Celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month in Milton
by Doug Scibeck.
If you haven’t heard already, March is Women’s History Month. The Milton Public Library has a display front and center to observe and celebrate the vital role women have played in the history of America.
It goes back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911, which was March 8. Celebrations and conferences occurred yearly when President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the week of March 8, 1980 National Women’s History Week, ”From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung, and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.” In 1987, Congress designated March as Women’s History Month.
Each March has an annual theme from the National Women’s History Project. For 2018 it is “Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination against Women”. The National Women’s History Project, at nwhp.org, has the motto, “Writing Women Back into History.” It is a good resource to learn more about the national celebrations of women’s history. Another resource is womenshistorymonth.gov, where The Library of Congress, National Archives, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance, and celebration of the contribution of American women.
Closer to home, Boston has it’s own Women’s Heritage Trail. Check it out at BWHT.org. It has seven walks, featuring more than 200 women, where people can experience history.
In Milton, there are hosts of women like Sue Galvin, Katie Conlon, Patti Steiner Eliot, Mel Gillespie, Stephanie McFadden, Bridget Dujardin, Melissa Fassel Dunn, Maeve Hart, Julie Ritchie, Suzanne Lombardi, and Tina Harrington, to name only a few, involved in the community. They provide great examples for our young women to emulate as intelligent and empowered citizens.
Recently, I reached out and asked how some of these ladies will honor International Women’s Day and National Women’s History Month. Sophie Ko-Ro told me, “I celebrate March 8 every year and while I am grateful for the freedom and liberties we have here, I am also very aware that millions of women are still oppressed and victimized. On Thursday I will be hosting our yearly networking cocktail with multicultural women, from every industry, all career levels, and many different countries. (View more information about Women in Business Network’s event.)
And Joan Clifford, Executive Director of the Milton Art Center, told me, “On International Women’s Day, I’m grateful to the women in the past, present, and future that speak up and put themselves out there working towards equality for women. Women are the creators of the next generation – and understand that we are responsible for safe, equitable communities. We started our nonprofit community art center because art and music and storytelling are core to expressing our thoughts and feelings about what it’s like to live at this moment in time. Art, music, and writing help us stay sane during tumultuous times and can be used to draw attention to issues important to women – equality and respect are basic human rights. Thanks to all who keep our community strong. I’ll be watching #Frances McDormand movies on Women’s Day.”
With so many examples of noteworthy women both in Milton and in our history, our daughters, and sons, have much to be proud of. We can help them appreciate all that women have added, and continue to add, to our community and lives by honoring and celebrating women.