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History of International Women of Color Day

International Women of Color Day celebrates diverse women of color, their contributions, and their traditions. It is celebrated in 25 states across America and five other countries. This day also celebrates supporters of women of color; men, other women, and interest groups that fight against discrimination, sexism, and racism in everyday life.

Each year in March we take the opportunity to intentionally recognize and relish in the numerous contributions made to humanity from amazing women! March 1st of each year we celebrate women with an emphasis on contributions made from women of color from around the world! It is these amazing women that we hear about that encourage us to thrive and not merely exist. There are three perspectives, three women whose stories have had a great impact on me: Sacagawea: The Seer, Harriet Tubman: The Goer, and Queen Nandi: The Mother.

Sacagawea was a Lemhi Shoshone woman who helped the Lewis and Clark Expedition achieve each of its chartered mission objectives, exploring the Louisiana Purchase. Her skills as a translator were invaluable, as was her intimate knowledge of some difficult terrain. Perhaps most significant was her calming presence on both the expedition team and with the Native Americans they encountered.

She represents vision and the ability to maneuver and influence. With her knowledge of the terrain and connection with Native Americans, she was able to safely guide expeditions and accomplish set objectives. As The Seer, she empowers us to use our known environments as a resource to get us to our destination, to recognize its familiarity and memorize what next steps to take to avoid pitfalls and dead ends. As we each journey through our lives, there will come a time when we must rely on memory and will need to recall the most hidden parts of our past successes. In times of new expeditions, we will need to visualize/see what victory or completion looks like. We must see ourselves in our future state, past the rough terrain, past the conflicts and on to victory. Sacagawea The Seer use vision!

Harriet Tubman was an escaped enslaved woman who became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad. She led enslaved people to freedom before the Civil War, all while carrying a bounty on her head. But she was also a nurse, a Union spy and a supporter of women’s suffrage. She is one of the most recognized icons in American history. Her legacy has inspired many people from every race and background.

Ancestor Harriet paved a way out of no way. Creating an indivisible railroad to freedom. The Goer is who she is to me. The woman of great courage and skill. Developing a hidden, yet well-defined and successful blueprint to freedom. The Goer grants us courage, stamina, and the strength of consistency. Her ability to recreate success with each trip on the Underground Railroad is what we should model as we tackle the journeys of life. Harriet’s contribution to humanity was the example of successful execution and courage

One of the greatest African queens, Queen Nandi, has an extraordinary legacy intertwined with that of her son Shaka Zulu. If you did not cry at her funeral, you would most likely have been executed. This heroine of the Zulu monarchy shaped the Zulu kingdom all whilst overcoming the rejection and animosity of the people. She was an incredible mother who dedicated her life to her children and paved the way for her son, King Shaka Zulu, to consolidate the Zulu kingdom, transforming it into one of Southern Africa’s most formidable civilizations. Behind every great man, there is an even greater woman.

The Mother of Zulu! How I revel in her tenacity and determination. Queen Nandi is the epitome of a mother’s love and perfect example of resilience. She represents each strong woman before me, each generation of women that refused to let society define or hinder them. Queen Nandi’s exalting love is the way I mother my son, my mother mothered me, my grandmother mothered her, and my great-grandmother mothered her. It is the tradition in which I am proud to inherit and pass on to future generations. It is the contribution and sacrifice of mothers that permit our offspring to believe in accomplishing the impossible.

The Seer, The Goer, and The Mother have forever impacted me. They represent the richness of the tapestry that makes up my DNA. They have instilled in me the ability to see further than I’ve gone, to go further than any have gone before me, and to birth possibles from the impossible.  It is the courage of women to speak when told to be seen and not heard. It is the fierceness of women that dare us to be great despite being told to stay in the shadows. It is the collective contribution of every woman that allows humanity to soar at its highest. Celebrate the women in your life, and the impacts of their history!