Skydiving team celebrates 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote with aerial display

ONLY ON LOCALSYR.COMPosted: Jul 17, 2020 / 08:17 PM EDT / Updated: Jul 17, 2020 / 08:17 PM EDT

SENECA FALLS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Nearly 175 years ago, the first convention for women’s rights was held in Seneca Falls and this weekend, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, a team of skydivers will descend onto the place where the movement all began.

Skydiving is like second nature for Amy Chmelecki and Melanie Curtis, who have both logged over 10,000 jumps during their careers, but Saturday’s skydive into Seneca Falls won’t be like any other.

“We are doing a demonstration jump into the birthplace of the women’s rights movement, Seneca Falls, New York,” Melanie Curtis, a member of the Highlight Pro Skydiving Team, said. 

Amy Chmelecki, another member of the Highlight Pro Skydiving Team, said, “The Highlight team’s main mission for 2020 is to commemorate the 19th amendment. So, this is actually our first stop this season, for this mission, and Seneca Falls is such a big deal, it’s such a big part of the history of women’s suffrage because of the Seneca Falls Convention. It’s definitely a massive honor for us to be able to do this jump.”

The jump on Saturday, July 18 will feature four skydivers who will be carrying streamers in the colors that represent the Women’s Suffrage movement — purple, white and goldish-yellow — along with a canopy that says “Vote.”

The team is commemorating the 19th amendment, encouraging people to vote and inspiring women all along the way.

“We hope that when young girls see us doing what we do that they believe that they can do it too, because they can, and skydiving is so much fun, and if it’s something that you’re attracted to and it’s something you’d like to do, go for it,” Chmelecki said. “Not only skydiving, but the world is often bigger than what you originally think it is. So, whatever that looks like to you, wherever your heart pulls you, we encourage you to go for it.”

The 5,500-foot jump would bring a lot of nerves to most people, but for the Highlight Pro Skydiving Team, it’s more excitement, as the weather calls for sunny skies on Saturday. 

“I am so excited,” Curtis said. “I think I would be a little more nervous if there were questionable weather forecasts, but it’s 91 degrees and it’s complete sunny skies. So, when that element is out of the question mark zone, that piece that we can’t control is handled, and so then it’s just about going through our process and executing on the process, and working together as a team.”

Highlight Pro Skydiving will make three more jumps to commemorate the 19th amendment in the month of August, including one in Tennessee on the day they ratified the 19th amendment in 1920, which allowed the amendment to become a law. 

“So, we have about 11 people total, and then there’s groups of three to five going to each jump. Except for our jump in Nashville, it’s going to be the whole team,” Chmelecki said.

The all-female skydiving team will be celebrating the history of the Women’s Suffrage movement on Saturday, as they try to inspire a new generation of women leaders. 

Curtis said, “Talking about representation, in skydiving, only 13% of skydivers are women. So, part of our effort is to show what’s possible, but not just in skydiving, but also outside of skydiving. So, the idea, like Amy said, inspiring women and girls to live a bold, brave life of their own design.”