This year, 2008, will mark the 97th annual International Women’s Day (March 8). The first International Women’s Day was launched on March 8, 1911 in Copenhagen by Clara Zetkin, Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany. This followed many years of women’s campaigning dating back to British MP, John Stuart Mill, the first person in Parliament calling for women’s right to vote. On September 19, 1893 New Zealand became the first self-governing nation in the world to give women the right to vote.
As a Xicana, with internationalist politics, it is very important to me to help center Third World Women in Women’s Day celebrations as the local level. I make the effort to put forth art and graphics which reflect the realities of women in our communities as well as show how complex and diverse those realities are.
This year I am participating in shows through out California. Mujeres de Maiz, a collective of women of color artists based in Los Angeles is organizing a month long series of intercultural, intergenerational and interdisciplinary art events called Somos Medicina (We are Medicine). This series of events celebrates the collective’s 11th anniversary, the 6th volume of their zine Mujeres de Maiz and International Women’s Day.
Community based Self Help Graphics & Art in East L.A. is hosting the multi-media art exhibit highlighting women artists like well respected artists Barbara Carrasco, Yreina Cervantez, my mentor Celia Herrera-Rodriguez and younger/emerging artists like my friend Favianna Rodriguez, Marisol L. Torres and Gina Aparicio. Their description of the show is as follows:
” ‘In the spirit of our ancestors we are facilitating the creation this space/exhibit where there is dialogue about the contribution of women’s work to the decolonization and healing of our communities and selves.’ Invited artists include those whose work speaks of the political as well as spiritual alternatives to Eurocentric and patriarchal worldviews; and embracing the “Medicina,” the medicine that exists within all of us.” Other events that are part of this series are listed at www.mujeresdemaiz.com.
In San Ysidro (San Diego) there is a new venue and collaborative of Art, Culture, Design & Urbanism space called The Front
who is hosting a show in collaboration with The Red CalacArts Collective, El Circulo de Mujeres de Color and the San Diego Latino Film Festival called Mujeres: Fuerte como el amor/ Womyn: bold as love.
I am also doing the graphic design for the advertising for City of Richmond’s first annual celebration and conference for Women’s Day called “Women in Solidarity: Honoring self, honoring community.”