Simmons Hosts International Women’s Day Celebration

March 09, 2017

IWD 2017 panelists

Simmons hosted the 20th annual Boston-area International Women’s Day Celebration!

“We are in this together,” said Alejandra St. Guillen, director of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Advancement. “We have allies and we need to let people lead the way in what they know how to do.”

St. Guillen’s message was among several calls to action by the speakers at the 20th annual Boston-area International Women’s Day Celebration titled “Responding to Changing Policies: Engaging Women’s Voices.” More than 100 people attended the event held in the Linda K. Paresky Conference Center at Simmons College, which has hosted the event since 2001.

Panelists also included Chastity Bowick, co-director of the Transgender Emergency Fund; Zeyneb Pervane Magavi, co-coordinator, Mothers Out Front; and Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, an internationally recognized attorney who works to raise awareness of threats of violence facing the Muslim community. The event was moderated by Sylvia Ferrell-Jones, President and CEO, YW Boston.

Bowick spoke about her advocacy on behalf of the transgender community, IWD 2017 panelists smilingdescribing the need for resources and support with issues including health care and housing. She invited participants to join her at a march for transgender rights in Louisiana that is being organized for August 8. “The time for action is now,” she said.

“Our relationship-based approach doesn’t just build community, it builds power,” said Magavi, who described the work of Mothers Out Front, an advocacy group working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. Magavi encouraged participants to reach out to their elected officials and urge them to support legislation that would help reduce gas leaks and protect consumers from paying for unaccounted for gas.

Jill Ashton, director of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, provided closing remarks, as well as Marie Turley, senior policy analyst for women and senior programs at the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, who gave a brief history of the event and recognized the event’s founders including Diane Hammer, Simmons’ Director of Community Engagement.

The celebration included attendees from organizations that serve greater Boston including the Big Sister Association, the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, the Massachusetts National Organization of Women, and the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom.

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8 and has been recognized for more than 100 years by countries and women’s organizations around the world. Each year thousands of events are held on this date to serve an inspiration for women everywhere, as well as to celebrate their great achievements.

(Top: Tahirah Amatul-Wadud takes the podium next to fellow panelists Alejandra St. Guillen, Chastity Bowick, and Zeyneb Pervane Magavi. Right: Alejandra St. Guillen, Sylvia Ferrell-Jones, Zeyneb Pervane Magavi, Chastity Bowick, and Tahirah Amatul-Wadud. Photo credit: Diane Hammer.)