute, a nonprofit organization that educates the public about the life and work of the American suffragist.
"We want to highlight this special location and call people now, as we get close to the election, to use their voice and use their vote," said Summit resident Melanie Curtis, co-founder and co-captain of the team. "That's part of what happened when the 19th Amendment got passed, is millions of Americans secured the right to vote."
After jumping from the plane, four women equipped with colored smoke and streamers, and flags displaying suffrage themes, will work their magic in the sky for anyone who may be looking from down below. They'll be starting from a lower altitude than most skydives would, and will immediately open their parachutes upon free fall.
"It'll take approximately six to seven minutes from the first jumper, to the last jumper landing," Curtis said. "People in the Mount Laurel area, they will definitely be able to see us, for sure."
Due to COVID-19, the event and landing zone are not open to the public. Curtis recently participated in a New York event and will not be part of Saturday's jump. She's been jumping from planes for 23 years and has more than 11,000 skydives under her belt.
The event over Mount Laurel is one in a series around the country; demonstrations have taken place since the summer at sites that are key to the suffrage movement.
"Through this demonstration jump, the Highlight Pro Skydiving Team will honor the legacy of Alice Paul as a role model of leadership in continuing that quest for equality," said Lucienne Beard, executive director of the Alice Paul Institute. "Alice Paul was a champion for women's rights, and put on grand public events to inspire the suffrage movement and garner widespread public support for women's voting rights. We're thankful for Highlight's role in carrying her legacy by putting on a bold, brave and beautiful display."
The New Jersey event also occurs one day before International Day of the Girl, a worldwide holiday adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to focus attention on the challenges girls face and to promote their empowerment.
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.