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Celebrating Women’s History Month

Nashika Stanbro

PRSA Puget Sound Diversity and Inclusion Committee

March is designated as Women’s History Month, an annual celebration where we honor women who have made an impact on history, American culture and our lives. Each year the National Women’s History Alliance selects and publishes the yearly theme. The theme for Women's History Month in 2021 is Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.

Women’s History Month is an opportunity to learn about those who paved the way for others to walk through doors, break barriers and make real change. The National Women’s History Museum is a wonderful resource to learn about the suffrage movement, standing up for change, or women of the civil rights movement through online exhibits and the Women’s History Month toolkit.

Another way to participate is to focus on learning about a few women in history who have influenced your life in some special way. This year, I am reflecting on the life of civil rights activist Rosa Parks. Parks is best remembered for her brave act of resistance by refusing to give up her seat on a bus at a time when Black people were required to sit in the back of the bus or stand if there were not any seats available in designated sections. When asked about this moment, Parks said, “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically … No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”

Her bold actions caused a ripple that became a pivotal moment for the civil rights movement and equity in transit. Her arrest for refusing to give up her seat highlighted inequities in the public transit system for all to see. As a Black woman working in public transit and a life-long bus rider, Parks has been a hero of mine since I was very young. In 1990 I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at an event in Yakima, Wash. Hearing her story, in her own words and learning about her personal sacrifices in order to be the face of a movement have always brought me courage to prioritize doing what is right in my life.

Parks once said, “Each person must live their life as a model for others.” Without knowing it, she was a role model for me and so many others.

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee invites you to take time this month to learn about a woman in history who has lived their life boldly, made history and paved the way for others to do the same. The March 11th: Equity in Action- Improve Operational Structure by Developing Diverse Leaders program featuring Dr. Aerial Ellis.

Turn Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) from buzz words into real action at your organization, with solid methods and scalable ways to identify leadership training and leadership skills for more equitable, diverse and inclusive organizations. Learn how to do a self-check and help leaders acknowledge societal inequities and understand, unintentionally, their organization is not a level playing field. Dr. Aerial Ellis, assistant professor at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., and PRSA Foundation President, Board of Trustees, is a strategist and storyteller who launched her first PR company at age 22. Recognized by PR News and the Huffington Post, she is managing principal of Advisory 83, a communication consultancy with clients such as AIG, Microsoft, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and others addressing cultural competency, global communication, intergenerational culture and DEI.

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