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Every year, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th. There is one International Women’s Day  I will never forget. I was in Costa Rica for the Peace Corps and had been there for only a couple of months. We had celebrated International Women’s Day in college and the year before, I had been with a group of friends to a huge women’s festival that took place over a few days including March 8th, in Washington, D.C., so when I saw an advertisement for an event celebrating el “Dia Internacional de la Mujer,” I was psyched!

On March 8th, I headed from the training grounds in Santa Ana to the capital, San Jose. There were quite a few people there, men and women, though mostly women. There were speakers and there was music. I started talking to a couple of women about the festival and about women’s issues in Costa Rica. We were hanging out for almost an hour when their other friend was going to leave. “Come on,” one of the women said.

I followed them to their friend’s car. I had known them for almost an hour. I had only been in Costa Rica since the beginning of January. I didn’t know San Jose that well. My Spanish was good, but I was still a ‘gringa,’ not like that was going away. They didn’t seem like they were going to hurt or kill me, not after our conversation. And they were feminists or they talked like they were. I climbed in the car.

I’d like to say I don’t know where we ended up. At the time I didn’t. But I could take you back there now and that was years ago. The next two years I visited that house quite a few times. When we got back there, they pulled out the Guaro, Costa Rica’s liquor. We smoked cigarettes, which I did at the time, drank Guaro and talked feminist and lesbian politics on into the night. It was a day and evening I will never forget. And it was so needed there in this new host country where I’d be for the next two-plus years. It was a feminist lifeline and it led me to more amazing women, a greater exploration into myself, and a lot of learning.

International Women’s Day has actually been around for over 100 years, so why did it take me until college to hear about it?

“On 8 March 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights and an end to child labour. They adopted the slogan ‘Bread and Roses’, with bread symbolizing economic security and roses a better quality of life.” Absolutely radical! To read more about the fascinating history of the day, click here: International Women’s Day: Looking Back. It’s awesome!

Events celebrating women are worldwide the week of March 8th. Be on the lookout for ones near you so you can go ahead and plan for them. I’ll list a couple of things going on around the U.S. but Google up your neck of the woods to see what’s going on to celebrate women.

San Antonio, TX- 22nd Annual San Antonio Women Will March– Saturday March 3rd, 2012- Plaza del Zacate- Theme: Women Leading The Rebirth, Mujeres al Frente del Renacimiento

Denver, CO- Women of the World (WOW), March 7-10. See some of the hottest women performance poets in the nation take the stage and rock it like only strong amazing women can do! Check out their Facebook.

Denver-Women + Film Voices Film Festival, March 6-11, 2012

Atlanta, GA– A seminar- not sure- check out their Facebook, Facebook.

Seattle, WA– *THURS MARCH 8, 4 – 6 pm, King County Courthouse Lawn & 9th Floor, Seattle; 17th Annual Candlelight Vigil. Please join API Safety Center & Chaya as we remember the WOMEN AND CHILDREN who have lost their lives to DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

If you have some extra cash, you might even consider a Mexican vacation, relaxing and being empowered. I saw advertised for Seattle and San Francisco, a three day transformational event in Isla de las Mujeres, Mexico. March 8,9, 10 with We Move Forward 2012.

San Francisco, CAWalk the Golden Gate Bridge– 11:00-1:00 “Be part of a global event and walk the Golden Gate Bridge in solidarity to demand peace, an end to violence against women and children, and a place for women at the peace negotiation tables.”

International Museum of Women’s 15th anniversary 2012 Annual Benefit. IMOW is an innovative online museum that showcases art, stories and ideas to celebrate, inspire and advance the lives of women globally. City Club of San Francisco, 155 Sansome Street, 10th Floor, will include wine and spirits, fine cuisine, art installations, and musical entertainment.

Albuquerque, NM– The Women & Creativity program has something for everyone. It is diverse in content, theme, cost and location; with events for children, young people and adults, there is truly something for everyone and all women empowering- check out the events if you’re from the southwest or going to be visiting.

International Women’s Day Poetry Reading- Sunday March 11, 2012 Poets: Debbi Brody, Kathamann, Moriah Williams, and Ann Hunkins at the Lucky Bean Downtown Cafe (in the old Borders) 500 Montezuma Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Washington, DC- 

Women’s Day Live– Claims to be the biggest gathering of women in history. A major concert and festival/conference …….Side note: I think this is the event I went to in 1994 or so and it was amazing with gazillions of women working to change the world. If you’re in D.C. or going to be near D.C. from March 4-11, look into it.

Africa Femmes Performantes, Inc. (Africa women of Excellence) are looking forward to having women from all over the world for the International Women’s day. The conference to be held March 8-9-10, 2012.

Grrl Code: Celebrate Women. Encourage young women to celebrate women, our accomplishments and who we are. Talk about International Women’s Day. Celebrate us as people. As activists. As students. As workers. As mothers. As sisters. As friends. As grandmothers. As poets. As musicians. As actors. As writers. As players of sports. As business women. As organizers. As world changers. Celebrate you. Celebrate us!