Our Founder




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, the website of Suzanne Brooks’s parent company—a social entrepreneurship. Books by Suzanne Brooks are available at 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 store.

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.

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.

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.