by Kymelya Sari
This year’s honorees are Armina Medic, victim’s advocate at the Chittenden Unit Special Investigations; Aftaba Mezetovic, instructional assistant at the Winooski School District; and Wanda Hines, director of Joint Urban Ministry Project.
The trio was nominated by a group of seven women from the Caroline Fund, the Laura Kate Winterbottom Memorial Fund and the Zonta Club of Burlington. All three nonprofits work toward female empowerment and the eradication of violence against women.
Although International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8, this local event was delayed because of a scheduling conflict, organizer Louise Andrews explained. Andrews, who sits on the board of the Caroline Fund, said the event acknowledges the “important work that women in our community do.”
“I feel very honored,” said Medic. She said that the recognition will help her young son understand that “[women] are strong; they can do anything they put their mind to.”
Last year's honorees included Adrie Kusserow and Jake Agna. Kusserow, an associate professor of cultural anthropology at Saint Michael's College, co-founded Africa ELI, a South Sudanese and U.S. nonprofit that supports girls' education in that African country. Agna was recognized for his work with young female athletes in his tennis programs.
Andrews added that this year’s celebrations will involve youth. The Muslim Girls Making Change slam poetry quartet will perform three poems, one of which is titled “A Woman’s Role.”
“It feels amazing to be a part of this celebration, especially considering the current events happening in our country,” said Kiran Waqar, an MGMC member and a junior at South Burlington High School. “I think it’s important now more than ever to find reasons to unite.”
The planning group also invited students from the Young Writers Project to
participate in a writing challenge. The winners will attend the event on
Saturday and read their work.
Isabel Blankenbaker wrote a short tribute to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "She is the reason I became so interested in the legal system," wrote the eighth grader from Barstow Memorial School in Chittenden.
Elizabeth Magnan, a junior at Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, will share a poem that she wrote about a relative who “is truly amazing, and I wanted her, and the world, to know that.” An excerpt of her work reads:
people up when others
are busy tearing them down.
I no longer want to be exactly like you,
but I want to be just as
kind, confident, encouraging, humble,
funny, loving, compassionate and awesome as you are.
A group of Nepali dancers will also join the festivities at King Street, which will include a free community lunch.