Working Class Women Founded International Women’s Day

In honor of International Women’s Day (today), here is a link to a great article at the Vancouver weekly, the Georgia Straight.

Remembering the working class roots of International Women’s Day
by Hetty Alcuitas

An excerpt:

Today, for working-class women and children, the chaos and crisis caused by imperialism is a daily fact of life. At the same time, the organization and resistance of the people is growing—often with women in the lead as we stand up for ourselves and our sisters, our families, and our communities.

She also discusses how this day is inspired by the Jewish and Italian immigrant garment workers protesting in New York City, and how this spirit was later carried further by protesting Russian peasant women.

Jana Mackey Day & International Women’s Day

Jana MackeyJana Mackey was a friend of mine in college. Read about her story here and check out the press release below.

For Immediate Release February 27, 2009

March 8th – “Jana Mackey Day in Kansas”

Hays, KS – In the coming days Kansas lawmakers will be joining Governor Kathleen Sebelius in recognizing International Women’s Day on March 8th by honoring a recent victim and fatality of domestic violence.

Jana Mackey, a 25 year old KU law student was murdered by her ex-boyfriend last July in Lawrence. Jana was well known throughout Kansas for her work on many women’s issues.

Governor Sebelius has signed a proclamation recognizing March 8th as a “Jana Mackey Day in Kansas.”

On March 5th Senator Janis Lee (D-Kensington) and Senator Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence) will be sponsoring a resolution honoring Mackey. On the House side, Representative Eber Phelps (D-Hays), Representative Barbara Ballard (D-Lawrence), and Representative Paul Davis (D-Lawrence) will be presenting Mackey’s family with a formal certificate on March 9th.

Mackey, who grew up in Hays, had spent endless hours volunteering to aid victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. She had also served three years as one of the youngest lobbyists at the Kansas Capitol with the National Organization for Women.

After her death, Mackey’s family and friends established a national campaign to help her service live on through others. Symbolic of the number of people who attended her funeral, the Eleven Hundred Torches campaign urges hundreds of ordinary citizens to serve others.

Governor Sebelius has joined the campaign and is calling on all Kansans to set aside time on March 8th to volunteer in their communities.

Special volunteer events are being planned in Hays and in Lawrence on that day.

International Women’s Day began in 1908 with a 15,000 women’s march through New York City calling for equal voting and work rights for women. In 1913 the event was officially scheduled as March 8th. Today International Women’s Day is celebrated world-wide and is an official holiday in 15 nations.

For more information about Eleven Hundred Torches, see their website at www.1100torches.org.