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March 2023 Cultural Events

Women’s History Month

Did You Know? Women’s History Month started as Women’s History Week

Women’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California, when The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women planned and executed a “Women’s History Week” celebration in March of 1978 to coincide with International Women’s Day. Two years later, an association of women’s groups and historians led by the National Women’s History Project successfully lobbied for national recognition, and President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8th, 1980, as National Women’s History Week. Subsequent Presidents continued to recognize the week until 1987, when Congress passed a public law designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” Since 1995, every President has issued an annual proclamation designating March as “Women’s History Month.”

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March 1st

Peace Corp logo1961: President John F. Kennedy signs Executive Order 10924 establishing the Peace Corps for the purpose of promoting international volunteer efforts in developing countries. Since its founding in 1961, over 240,000 Americans have served in over 140 nations to fight hunger, protect the environment, foster democracy and improve access to technology.

1975: Technical Sergeant Leonard P. Matlovich, a Vietnam Veteran and a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, revealed his sexual orientation to his commanding officer. He was forcibly discharged from the Air Force six months later. In 1980, the Court of Appeals ruled that the dismissal was improper. Matlovich was awarded his back pay and a retroactive promotion.

March 2, 1982

Wisconsin is the first state to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation.

March 4th

 image of Jeannette1917: Jeannette Rankin (R-MT) took her seat as the first female member of Congress.

1933: Frances Perkins became United States Secretary of Labor, making her the first female member of the United States Cabinet.

March 8th- International Women's Day

International Women’s Daybegan in 1910 to advocate for greater women’s rights, particularly the right to vote. Celebrated annually on March 8th, International Women’s Day offers an opportunity to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

Different organizations coordinate the themes of Internation Women’s Day. The United Nations is one of the main organizations that coordinates in this regard. UN Women officially recognized International Women’s Day in 1977. The UN theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. This theme is aligned with the priority theme for the upcoming 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-67), “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”.

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Photo: UN Trust Fund/Phil Borges

Under the theme the United Nations Observance of International Women's Day 2023 will highlight the need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education recognizes and celebrates the women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education. IWD 2023 will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. The event will also spotlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.

The IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme seeks to get the world talking about why “equal opportunities are no longer enough” - and can in fact be exclusionary, rather than inclusive.

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Strike the #EmbraceEquity pose in support of IWD2023

March 10th- Happy Birthday, Harriet Tubman! (1822-1923)

An American abolitionist and political activist, Harriet Tubman was born into slavery as Araminta Ross. Tubman escaped and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, including family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. During the American Civil War, she served as an armed scout and spy for the Union Army. In her later years, Tubman became an activist in the movement for women's suffrage.

Little known fact: Early in life, she suffered a traumatic head wound when an irate overseer threw a heavy metal weight intending to hit another enslaved person but hit her instead. The injury caused dizziness, pain, and spells of hypersomnia, which occurred throughout her life. After her injury, Tubman began experiencing strange visions and vivid dreams, which she ascribed to premonitions from God. These experiences, combined with her Methodist upbringing, led her to become devoutly religious.

March 12, 1993

 image of JanetJanet Reno was sworn in as the first female attorney general of the United States. Nominated by President Bill Clinton, Reno was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on March 11, 1993.

March 17, 1910

Camp Fire Girls was established as the first interracial, non-sectarian American organization for girls.

March 18th- Holi (Hindu)

 image of Holi This is the Hindu celebration of the winter harvest and the coming of spring. Sometimes referred to as the festival of love, Holi celebrates the triumph of good over evil and is a festive day to socialize, forgive past resentments towards one another and repair broken relationships. One of the most recognizable aspects of Holi is celebrating with vibrant colors, which brings positivity to life.

March 21st

United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

This day is observed annually on the day police in Sharpeville, South Africa killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid in 1960. While many racist laws and practices have been abolished, many individuals, communities and societies suffer from the injustice and stigma that racism brings. Each year, the UN focuses the day on a different UN initiative to reduce racism.

World Down Syndrome Day

Officially observed by the United Nations since 2012, World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) is a global awareness day encouraging people across the world to join in advocating for the rights, inclusion and wellbeing of people with Down Syndrome. The celebration date of March 21st was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome, which causes Down Syndrome.

March 23, 2018: Trump bans Transgender people from Military Service

In a tragic reversal of a historic step forward for the United States, the Trump administration announces a new policy that bans most transgender people from serving in military. The malevolent demagogue instructed the Armed Serves to begin discharging transgender service members effective April 12.After several court battles, the Supreme Court allows the ban to go into effect in January 2019. The ban remained in effect until January 25, 2021, when it was rescinded by President Joe Biden.

March 31st- International Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV)

This day is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments and victories of transgender and gender non-conforming people. It is also focused on bringing awareness to the work that still needs to be done to save trans lives. It has a goal to fight cissexism and transphobia by spreading knowledge of the trans community.