International Women's Day

International Women's Day

Saturday 1/5, 1:30pm

International Women’s Day, celebrated March 8th each year, is a global celebration of women’s rights. Its roots begin with progressive political movements in Europe in the early 1900s. By then, however, in the United States, the movement for women’s rights was already well underway.

In the 1840s, two well-known female leaders of the American slavery abolitionist movement attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London but were denied seating with men – instead they had to sit behind a curtain and be neither seen nor heard.  These two women, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, agreed to return home and work toward a society where women’s voices would resound and their rights would be equal to men’s.

Their pact led to the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.  Mott and Stanton drafted and introduced, at the Convention, the Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances modeled closely on the Declaration of Independence. They added “women” to its preamble proclaiming “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal…” They went on to describe the injustices, inequities, and invisibilities that American women felt and ended with a call for action. They wanted U.S. women to organize and fight for equality. The Declaration of Sentiments and Grievances was ratified by the assembly which included Frederick Douglass, and the husbands of many of the women in attendance. They also passed 12 resolutions for equal rights for women including the ninth resolution that proclaimed women’s right to vote. This effectively marked the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement in America.

Following the Seneca Falls Convention, many national woman’s rights conventions were held annually throughout the United States with many focusing on women’s suffrage. In 1866, Mott joined with Stanton and Susan B. Anthony to establish the American Equal Rights Association but in 1868 Mott retired from public life.  The younger Stanton founded the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) in 1869 along with Susan B. Anthony. More than 70 years after the women’s suffrage movement began in Seneca Falls, Congress passed the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote in 1920.

Around this same time in European countries, women also gained voting rights and began to celebrate Women’s Day on March 8th.  In many countries, it became a public holiday with fanfare comparable to Mother’s Day in the U.S.  The United Nations officially recognized International Women’s Day in 1975. 

The 2019 theme of International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter meaning a gender-balanced world is better because it gives everyonea part to play - all the time, everywhere.

KOOP is proud to join in the annual celebration of International Women’s Day. Our guest to help us recognize this special day if Fatima Mann. Fatima is the Director and Founder of the Community Advocacy and Healing Project. 

Fatima Mann’s life’s mission is to be a vessel for others to experience the full joy of loving and accepting themselves. She is a first generation college graduate and the only lawyer on her maternal and paternal side.  She has worked arduously to transform herself from a person who used to cope with her traumas through self-mutilation, to being free to love and accept herself. She has transcended the trauma of being a womayn of African descent through meditation, becoming a yoga instructor, and serving others systematically oppressed and ostracized. Fatima learned how to serve others through joining AmeriCorps Vista in 2013, which catapulted her into a life of service. Her personal experiences and continuous service in the heart of systematically oppressed communities molded her into a cultivator of social equity.

Serving as an AmeriCorps Vista, pushed her to become involved in combating police brutality through co-founding the Austin Justice Coalition (AJC) an Austin based social justice organization. Her work with AJC allowed her to participate in the creation of the body wearing camera policy for the Austin Police Department. She eventually attended and graduated in 2018, from  Southern University Law Center (SULC). As a full time law student Fatima co-founded ​Counter Balance: ATX (CBATX)​ a Austin-based self-care and social justice organization. Fatima served as Executive Director of CBATX,  receiving several awards, including the 2018 National Association of Social Workers Public Citizen of the Year Award, 2018 Measure Austin Big Data & Community Policing Appreciation Award, and the 2017 Austin Community College Equity Activist Award. She also served as CBATX’s policy advisor and aided in the passing of the Sandra Bland Act. Upon graduation of law school she recognized the need for advocacy through a healing lens and founded ​Community Advocacy and Healing Project.

As a cultivator of social equity she became an architect of experiences centralized around the mindfulness of people’s cultural needs. Her efforts for culturally mindful care led her to create Community Restoration Project (CRP), during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, a culturally mindful approach to disaster relief. Since 2017, she has assisted in facilitating the rescuing of over 400 people, fundraising approximately $30,000, collecting and distributing over three tons of supplies.  She distributed portions of supplies in five cities in Texas, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and Wilmington, NC, during Tropical Storm Florence.  Under her management, CRP, placed 40 families in hotels and Airbnbs instead of cots in shelters during Hurricane Harvey. 

Fatima’s dedication to being a vessel and serving others allowed her to nominated for Austin’s

40 under 40 in 2016 and 2017, she’s received the New Leaders Council first Progressive Leadership Award in 2017, the 2017 Capitol Area Democratic Women Leadership Champion, and the Louisiana State Bar Student Pro Bono 2018 Award.

Fatima utilizes her law degree, yoga, and mindfulness practices to inspire others to love and accept themselves through cultivating various forms of experiences. Fatima’s personal and professional experience continously inspires her to share her learns and opportunities with others through public speaking and trainings.  She wants everyone to remember to drink water, take moments to take deep breaths, and take care of themselves.