Written by Jerilyn Fisher
Women’s History Month has its origin in the 1911 declaration of International Women’s Day. Decades later, in 1978, California librarians and teachers established a week of educational activities state-wide to recognize the little-known accomplishments and contributions of women throughout time. Finally, in 1987, upon the popularity of Women’s History Week, Congress proclaimed March as Women’s History Month across the nation. At Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, with nearly 70% of our students women, and with increasing numbers of men who openly support women’s equal rights, there is much to celebrate each year. Our 2015 Women’s History Month Calendar once again provides an enriching banquet of cultural and educational events.
- Come to hear an internationally-known feminist-activist artist speak about her work;
- attend an empowering “circle session” when a gifted poet will share how her art—and yours—can help heal those traumatized by sexual violence;
- watch films about brave women who brought evidence of having been sexually harassed to public attention;
- experience live theater for girls’ empowerment worldwide, and theater about women’s history;
- give tribute to women authors who have paved the way for others to write their stories;
- give tribute to our own emerging student writers who have won prizes in the annual Women’s History Month essay contest!
Join the celebrations, one and all ! Enrich your minds, let your hearts be stirred. Learning about diverse women’s history is not only acquired by studying texts. It’s also powerfully brought to consciousness through film, visual art, theater, and poetry. Experiencing the various celebrations planned for March can move us to become “part of the solution” for social change–as activist-writer-photographer Margaret Randall titled her biography about working alongside women in Cuba, Mexico, and Vietnam (Part of the Solution: Portrait of a Revolutionary. NY: New Directions, 1973)—Randall’s title draws from Eldridge Cleaver’s famous quotation). Margaret Randall follows in the footsteps of earlier women activists, journalists, and photographers such as Jovita Idar, Ida B. Wells, and Martha Gellhorn, whose whose work toward gender justice we remember this month.