Jean Watkins is without a doubt someone that anyone would have called a pioneer or trailblazer back in the day. Some people would have a different term for it today such as self-starter, go-getter or even innovator; others might even use the term instigator. Whatever you want to call it, Watkins has spearheaded some pretty amazing things in her life, much right here in Mesquite. When it comes to Watkins, one can easily check ‘All of the above’ and then some.
From paving the way for women engineers in a large corporation to bringing the Ms. Senior Mesquite Pageant and the Mesquite Showgirls to town, Watkins has kept busy starting things up and passing them on to capable hands so she can start something else.
The something else Watkins is starting now is the Mesquite Women’s Center, only the second one opened in the entire state of Nevada. Her first project, for the center, was remodeling the offices located at 150 N. Yucca St., #23 into a space that is both welcoming and functional for almost anything. Decisions on how to best utilize the space haven’t been entirely ironed out by the board members; they are still in discussions and, before making firm decisions, want to consider public input.
The center is still in its infancy and the remodeling isn’t quite complete but that doesn’t hinder Watkins one bit, she’s pushing on with the next project in the midst of all the other startups.
Project number two is to honor who Watkins considers the “True Pioneers”, the women who fought desperately for other women’s right to vote.
In 1914 Nevada struck a blow for democracy, but not easily. It became one of the last states to ratify the nineteenth amendment, granting women the right to vote. “2014 was the centennial year for the beginning of women’s rights and nobody did anything,” said Watkins. “That was a huge step forward for women and nobody paid attention! 2020 is the centennial anniversary for the Women’s right to vote for the entire nation and I’m not going to let anyone overlook that.”
The first meeting was set; announcements went out and about 10 eager inquirers had to know what Watkins had up her sleeve now. Her enthusiasm, her story and her intentions hooked them all and the suggestions were flowing. Watkins was trying not to get writer’s cramp keeping up with the shout outs of ideas.
The group feels that there is a great start on some ideas for celebratory events leading up to and during the year 2020. Now for the planning and Watkins knows that events like these don’t happen overnight nor are they the product of one person’s work. Many hands are needed for the planning and implementation of events during the next two years, come one, come all and get in on the fun. Watkins will take all the eager beavers and hard workers who are willing to help.
For more information on the new Mesquite Women’s Center or how you can help plan the centennial celebrations, contact Jean Watkins at: SHOWGIRLS@rconnects.com.