Inaugural International Women’s Day Dinner

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International Women’s Day

While the beginnings of International Women’s Day can be traced back to the early 20th century labor movement in the United States, it was officially celebrated by the United Nations on March 8, 1975. The day has become an opportunity to recognize the achievements of women in order to promote gender equality in both social and professional life. Now it is celebrated worldwide with an official presence online. On March 16, 2015 the women of the BU Writing Program joined the international community of women commemorating this day by celebrating, sharing stories and poetry, and breaking bread together. We hope to make it an annual tradition.

Enjoy a poem inspired by the evening:

By Holly Connell Schaaf

Dedicated with admiration and affection to my amazing colleagues

At joined tables deliciously arrayed,
Surrounded by purple, green, and white,
In a classroom beautifully remade,
We came together in candlelight.

This dream was realized through Deb’s strong, steadfast gaze.
Not just an expert on innovative paradigms of mobility,
She wisely shares the past that births future possibility.
Her words breathe life back into a day started in the States —
A date when women unite, working to shape their own fates.
Even on our average working days, Deb moves the world in untold ways.

Anna and Wisława Szymborska know poetry’s intimate reach,
The bonds made between poets and each person who reads.
Like her poet, Anna gives vivid images that fill vital needs.
She finds lines in childhood tales that express students’ hopes and fears,
Rhythms revealing sorrows and joys in salty tears.
She meets countless students, yet connects uniquely to each.

Meticulous crafter of meaningful, multicultural celebrations,
Somy sustains us with food for our bodies and minds.
She tells of frozen fish, the base of warming soup that binds
A great-grandmother’s tender, strong, skillful hand
To her great-granddaughter’s belly and soul, long before the girl can understand
The depths of the generous nourishment she tastes across generations.

Despite Maria Z’s good-humored, modest denial
Everyone knows she works the hardest of us all.
Time and time again she answers call after call,
She guides us as we teach students from across the earth.
She tells it like it is, though words can’t fully express her worth.
Her advice resolves endless crises; our doubts dissolve in her smile.

Changing the curriculum by harnessing all our powers,
The magnificent paired force of Sarah M-H and Gwen
Prove by working intense, long, focused hours
That X-Women can be greater heroes than X-Men.

Kim, whose keen, kind eyes discern the creative and diverse,
Paired courses so students would no longer be culturally divided.
Her Belgian mentor, who shaped her teaching and read her verse,
Must feel pride in the effervescent giver she guided.

Esther’s grandmother gained knowledge in complex fields,
But her brilliance brought more than agricultural yields.
She mentored teachers, sowing the nurturing seeds
To feed the hunger to learn in children with special needs.
For thirty years, Ingrid’s Doris defied misguided edicts in education
To give struggling readers needed experience and inspiration.
Sarah H’s bright daughter leaps into her life without nerves —
Ready to heal the world and ask for what she deserves.

Versatile, Liz studies muppets and gamers with precision
And also examines benefits to the student presenter.
Amy and Heather, teachers and star tutors of the Writing Center,
Take writers to fairy tale endings after gothic horrors of revision.

Marisa is not just our poster child on this night, but all the time,
With her irrepressible enthusiasm, so approachable yet sublime.
Lesley’s calligraphy, each stroke a branch delicate and alive,
Brings us to forests of words that help all grow and revive.

Maria G. transforms teaching with the precise breadth of her thinking –
From friendship to justice to a huge cat’s vodka drinking.
Soomin has a master scholar’s knowledge of linguistic theory.
She challenges students and laughs with them, gentle and cheery.

Brave Rebecca – our tireless faculty council voice –
Declares that science needs to give families choice.
If it could grow more open, new discoveries would dawn —
Many a woman could reach a hundred and mow her lawn,
Like Diane’s amazing mother who also pushes around
Appliances heavy enough to bring men down.

Yet bringing men down is by no means our goal —
The world needs the imaginative span of all potential contributions.
Expanding the right to unite and to choose one’s own role,
Gives us new strength to face problems and find solutions.


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