Seven women standing on a stage. Six are women of color, and six are wearing matching purple T-shirts. One black woman is dressed all in white. She and another black woman are holding bouquets of flowers

‘Women Together Can Move Mountains’: Richmond Holds 17th Annual International Women’s Day Event

Seven women standing on a stage. Six are women of color, and six are wearing matching purple T-shirts. One black woman is dressed all in white. She and another black woman are holding bouquets of flowers

The Sisters in Solidarity hosted Richmond’s 17th annual celebration of International Women’s Day.

Story by Natasha Kaye | Photos courtesy of Trina Jackson-Lincoln

The halls of Lovonya DeJean Middle School were filled with music, color, laughter and stories of sisterhood as the Sisters in Solidarity/Hermanas en Solidad held the 17th annual International Women’s Day Celebration on March 16 to honor the accomplishments of local women and to spread awareness of community resources in and around Richmond.

“This event, these people are here to recognize and acknowledge women,” said Trina Jackson-Lincoln, the project coordinator for the City Council. “We wear so many hats as mothers, in our careers, as wives, and we don’t always get recognized for all we do and uphold.”

The Sisters in Solidarity is a planning committee composed of city of Richmond staff and women from various organizations. The group meets several months before March — Women’s History Month in the U.S. and various other countries — to begin planning the celebration. At its peak, before the pandemic, the event drew in close to 400 attendees.

The event at Lovonya DeJean Middle School was emceed by Jovanka Beckles, a former Richmond City Council member who is running for the state Senate seat in District 7. This year’s theme is centered on inclusivity, investing in progress, and upward mobility for women.

The celebration kicked off with the Latina Center hosting a lively performance of batucada, an ensemble of percussion and dance similar to samba.

Nineteen organizations came out in support, including the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, the Berkeley Chess School and the California Commision on Aging, with each group staffing their own table to spread the word on their resources and causes.

The Social Justice Council of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley held a letter-writing campaign to encourage voters in Georgia to show up to vote in their state’s primary election which will be held in May.

“We’re just trying to save democracy, what can I say,” said Norie Clark, a member of the Social Justice Council.


This year also marked the first time the celebration drew enough sponsors to support the creation of a $500 Legacy Award for Service named for the late former Mayor Irma L. Anderson.

Anderson was a public service-oriented figurehead for the city. She held roles in public health, public transportation, education, City Council, and became the first Black female mayor in Richmond when she was elected in 2001. She died in January.

“We thought it would be a great tribute, in memoriam, to start this award because it’s aligned with what this celebration is. So moving forward, we will ask for nominations from the community on who the following year’s recipient should be,” said Jackson-Lincoln.

This year’s prize went to the House of Loving Hands, a center that helps women and children who have been victims of domestic violence find housing alternatives in the Bay Area.


After the tribute to Anderson, there was a raffle and bingo game followed by a recognition of women-owned businesses and organizations. Afterwards, Soulfully Dope Kitchen, a Black woman-owned catering business in Richmond, provided lunch.

After lunch, at a panel discussion titled “Count Her In: Invest in Women and Accelerate Progress,” community leaders and activists Taylor Sims, Sarah Pritchard, Ilaf Esuf and Linda Whitmore spoke on pathways to female empowerment at the local, county, state and national levels.

The Women’s Day celebration itself was started 17 years ago by another female former Richmond mayor, current City Council member Gayle Mclaughlin. The chair of Berkeley Chess School, Queen Graham, is one planning committee member who has been involved since year one.

“I believe in women and mobility and sisterhood,” said Graham. “Women together can move mountains and when all women in sisterhood support each other, that’s when the real positive change comes.”

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