Organizers Dedicate Friedan Memorial, At Long Last

Jul 10, 2019

Peoria native and feminist icon Betty Friedan received a tribute across the street from her childhood home.

The bench, honoring the “Feminine Mystique” author and founder of the National Organization for Women, is located in Bradley Park.

Sheryl Cohen is a member of Friedan’s extended family. At a dedication ceremony yesterday, she read from a letter written by Friedan’s brother.

“Often, she was way out front — a lonely place to be,” Cohen read. “Yet she thrived in the arena, sometimes bloodied by lesser souls — but never daunted, never defeated in her passionate zeal to make a positive difference."

Organizers have been trying to install a monument for years. The project got derailed when the YWCA closed in 2013 and a cement monolith for Friedan was displaced.

Members of the Betty Friedan Tribute Committee hope the bench will encourage Peoria's younger generations to learn about her legacy.

Friedan died in 2006. Organizers said others need to continue her fight for equal rights.