EquityMatters! Women's History Month

Women responding to racism means women responding to anger; Anger of exclusion, of unquestioned privilege, of racial distortions, of silence, ill-use, stereotyping, defensiveness, misnaming, betrayal, and co-optation. -- Audre Lorde

Welcome to the Women’s History Month edition of EquityMatters! We greet you in the spirit of the strong women of our past, our present, and our future.

Audre Lorde’s essay, "The Uses of Anger: Women Respond To Racism", written 40 years ago, is still a powerful and timely message to our society which tends to use its fear of anger as a weapon that silences women, especially women of color. We need to see "anger" as a window of opportunity to understand more authentically the oppression and inequities that are evident in our schools, offices, and communities. Are we each returning to school "angry" enough to ignite and sustain the head, heart, and hand work required to realize an antiracist school district?

In this issue you will hear from mighty women, across generations, in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) who are leading with bravery, strength, and grace as they address racism and inequities. May their words inspire you to think loudly and think boldly to acknowledge, expose, and interrupt all forms of racism and oppression right here in our MCPS home.

With appreciation,

Troy, Daryl, Deanna, Edvin, Ericka, Joan, Maniya, Marya, and John

In this issue:

Start with the video below and then explore the MCPS voices in this edition.

Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women--https://www.forbes.com/

The Counter Story

As we return to school in the midst of this pandemic that has unabashedly displayed its racism and inequities throughout the world and our school district, making a difference can feel out of reach.

The Counter Story this month features MCPS staff and students who defied the challenges that 2020 brought and continued to give back and give their all to those in need. They excelled in their jobs and their studies, and then went above and beyond to change our beautiful corner of the world.

The Counter Story is a monthly column that features the voices of MCPS students, families, and staff who are often marginalized in the media, curriculum, and our classrooms. Counterstories help us to interrupt our explicit and implicit biases, and to inspire us to action.

Dr. Joan's Gems

The resources this month challenge our consciousness, what we know and what we think we know. They guide us to explore the depth and breadth of the many incredible accomplishments of women. There are lessons created for the different student levels. Any of them can be used with adult groups as well. All learners should be able to expand their critical thinking skills to see the connections between ideas and challenge long-held assumptions about what women are able to achieve!

Lesson Plans and Resources

Use these timely preK-12 lesson plans and class activities to incorporate key figures and historical events in your Women’s History Month lesson planning. This Share My Lesson collection spans topics like women’s suffrage and women’s rights and features influential women in science, social justice, and sports.

Documentaries That Center Women's Experiences in History

Celebrate the accomplishments and vital contributions of women with documentaries and stories that center women's experiences in history. Everyone can enjoy and learn something new from this PBS collection of stories by and about women.

The picture to the right comes from A Mighty Girl "The world's largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls."

The Top 100 Most Influential Latinas | 2020 https://www.latinoleadersmagazine.com

Religious & Cultural Commemorations

One way to connect with students, staff, and families is to have awareness of the holidays and commemorations they observe. The EIU Calendar provides you with dates and resources for many of these observances. Click the Calendar for a comprehensive calendar and list of resources. See below for holidays coming up this month.

Let us know how you commemorate these holidays and please send resources for holidays and celebrations that are missing from the calendar.


March 29-29

Holi is a Hindu festival that celebrates spring, love, and new life. It's a colorful festival, with dancing, singing, and throwing of powder paint and colored water. Holi is also known as the "festival of colors". It marks the beginning of spring after a long winter, symbolic of the triumph of good over evil.


March 21-22

Nowruz is the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year, which is celebrated worldwide by more than 300 million. It is a springtime celebration whose activities symbolize rebirth and the link between humans and nature. Nowruz, which is Farsi for New Day, is steeped in ancient myths and fiction, as well as traditions and symbols.


March 27-April 4

Passover commemorates the Jewish exodus from Egypt and celebrates freedom. A Passover Seder is the main ritual for this holiday. It is a festive meal that involves the retelling of the Passover story and features eating special foods, singing songs and reclining in a comfortable position. The holiday incorporates themes of springtime, family, social justice, freedom, and recognizing those who are still being oppressed today.


Self Care

Self Care is a new column for EquityMatters! Being an equity warrior is hard work. We need to take care of ourselves. So, make a bath bomb, read a book by and about women, or listen to music by women artists, or bake some Irish soda bread.

Make and Enjoy Bath Bombs

This month, our colleague Ericka Hebron shares her recipe for creating bath bombs.

Make & share your own bath bombs. Self-Care is needed at all times but especially during National Women's Month. Make enough to share with your favorite gal pals to show them just how much they are appreciated.

Books and Music By and About Women

We put together a book list and music playlist in celebreation of Women's History Month. We know that these lists are not as inclusive of diverse voices as we would like. Please send us your suggestions for books and artists that we can include.

Bake Irish Soda Bread

MORE Equity Resources

Past Editions of EquityMatters!

EIU Lending Library

The Equity Initatives Unit is excited to announce its new Professional Development Collection. This is a lending library for you to borrow books to support your equity journey. Just click on the link below and then hit borrow.

Online Equity Modules

Below are modules that provide the skills and practice needed to address complex equity problems. The modules are designed to be self-paced or done as a team. Participants can recieve PDO credit.

  • How to Talk About Race -- PDO #89781 EIU
  • Planning Effective and Culturally Responsive Meeting -- PDO #89783
  • How to Be an Antiracist -- PDO #89782

Equity Resources Padlet

Haven't found what you're looking for? Check out our Equity Resources Padlet. It's a live site that continues to be updated.

40 Famous Black and African American Women Who Are Leaving Their Mark on History--https://www.oprahmag.com

Your Feedback

Please take two minutes to give us your feedback on this newsletter and to let us know what kinds of resources you would like to see.

Created By
John Landesman