In an effort to celebrate the legacy, accomplishments and contributions of African-American women during two months-Black History Month, which is held in February, and Women’s History Month, in March—when they are sometimes overlooked, New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice will hold their 5th annual Women of Color HERStory Month Celebration, which will run from Feb. 15 through March 29.
“The idea for (WOCHM) was to celebrate women of color during Black History month and Women’s History Month because there was a lack of opportunity to celebrate ourselves, women of color, during these months,” said La’Tasha Mayes, founder and executive director of New Voices Pittsburgh.
New Voices Pittsburgh, which was established in 2004, is a grassroots Human Rights organization for, led by and about women of color and that is committed to building a local movement for reproductive justice and to educate communities of color about Human Rights and to develop new voices for leadership in the Greater Pittsburgh area.
Mayes said one of the missions of the organization is to make sure women of color, their families and the community are well physically, emotionally, spiritually, economically, socially and environmentally.
WOCHM began in 2008 and since then, has steadily increased with participation from the community of more than 1,000 individuals.
Some of the highlighted events during the celebration include the receiving of a proclamation from City Council; a Young Women’s Celebration: Sisterhood, Empowerment and Leadership; a Women of Color Political Luncheon, which will include several speakers and engage guests with national activists, community leaders and politicians discussing the various issues women of color face; a Kinks, Locks and Twist: Environmental and Reproductive Justice Conference, which is a one-day conference with workshops and entertainment, where experts will connect beauty, culture, policy, media and the economy to personal environment, behavior change and community development; and a 8th Anniversary Celebration Women of Color HERStory Month Concert, featuring a national recording artist, local artists and a celebration of the achievements made by NVP.
Co-Director of Just Harvest Tara Marks said, “It’s wonderful to know that New Voices Pittsburgh will host Women’s HERStory Month again. Like Black History Month, it’s a shame we only use one month to recognize the contributions of women, especially women of color.” She added that she cannot thank NVP enough for the work they are doing and for recognizing the work of women and up and coming leaders.
When asked what she hopes people will take away from this event, Mayes said, “For women of Color to celebrate ourselves, a sense of belonging to a community and that there are opportunities for us to come together and that there can be a multi-generational and cultural approach to human rights.” But most importantly, she said she wants people to take away the idea, “that women of Color are not only leading, but have been leaders in this region.”
For more information on the events and locations, call 412-450-0290 or visit www.womenofcolorherstory.org.