Women’s History Month Kingston goes virtual

WHMK Steering Committee members (clockwise from top left) Jess Myers, Ewelina Gasior, Erica Brown, Hillary Harvey, Troy Ellen Dixon, and Mariel Fiori. (Photo courtesy of Women’s History Month Kingston)

Each event in this year’s Women’s History Month Kingston program aims to “reimagine ways to celebrate people who identify as women”: from a live cooking demonstration of the Wise Woman Tradition and Native American Women Farmers and Leaders presented by the AJ Williams Myers African Roots Center, to a town hall-style panel on Women of Color in Education featuring education experts, to free yoga classes at the Yoga House, for women-identifying folks and caregivers.

See the calendar of events for times and dates: https://www.whmk.org/calendar-2020.

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The following additional Information on this month’s programming was shared with Hudson Valley One by event organizers:

The past is filled with the stories of women who have been forgotten, or whose lives or work were rendered invisible. That loss haunts our collective history, whether we acknowledge it or not. It leaves a residue of missed opportunity on future generations. In the late 1970s, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women set out to remedy the lack of representation of women in history books with a project for schools called “Women’s History Week.” It was held during the week of International Women’s Day (established on March 8th, 1911), and grew to be a monthlong celebration every March.In Kingston, a community collaboration was established in March 2019, where different organizers hosted events to highlight women’s history from diverse perspectives. Since then, WHMK has coordinated art exhibits, discussions, readings, presentations, film screenings, dance parties, and children’s programs. They’ve brought renowned women to Kingston and honored locals who have made an endurable impression on the community. Every year, they work to be more inclusive, intersectional, and accessible to people of different abilities, cultures, languages, citizenship status, and gender expressions. For WHMK, it’s about fostering compassion, understanding, empowerment, and pride.

Two events scheduled for this Women’s History Month celebration showcase the range of topics that WHMK seeks to explore. Sirens & Superstars, a virtual concert on March 20th from 2-3p, hosted by the Kingston Library, will feature Rhonda Denét, a vocalist, songwriter, and bandleader, as she presents unique interpretations of classic songs from the 1930s to the 1990s, which amplify 70 years of women’s contributions to the American Music landscape. And on March 26th from 7-8p, the idea garden will host local spoken word and dance performance art duo, Nia & Ness, whose short combination of two evening-length pieces ‘run.’ and ‘home.’ set to music by Garrett Miller will make visible the impacts of “microaggressions” on Black lesbian bodies, for a virtual audience.

In March 2021, the challenges are different than those in years past. (In 2020, WHMK was compelled to cancel much of their planned programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic.) “Until we are certain that members of our community can be safe when attending events, we need to be creative, innovative, and thoughtful when planning for March 2021,” WHMK Steering Committee member Erica Brown says. “It is important to recognize that the pandemic has been debilitating for some, and in so many ways, and there is no better time than now to showcase our resiliency as women and allies of women.”

For WHMK, jam-packing a month with happenings is not appropriate during an ongoing public health crisis, so WHMK will not be constrained by the single month of March. They are now accepting event submissions aligned with their mission throughout 2021. The form is available in English and in Spanish, thanks to a partnership with La Voz and WHMK Steering Committee member Mariel Fiori.

As the WHMK calendar evolves throughout the year, there will be more performances, discussions, presentations, readings, and renowned speakers. For more information and to stay current on the expanding list of WHMK events, visit WHMK.org.