Welcome to the second issue of our monthly newsletter. March is Women’s History Month. This year’s theme, “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” recognizes the thousands of ways women of all cultures have provided healing and hope throughout history.
The celebration began in 1978 as Women’s History Week by the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women. In 1980, the National Women’s History Project (NHWP) was founded in Santa Rosa, California to broadcast women’s historical achievements. The observance eventually evolved into a month-long observance highlighting contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.
The National Women’s History Alliance and other women’s organizations campaigned yearly to recognize Women’s History Month. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8 Women’s History Week across the country. By 1986, 14 states had declared the entire month of March Women’s History Month. In March 1987, activists successfully lobbied Congress to declare March Women’s History Month.
The predecessor to National Women’s History Month is International Women’s Day started on March 8, 1911, as a global celebration of economic, political, and social achievements of women. It is celebrated around the world with demonstrations, educational initiatives, and customs such as presenting women with gifts and flowers.
Since 1975, the United Nations has sponsored International Women’s Day, “To recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality, and development of women, and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security.”
During the 2009 International Peace Summit in Vancouver, BC, the Dalai Lama emphasized the importance of women’s contributions when he said, “The world will be saved by the Western woman.”
This month, we in UUMS proudly shine a spotlight on our beloved “Reverend Mother”—the late Rev. Dr. Ruth M. Mosley, founder of Unity Urban Ministerial School in 1979—the year following establishment of Women’s History Week.
UUMS proudly recognizes and honors the contributions of all women who continue to make a difference in the lives of others. I encourage you to take the time to reflect on the stories of women like our very own Rev. Dr. Ruth Mosley, Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon, Myrtle Fillmore, Bishop Barbara King, Florence Scovel Shinn, May Rowland, Louise Hay, Catherine Ponder, Oprah, Alice Walker, Rev. JoAnn Watson, our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, sister-friends, and many others whose selfless contributions—large and small—are changing the world.
We welcome your feedback on this issue and suggestions for future articles.
“Only fools limit their women.” ~ Dr. Haki R. Madhubuti
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead