Stories of Empowerment: The Heart of Women’s History Month in Honolulu



Credit: Visitor7

Aside from being home to people of significantly varied racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds, Hawaii’s Honolulu County (the city and all of Oahu) is also a haven of women who had empowered themselves and are now trying to inspire others through their diverse stories of struggles and triumphs.

This 2012, two organizations in the county are in full swing for the yearly celebration of Women’s History Month. In the U.S., women’s contributions and accomplishments are celebrated every March of each year.

First is the Windward Community College (WCC) in Kaneohe, which is set to approach the event through women’s personal accounts of self-discovery, healing, and educational advancement. The other organization is the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), which is geared up to celebrate the occasion through talks that address women-related socio-political issues.

WCC-led celebration. With nationwide theme, “Women Education, Women Empowerment,” WCC’s lineup of events explores the relationship between education, opportunities, and healing in women. Among the speakers are Esther Wilhelm, an artist whose artwork has been featured at the Honolulu Academy of Arts and Windy Keala McElroy, CEO of Keala Pono Archeological Consulting.

Wilhelm’s story of triumph is a labyrinth of rape, abuse, abandonment, and living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on a daily basis. Her passion and educational background in art transformed her destructive experience into a healing channel for many, which in turn, created healing in herself. Wilhelm is set to speak on March 8, 2012, Thursday, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Hale Akoakoa 105 in WCC campus.

McElroy, on the other hand, roots her inspiring story from her climbed to Mt. Everest Base in Nepal and the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Her mountain climbing experience instilled in her core values of success like motivation, passion, and perseverance, which in turn, shaped her educational and professional pursuits. McElroy holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Her story is set to be told on March 15, 2012, also a Thursday, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., same venue as Wilhelm’s.

For the other five speakers and their schedules and information about the celebration in general, visit WCC’s website. All WCC’s seven speaking-and-discussion events are free and open to public.

YWCA-led celebration. With five talk-story sessions, YWCA’s lineup of events aims to engage participants into a historical dive with some thrust on the current status of women’s issues like reproductive and voting rights, Title IX (women’s access to education), and women in the workplace and military. Each event is scheduled every Thursday in March, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the YWCA Oahu-Laniakea Office in downtown Honolulu. YWCA has yet to reveal the list of speakers for the scheduled talk-story sessions. Attendance to the five-part celebration costs $50 for non-members and $40 for Wahine Forum Network and YWCA’s members. For more information, visit YWCA’s website.

The list and focus of events for Women’s History Month celebration in Honolulu County affirmed women’s capacity for political, social, and occupational triumphs. More, they showcased women’s propensity to make earnest changes from within and tend virtues and characters, which can impact others. Happy Women’s History Month, everyone!

Photo Credit: Visitor7

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