March 8, 2011: Keepers at the Gate

One hundred years ago today, Germany declared this day as International Women’s Day (IWD). Initially known as International Working Women’s Day, this day was reserved to reflect on the struggles and strides of women, and pay tribute for the opportunities granted and achievements made by women throughout history and across the globe; disregarding divisions, religion, culture, economics, politics, and linguistics. Sixty-six years later in 1977, the United Nations re-proclaimed this day in honor of Women’s Rights and International Peace. March 8th is a day to enlighten, reflect, honor, celebrate, and embrace the considerable progress of women who came before us, and the women who will come after us.

Women of all cultures and ethnicities have been significant to the human race and their contributions and accomplishments throughout history have been extensive. Though a feminist, Margaret Brent served as an advocate for Human rights and women’s suffrage during the early 1600’s. Sojourner Truth was indeed, the truth, as she advocated for women’s rights and abolition, prison reform, and raised money for black Union soldiers. Susan B. Anthony was an activist, and perhaps the 19th century’s most powerful organizer of the women’s movement; she fought for women’s right to vote and against slavery in the temperance campaign to limit the use of alcohol. Despite her physical restrictions of being both deaf and blind, Helen Keller not only overcame her own disabilities, but wrote, lectured, and worked for social reform to promote progressive causes for persons with disabilities. Harriet Tubman, conductor and leader, facilitated more than 300 slaves to freedom. For all her brilliance and forthrightness, I enjoy the writings of Zora Neale Hurston, anthropologist, novelist, and the most prolific black woman writer of the 1930’s. Rosa Parks was looking out – not only for her own progression, but for ours too. She must have known of the evolution her audacity would spark many years down the line. Clara Barton’s determination and dedication as a teacher, humanitarian, civil rights activist, and nurse, helped her to found and organize the American Red Cross, an organization established to bring about aid to thousands of victims throughout the world.

All of these women gave us much to consider; and all of these women left us with great legacies to follow and continue to employ. They gave us their strength, their courage, and their inheritance to go by. With all that they had to contend with and endure, their tenacity and vigor stood the test of time. Over time and throughout history, women of all nationalities have without question, been the keepers at the gate.

Many of us remember our great-grandmothers who went to work outside the home; our grandmothers who steered the house and kept the family grounded; and our mothers who stitched our dresses from patterns of scratch and made canned preserves from the fruit we picked off the trees in the backyard. And there is us, the present household “headmasters” – who continue to serve in great capacities, including serving in the community and being an innovative voice for those who cannot speak. We eventually realize just how many hats we do wear and that our functions are many. We are mothers, advocates, organizers, professionals, sisters, wives, aunts, grandmothers, guardians, godmothers, caregivers, mentors, leaders, and indeed, sister-friends. Sisterhood is essential. However, the contributions made over time by that of many women, [too many to count] have not only served as a great advantage to women, but to men as well.

Women revolutionize. Women are leaders of change. Women are strong. And women – make a difference.

While signing a proclamation that officially designated the month of March as Women’s History Month in the United States, President Obama said, “My Administration has elevated the rights of women and girls abroad as a critical aspect of our foreign and national security policy. Empowering women across the globe is not simply the right thing to do; it is also smart foreign policy.”

We are WOMEN, phenomenally. The sky has no limit to what we can achieve!

Love for your Tuesday. Celebrate sisterhood and International Women’s History Month.

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