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Tuesday, March 08, 2011


by Mary Saracino

on the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day

“I believe that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st century.” --US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Honor her right to own her own body
her right to feed her children
earn a fair wage, work under safe conditions
love whomever she pleases.
Honor her right to affordable health care
clean water, clean air, clean land, clean food;
her right to read and write
to laugh and cry, uncensored.
Honor her right to live free from war
oppression, violence, the threat of rape;
her right to speak her voice
write poems, novels, the story of her life
paint pictures, take photographs, sculpt statues
sing her song and the songs of her people.
Honor her right to dream and dance
to live in peace, to revere her ancestors,
bless her grandchildren, remember her Source;
Honor her right to own her own soul.
Honor the women of every hue
from every continent and nation
from whose wombs all life emerges
from whose wombs all memory begins
who cradle the blood and bones of generations
who comfort the babies, the sons, and the daughters
care for the elders, the youth, and the men.
To free the world, first honor the women
from whom all beginnings begin.

Mary Saracino is a novelist, poet and memoir-writer who lives in Lafayette, CO . Her most recent novel, The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press 2006) was a 2007 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist. Her short story, "Vicky's Secret" earned the 2007 Glass Woman Prize.