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As Women’s History Month gets underway this March, the National Women’s History Museum has distributed an online Resource Toolkit that is fun, accessible, and easy to digest.
The toolkit is designed for use by everyone from individuals, educators, and students, to small nonprofits and large businesses—anyone who needs to understand why observing Women's History Month is important.
The Toolkit shares resources, programs, and events for every day of the March work week. Examples of this include the following:
- March 8, International Women’s Day: Join the Museum for the debut of Heritage and Harmony: Her Art, Her Voice, a video series created by acclaimed pianist Donna Weng Friedman designed and dedicated to inspire and empower school-aged girls of color to find their true voice and see themselves in the faces of extraordinary women from a variety of artistic backgrounds.
- March 15: Follow in the footsteps of suffragist advocates in Washington, DC without ever leaving the comfort of home! See the sights with NWHM’s “Mapping Suffrage: The Push for the 19th Amendment in Washington, DC” interactive mapping tool, presented in partnership with A Tour of Her Own.
- March 21: Historic Change: Celebrate the release of the Maya Angelou Quarter and the American Women Quarters™ Program with this behind-the-scenes discussion featuring members of the team who helped bring this inspiring coin program to life!
- March 23: Celebrate Women’s History Month with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Multi-Agency Women’s History Planning Committee. This 60-minute, virtual program will include a proclamation, panel, and entertainment to honor the month-long celebration.
Download the full Women’s History Month Resource Toolkit here.
AIDS Walk Arizona 2022 raised more than $230,000, surpassing the event’s fund-raising goal, as nearly 2,000 people spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon participating at Tempe Beach Park.
“Forty years after first discovering the virus, the battle against HIV/AIDS is not over,” said Aunt Rita’s Foundation Executive Director Jimmy Thomason. “We’ve made tremendous progress but our commitment to ensuring ongoing awareness, education, prevention and resources is as strong as ever. The money raised at AIDS Walk, and the incredible support we experienced, will go a long way in continuing our mission and bringing our vision to light.”
AIDS Walk Arizona
AIDS Walk Arizona 2022 was presented by CAN Community Health, a national organization dedicated to improving lives in the community and expanding the availability and accessibility of PrEP, a one-pill-a-day medication that reduces the risk of getting HIV by more than 99% when taken as prescribed.
Additional sponsors included Walgreens, which raised $27,000 through the annual wristband campaign; Gilead, featuring its product Bitkarvy; Sonora Quest Laboratories, sponsors of Kids for the Cause; and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, the Vodka for Dog People, sponsor of Paws for the Cause.
Elijah Palles and Regina Wells were AIDS Walk Arizona 2022 co-chairs.
With roots in Phoenix since 1988, Aunt Rita’s Foundation is dedicated to the elimination of, and suffering from, HIV and AIDS through collaborations with Arizona HIV service organizations and local and statewide government agencies.
About Aunt Rita’s Foundation
In our mission to end HIV in Arizona, Aunt Rita’s quietly began in 1988 with our first fundraising bake sale. Since then, Aunt Rita’s Foundation has provided millions of dollars to HIV programs and prides itself as the “Connector of the HIV Community” with gap-filling programs that include testing and collaborative initiatives. Partner agencies include Ebony House, The Bill Holt Clinic at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, CAN Community Health, Chicanos Por La Causa LUCES Program, HEAL International, HIV Care Directions, Valleywise Health, one n ten, Southwest Behavioral Health Services, Southwest Center, Shot in the Dark, Southwest Recovery Alliance and Terros Health. Aunt Rita’s distributes free Home HIV oral swap test kits through GetTestedAz.org and provides vouchers for confidential clinical testings at 100 Safeway stores and Sonora Quest locations statewide. Aunt Rita’s signature fund-raising events areAIDS Walk Arizona and RED is the Night and will commemorate World AIDS Day with a community-oriented Picnic in the Park. Aunt Rita’s Foundation also works with the Arizona Department of Health Services to increase awareness and education about HIV/AIDS statewide through HIVAZ.ORG. For more information, visit www.auntritas.org or call (602) 882-8675.
Thistle Farms was buzzing on a recent Wednesday morning, as dozens of residents, staff, and visitors made their way to ‘the Circle,’ for what many in attendance cherish as the highlight of their week.
Joyous greetings and embraces fill the room as current residents and graduates of the Magdalene Program—all survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction—make their way to the Circle to share their stories.
In the center of the Circle burns the candle that a member of the Thistle Farms community lights each day as a powerful symbol of sanctuary, love, and hope. As we go around the Circle, several women gesture toward it and express gratitude that this candle burns for all of their Magdalene sisters, as well as for the women who have not yet found their way here. They offer comfort and encouragement to those who are struggling. They applaud and cheer for those celebrating milestones, like sobriety anniversaries, reunions with families, a new job, or a new home.
Thistle Farms cafe foodPeggy Napier
With the help of the Magdalene program and Thistle Farms, these survivors are recovering and building beautiful lives for themselves. And now they return to the Circle again and again to share their stories and words of wisdom like these with each other:
“I am grateful that God is making a ministry of my mess.”
“I’ve been struggling these last few weeks, but I know my sisters are here and they’re lifting me up.”
“No matter where life takes you, remember that God’s love is there. And love heals.”
Many in the Circle express gratitude for each other, for their founder Becca Stevens, and their CEO, Hal Cato. One resident closed her remarks saying, “We all know how much Hal has done for Thistle Farms, but I want to say that nobody has ever fought so hard for me personally as Hal Cato has.”
Cato says it’s a privilege to serve these women in this way. “Earning the trust and respect of women who have only known men who were there to buy, sell, or abuse them is a tremendous honor,” says Cato. “I don’t take it for granted for a single moment. I think my leadership mantra has served me well in this regard: people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Thistle Farms - Magdalene Graduation 2016: What Freedom Looks Like youtu.be
Thistle Farms was founded in 2001, and by the time Cato took the reigns as CEO in September 2015, the organization had expanded to the point it was limited by its space. Cato led major changes that would enable Thistle Farms to attract a growing customer base and continue to thrive.
By 2017, they had completed the beautiful renovation of the Café, they had moved into a huge facility that allows them to scale production of their bath and body products, and they re-branded those products with a new ‘upscale’ look to reflect their uncompromising quality. And all those changes have been worth it, as Thistle Farms continues to grow.
Cato says, “I believe mission only gets a social enterprise so far. Quality products and/or a great experience have to be immediately in step behind it. If you combine the two together, there is no limit to what is possible. That was my goal—create a product and an environment where mission and quality were equally and beautifully yoked together. Sales have doubled since then and net income has improved 700%. And I know we’re just getting started.”
Cato is beyond passionate about the mission of the Magdalene program, and to support that mission he must run Thistle Farms as he would run any business. As such, he knew that joining the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce would introduce Thistle Farms to a network of potential vendors and customers it needed to continue growing and serving those amazing women.
Thistle Farms recently hosted the August Brewing up Business at the Café. Cato values their membership in the Nashville LGBT Chamber, and also wants his business to support its mission. He says, “This community has been good to us over the years and we want to give back and be of equal service to it. We love the direction the LGBT Chamber is taking and appreciate how many of its members meet up here for coffee and lunch!”
The Café is the perfect spot for our Chamber members to enjoy breakfast, lunch, or their impressive afternoon tea service. You will not find a friendlier or more eager staff! These women are grateful to be working, love their co-workers, and are incredibly proud of Thistle Farms. And the food is fantastic!
Just off the Café is the Thistle Farms store front where customers can browse their bath, body and home products, as well as jewelry and accessories made by women recovering in Thistle Farms sister programs around the world. Thistle Farms uses natural, high quality ingredients in making their bath and body products such as hand soap and lotion, lip balm, body butter, shaving cream. They all feel and smell amazing! Using these products doesn’t just feel like supporting a social enterprise; it feels like self-indulgence.
They also offer home products such as essential oils and their hand-poured soy candles like the one that burns in the middle of the Circle. Cato reminds us that “The holiday season will be here before we know it. Every 50 candles we sell employs a survivor for a week. Remember our gift shop when you’re making your holiday list. You’re giving more than a gift…you’re giving a woman a second chance at the same time.”
The women of Magdalene who are given that second chance take every opportunity to give back to their community as an expression of love and gratitude. That commitment is evident everywhere we look on the morning of our visit to Thistle Farms.
Rachel Goldzweig, a 2017 graduate of the program, stopped by the Café to meet a friend for coffee. Every few minutes, another staff member ran over and offers Goldzweig a warm embrace and welcome ‘home.’ Goldzweig was excited to share the news that she had just joined the Board of Thistle Farms and attended her first meeting the night before.
Nearby, Shelia McClain, the Director of Education and Outreach at Thistle Farms, led the group tour of the facility. "I've never done this before," she announced. "I'm filling in for the amazing tour guide, who is on vacation." And, of course, the tour was wonderful, closing with the confident, hopeful phrase we often hear within this beautiful community, "We are more than our story."
To shop for Thistle Farms products, plan your next event at The Café, or inquire about volunteer opportunities or your place in the Circle, visit thistlefarms.org.
Policy, advocacy, and research are driven by data. When there's no data about a community, it's harder for that community's needs to be met by lawmakers, organizers, and academics.
That's where the National LGBTQ+ Women*s Community Survey comes in. This historic national research project is the first of its kind, created by LGBTQ+ women, for LGBTQ+ women.
By taking less than an hour out of your day to participate in the National LGBTQ+ Women*s Community Survey, you can become part of a historic dataset that will help advocates, social service providers, policymakers, and researchers understand the answers to these questions and many more.
With your help, we can build knowledge and create a resource for changemakers for years to come.
Tell your story now at lgbtqwomensurvey.org/survey – and then ask the LGBTQ+ women in your life to do the same.