U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew was in uptown Charlotte on Wednesday for a closed-door discussion about the new $10 bill redesign, which Lew has said will feature an iconic woman from American history.
Lew met with Mayor Dan Clodfelter and leaders – the majority of whom were women – from the Charlotte business, government and nonprofit sectors to hear their thoughts on the new design, which will be unveiled in 2020.
“There was no good reason to put off this decision and every good reason to move ahead, and to use the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage to recognize the role women played in American history,” Lew said in opening remarks.
Leaders represented an array of interests, from immigrants to higher education, from groups including the Levine Museum of the New South, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and Central Piedmont Community College.
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“Our goal was to have a conversation, not just in the closed meeting rooms of Washington, but around the country and through old and new technology,” Lew said, adding that he’s heard from 1.5 million people in the form of tweets, handwritten letters and meetings.
Lew said a priority with a currency redesign is to make it hard to make counterfeit bills. The other priority is to gauge public sentiment to determine not just which person will appear on the front, but also which ideas should be represented on the back of the $10 bills, the first of a series of new bills that will come out.
“I came away from the meeting thinking the question today is: What story do we want to tell?” said participant Deedee Mills, founder of the Behailu Academy, a Charlotte nonprofit.
Names that came out for the bill’s front, Mills said, included Harriet Tubman and Eleanor Roosevelt. The woman chosen will supplement the current face of the bill, Alexander Hamilton, the first treasury secretary.
Many U.S. lawmakers have focused on having a historical female figure replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill instead of redesigning the $10. A letter signed by 58 members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, a Democrat representing the 12th District, asked Lew to replace Jackson on the $20 bill with a woman. Jackson, many point out, was a slaveholder.
The new bills will have a tactile feature so that people who are sight-impaired will be able to know which bill they’re picking up, Lew added.
The public can learn how to share ideas about the redesign by visiting the Treasury Department’s website, as well as by using #TheNew10 hashtag to share ideas on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.