March 8th is International Women's Day. This is a day for celebrating social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all around the globe. "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights," says world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem. In that spirit, here are four great ways to celebrate the local women and organizations that make Tucson a better place.
1. Buy (and read) books by women authors from locally owned bookstores. Established in 1973, woman owned Antigone Books is the oldest feminist bookstore in the United States. On March 8th, stop in to peruse their shelves and ask the helpful staff for recommendations. Antigone Books will be donating 10% of all sales on that day to women’s health. Antigone is also offering complimentary postcards for customers to send to elected officials. Speak out to let your representatives know about women’s issues that matter to you. Check out Antigone’s Mocha Girls Book group reading Around the Way Girl by Taraji P. Henson and the Feminist Book group’s reading of Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Tucson activist Jes Baker.
2. Dine at a woman owned business. Jo Schneider of Bentley’s House of Coffee & Tea and La Cocina was described by her employees as being “like your boss, your mom, and a superhero wrapped into one” in Edible Baja AZ’s Ten Southern Business Owners You Need To Know. Donna DiFiore has run Delectables Restaurant & Catering, a longtime favorite for gourmet fare and standout catering on 4th Avenue, since the 1970’s. Maria Mazon is the chef and owner at Boca Tacos, turning out some of Tucson’s best loved tacos. The northside of Tucson houses Gourmet Girls Gluten-Free Bakery/Bistro, one of the best spots in Arizona for all things gluten free, thanks to the efforts of Susan Fulton and Mary Gibson. French chef, Coralie Satta learned to cook with her mother at the age of two. Now she owns and serves up French fare at Ghini’s at the corner of Prince and Campbell. Cecilia Arosemena turned her cure into a calling making custom raw juices at Dish for Dosha.
Support these hard working women and others in the community on International Women’s Day.
3. Listen to music by women artists. Local community radio station, KXCI will commemorate International Women’s Day with an all-women lineup from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. Women programmers at the station will be playing women artists from many different genres. The station will also be broadcasting interviews throughout the day with participants from the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona Unidas program. The program trains high school aged women in leadership and social justice.
4. Support nonprofits that support women. The YWCA will be celebrating 100 Years of empowering women on May 4th. Take a seat at the table to help the Southern Arizona YWCA in their fight for economic and social justice for women. On March 8th, the YWCA's Frances McClelland Community Center will host a press conference at 11am where local leaders will discuss women and education, healthcare, equity, the Women’s Strike and the legacy of feminist organizing on International Women’s Day. The center will also host action stations from 9 -12pm. Visitors are invited to come join staff at the YWCA for free coffee and donuts all morning and meet with representatives from women’s advocacy groups.
Local First Arizona’s own founder, Kimber Lanning, was honored with the ATHENA Award in 2013. The ATHENA Award’s program mission is “to become the foremost agent of change by helping individuals and organizations open doors of leadership opportunity to women.” As the owner of two local businesses, Stinkweeds and Modified Arts, Lanning has worked tirelessly to make sure that local entrepreneurship is an option for women across the state of Arizona. One program run by the Local First Arizona Foundation, The Fuerza Local Business Accelerator Program, is a Spanish language course series that graduates dozens of Latino micro-entrepreneurs each year. Of the businesses that graduated the program in 2016, 58% are women owned. Learn more about the program here.