In 1981, the National Institute for Women of Color (NIWC) was
established to build a strong national network for women of African, Alaska
Native, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic, Latina and Pacific Island heritages
and to advance the issues of Women of Color. These efforts resulted in National
Strategies Conferences for Women of Color in 1982 and 1983 in Washington, DC, 1984 in Reno,
Nevada and 1987 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. NIWC also published three Fact Sheets on Women of
Color and as well as several NIWC Brown Papers—researched writings on issues of
concern to Women of Color.
In 1986, in response to the suggestion of Pat Williams, Ohio University administrator, NIWC proclaimed March First—the first
day of Women's History Month—as National Women of Color Day. Since that time,
Women of Color Day Programs have been held across the United States and in other countries.
In 1988, Suzanne Brooks, then Affirmative Action Officer of Penn State University, began developing a group of practices and traditions
to be used when Women of Color Day is commemorated. Ethnic dress, for example,
is a characteristic tradition at Women of Color Day events, as are awards
presented to "Outstanding Women of Color."
In 1991, as Director of the
California State University Multi-Cultural Center, Brooks implemented the first
Women of Color Day program in California at that university. She directed subsequent programs
there until 1995. Thereafter, Brooks began the work of converting a national
observance into an international one. In
1998, she developed a special cultural ceremony for Women of Color Day,
providing a unique worldwide tradition to can be shared. In 1999, with funds
from a New Work Award to her as a poet and support from a local restaurant, Brooks
organized and implemented the first Sacramento Community Women
of Color Day Program. In 2000, the program was moved to Sacramento public television station, KVIE-Channel 6. Programs
for 2001, 2002 and 2003 were also held there. In 2004, the Sacramento Community
Women of Color Day Program was held at the Cosumnes River College Recital Hall.
Women of Color Day products, including the official award
plaque, T-shirts, cups with the Women of Color Day logo, and CD’s by Suzanne Brooks are
available online at http://www.creativeconsys.com,
the website of Suzanne Brooks’s parent company—a social entrepreneurship. Books
by Suzanne Brooks are available at http://www.authorhouse.com
or in local retail bookstores. ISBN numbers for the books can be found on the
authorhouse or Creative Concepts Systems websites. Sales of all of these
products support the work of promoting Women of Color Day worldwide You can
also shop for Women of Color Day products at our Ebay
In addition to other products, "Spirit
of Women of Color"—The Exhibit
has been developed to trace the events leading to the establishment of Women of
Color Day and the evolution of the International Association for Women of Color
Day. "Spirit of Women of Color"—The
Exhibit was first presented publicly at the National Town Meeting
for a Sustainable America in Detroit, Michigan from May 2-5, 1999. Both the Women of Color Day Kit and “Spirit
of Women of Color”—The Exhibit
are currently undergoing revisions which will be completed in 2006. The exhibit,
which will be available for purchase and production to display, is
being expanded to include the recent insights and achievements
of women working for advancements in our communities
The International Association for Women of Color Day
is a social entrepreneurship—a business operating in the public interest and
established to promote the worldwide observance of Women of Color Day—a day in
which the contributions of Women of Color—now including Aboriginal,
African/African Diaspora, Alaska Native, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American,
Maori, Native American Indian, South Sea and Pacific Island, and Indigenous
heritages throughout the world—are recognized and honored.
Of course, one need not be a woman of color to have
the spirit of women of color which includes a willingness to cooperate and
collaborate, a love of culture and the desire to honor women of color for their
contributions and achievements.
The International Association for Women of Color
Day is not a membership organization but a network for those who
wish to conduct Women of Color Day observances. We provide guidelines,
suggestions, and encouragement. There are no meetings or dues.
"Networkers" are asked to supply information regarding their events which
will be posted on the website of The International Association for Women of Color Day.
This work is supported through the sale of related and associated products, a
speaker's bureau, diversity training and other services.