I was honored when the ladies from UN WOMEN SOCAL invited me to join their International Women's Day celebration as a keynote speaker. Women's history month and Intl. Women's Day is a wonderful opportunity to highlight the past, present and future of women's contributions and obstacles. It was enlightening to share that special day with an inspiring group of women dedicated to supporting gender equality and women's rights.
I focused my speech on female leaders, equal rights, freedom of expression, empowerment through the arts, technical literacy, education, the #HeForShe movement, and the mobilization of activists through technology. A full transcript of the 15 minute speech is coming soon, but here are 4 minutes of my favorite moments.
UN Women SoCal President CeCe Sloan and her team Lori Vandermier and Kathy Carchidi Belmont put together a lovely event filled with art, poetry, film, and progressive discussions. Polina Hyrn hosted the event, Lori Vandermier spoke about the evolvement of the USNC and the #HeForShe movement. Other speakers shared ideas on climate change, women in the arts, and sexual expression. It was great to meet the attendees and hear about their experiences in activism, from saving the seals in San Diego to fighting corporate polluters in the 60's. Susan Taylor from the Museum of Latin American Art introduced many of us to the inspiring, radical art of Argentine painter, sculptor, and performance artist Marta Minujín.
Minujin in front of her "Tower of Babel" sculpture comprised of 30,000 books, featured in Plaza San Martin, Buenos Aires. Check out Minujin, the values communicated through her colorful tapestry of work are impressive, surreal, and poignant. Linnea Lenkus spoke about the beauty of sexual empowerment through photographic expression versus sexual objectification through pornography. Author Margarita Noguera gifted us with with her joyful participation and poetry.
CeCe Sloan reviewed the History of International Women's Day and shared Catherine Murphy's meaningful documentary short film "Maestra", about the 250,000 volunteers (more than 50% women) that drove the literacy movement in Cuba in 1961.
"MAESTRA explores this story through the personal testimonies of the young women who went out to teach literacy in rural communities across the island - and found themselves deeply transformed in the process." - MaestraTheFilm.Org
Funding for UN Women was successfully raised thanks to UN Women SoCal President CeCe Sloan, the SoCal chapter team, the female artists who donated beautiful artwork for the silent auction, the attendees, and the sponsors who all contributed to this important cause. Overall it was an educational experience that united artists, activist, and supporters. Thank you again UN Women SoCal for the opportunity to celebrate International Women's Day.
If you would like to support UN Women's goals to end violence, promote equality, education, and health for women, please donate your time and/or money here:
If you are short on time and/or money please spread the word online and promote women's rights whenever you can! #SupportHeForShe #WomensRights365
I donated postcards featuring the UN Women "One Woman" artwork, so attendees could mail them to thank a woman that inspires them because, I feel it is paramount to show our gratitude to the people who influence us positively. I invited the audience to share a pearl of wisdom on the postcards, so we could post them online and pass these life lessons forward. Here are some uplifting pieces of advice. These are important because education doesn't just happen in school in happens every day in the our communities. Please comment to leave your own words of wisdom.
"Trust yourself...yes you can. To those who seem to limit you - (emotionally, physically, spiritually or otherwise) have the confidence to move on: Supporters are waiting for you when you arrive."
- Anonymous UN Women Supporter
"Even Abigail Adams tried to encourage John Adams to do something for the rights of women and give them the right to vote. in 1838 organized to get the vote. In 1863 they organized to support Lincoln & the Union. In 1918 women got the vote. Let's keep going!" - Anonymous UN Supporter