The YWCA of Central Massachusetts sponsored the area's 2017 Celebration of International Women's Day on Tuesday, March 7. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey was the keynote speaker reported on work on equal pay legislation, protections for pregnant and nursing mothers in the workplace, and her office's advocacy on immigration, mental health, opioid abuse, sexual violence and other issues that impact women. She called attention to her office's Hate Crime Hotline (1-800-994-3228), which is open 24/7.
The YWCA's director of racial and gender equality, Maritza Cruz, spoke about embracing activism to create social change. The event's theme, "Be Bold for Change," was exemplified in the reading of quotes by famous women who worked for change.
Entertainments included a performance of a Lion Dance by the Southeast Asian Coalition. Handcraft artisans offered their work for sale and advocacy groups (such as Abby's House, ACLU, Mass Rehab and MassEdCO) offered services.
A large crowd of diverse ages, genders and ethnicities attended. MassEdCO was represented by Pam Boisvert, Paula Rigero, Maggie Day, Linda Graham, Donna Connolly and Diane Ouellet.