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June – Inspiring Women

Soul2Soul Sisters

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Soul2Soul Sisters in Denver, CO promotes racial justice by engaging white inter-faith communities to work for racial justice and Black inter-faith groups in healing and liberation. Soul2Soul aims to dismantle racism and create just communities. In 2015, Rev. Tawana Davis and Rev. Dr. Dawn Riley Duval hosted the first of their anti-racism workshops, which are now held across Colorado in white faith communities.

Activism is an incredibly stressful endeavor. Audre’s Song, a program supported by Mary’s Pence, offers peer support for Black women activists. By providing a place for open sharing and networking, Audre’s Song combats a sense of isolation, reduces stress and anxiety and is a valuable resource for mutual support for those engaged in racial activism.

Calendar of Women – June

1 | Helen Keller    

(b.6/27/1880 d.6/1/1968)

Helen Adams Keller was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

2 | Hanan Daoud Khalil Ashrawi


Hanan Daoud Khalil Ashrawi is a Palestinian legislator, activist, and scholar. She was a protégée and later colleague and close friend of Edward Said. She is the first woman elected to the Palestinian National Council. She was active during the Intifada (Palestinian uprising against settlements on the West Bank) and participated in the peace negotiations.

3 | Josephine Baker      

(b.6/3/06 d.4/12/1975)

Josephine Baker was a French singer and entertainer. She was also an activist and French Resistance worker. During her early career she was renowned as a dancer, and was among the most celebrated performers to headline the lavish revues of the Folies Bergère in Paris. She was celebrated by artists and intellectuals of the era, who variously dubbed her the “Black Pearl”, the “Bronze Venus”, and the “Creole Goddess”. After the war, she was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French military, and was named a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by General Charles de Gaulle.

4 | Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman is an American activist for the rights of children. She has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. She is president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund. CDF has become America’s strongest voice for families and children.

5 | Sappho

(6th century B.C.)

Sappho wrote lyric poetry and is best known for her poems about love and women. Most of Sappho’s poetry is now lost, and what is extant has survived only in fragmentary form, except for one complete poem – the “Ode to Aphrodite”. Sappho was a prolific poet, probably composing around 10,000 lines. Her poetry was well-known and greatly admired through much of antiquity, and she was among the canon of nine lyric poets most highly esteemed by scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria. Today, most of Sappho’s poetry is lost, but it is still considered extraordinary, and her works have continued to influence other writers up until the modern day.

6 | Sr. Ann Manganaro


Ann Manganaro was a Sister of Loretto. She was one of seven women who opened the St. Louis Catholic Worker back in 1977. The next year, living at the Worker, Ann started medical school. She did her residency in pediatrics, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and at five years cancer-free moved from the Catholic Worker to El Salvador to be the only doctor in Guarjila, Chalatenango. Six years later she her cancer had spread, leading to her death.

7 | Elizabeth Gurley Flynn  

(b.8/7/1890 d.9/5/1964)

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was a labor leader, activist, and feminist who played a leading role in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Flynn was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union and a visible proponent of women’s rights, birth control, and women’s suffrage.

8 | Sr. Frances Margaret Taylor

(b.1/30/1832 d.6/9/1900)

Sr.Frances Margaret Taylor, founder of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God, first became involved in humanitarian work in 1854, when she joined Florence Nightingale’s Lady Volunteer Nurses in the Crimean War. Taylor’s experiences of the agony of war as well as her contact with the Sisters of Mercy led her to convert to Catholicism while still at the Front. After the war, Taylor dedicated her life to helping the poor in England. After failing to find a community of Sisters who shared her vision, Taylor decided to found her own organization, the Poor Servants of the Mother of God.

9 | Ann O’Hara Graff  

(b.1951 d.1996)

Ann O’Hara Graff was a theologian, teacher, and writer. Dr. Graff earned a doctorate in theology from the University of Chicago Divinity School and taught at the University of Seattle and the Institute for Pastoral Studies at Loyola University. She is the editor of In the Embrace of God: Feminist Approaches to Theological Anthropology.

10 | Equal Pay Act (1963)

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is a United States labor law amending the Fair Labor Standards Act, aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex. Over 50 years later, there is still a gap, with white women making 79% of what men make. Women of color make even less.

11 | Jeannette Rankin  

(b.6/11/1880 d.5/18/1973)

Jeannette Rankin was an American politician and women’s rights advocate, and the first woman to hold federal office in the United States. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican from Montana in 1916, and again in 1940. She championed the causes of women’s rights and civil rights throughout a career that spanned more than six decades.

12 | Anne Frank

(b.6/12/1929 d.1945)
Annelies Marie Frank is the author of Diary of a Young Girl in which she documents her life in hiding from 1942 to 1944, during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. It is one of the world’s most widely known books and has been the basis for several plays and films.

13 | Gloria Rolando      


Gloria Rolando is a Cuban filmmaker and screenwriter. A precocious student, Rolando received her pre-university diploma at the age of eighteen, majoring in Science and Literature, with a minor in Music. After attending the University of Havana, Rolando began working at the Cuban Institute of Art and Film Industry. She also heads an independent film-making group, Imágenes del Caribe, based in Havana. In the span of her thirty-five-year career, Rolando has written and directed numerous films and documentaries. Rolando’s work largely focuses on the cultural aspects of the Caribbean, as well as the African cultures present in Cuba.

14 | Alicia Partnoy


Alicia Partnoy is an Argentinian an author, human rights activist, and a survivor. Following the death of Argentianian President Juan Perón, she was persecuted and imprisoned for her activism in the Peronist Youth Movement. She spent a total of two and a half years as a prisoner of conscience, with no charges. Through her writings and testimonies, she has revealed the atrocities committed in secret detention camps where 30,000 Argentinians “disappeared.” Today she lives in Los Angeles, California and teaches at Loyola Marymount University.

15 | Evelyn Underhill   

(b.12/6/1875 d.6/15/1941)

Evelyn Underhill was an English writer and pacifist known for her numerous works on Christian mysticism. A prolific writer, she published 39 books and more than 350 articles and reviews in her lifetime. She taught that the life of contemplative prayer is not just for monks and nuns, but can be the life of any Christian who is willing to undertake it. She also taught that modern psychological theory, far from being a threat to contemplation, can fruitfully be used to enhance it. In her later years, she spent a great deal of time as a lecturer and retreat director.

16 | Margaret Bondfield      

(b.3/17/1873 d.6/16/1953)

Margaret Bondfield was a British Labor politician, trades unionist, and women’s rights activist. She was prominent in several women’s suffrage and socialist movements and stood for extending the vote to all adults regardless of gender or property, rather than the limited “on the same terms as men” agenda pursued by militant suffragists. She was the first woman to chair the General Council of the Trades Union Congress Later and later became the first female cabinet minister in the UK, and the first woman to be a privy counselor when she was appointed Minister of Labor in 1929.

17 | Marita Bonner      

(b.6/16/1899 d.6/16/1899)
Marita Bonner, was an American writer, essayist, and playwright of the Harlem Renaissance. Bonner regularly discussed poverty, familial relations, urban living, colorism, feminism, and racism in her works. She also often wrote about multi-ethnic communities. Bonner is one of the many frequently unrecognized black female writers of the Harlem Renaissance who resisted the universalizing, essentialist tendencies by focusing on atypical women rather than on an archetypal man. Bonner was wholly opposed to generalizations of black experience, and wrote about several differing black experiences in her short stories and plays. She is thus remembered as an advocate for intersectionality and a documentarian of multicultural urban life.

18 | Fay Bennett   

(b.3/28/1905 d.12/13/2002)

Fay Bennett Watts held posts at the National Sharecroppers Fund from 1952 through 1974, directing attention to rural poverty. In the 1950s she helped form the National Council for Agricultural Life and Labor, an alliance of dozens of national organizations that sought to spotlight the difficulties facing migrant farm workers and to generate laws to protect them.  During the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, she served on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Areas Development for the Department of Agriculture.

19 | Patria Jiménez      


Patria Jiménez is a Mexican politician and head of Clóset de Sor Juana, a lesbian rights group named after Juana Inés de la Cruz, a Carmelite nun and renowned Mexican poet. A member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, she became the first gay member of Mexico’s legislature, and the first in any legislature in Latin America.

20 | Nedā Āghā-Soltān

(b.1/23/1983 d.6/20/2009)

Nedā Āghā-Soltān was an Iranian student whose death drew worldwide attention after she was shot dead during the 2009 Iranian election protests. Her death was captured on video by bystanders and broadcast over the Internet, and the video became a rallying point for the opposition. Agha-Soltan’s death became iconic in the struggle of Iranian protesters against the disputed election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

21 | Miriam   

Miriam, according to the Hebrew Bible, was the daughter of Amram and Yocheved, and the sister of Moses and Aaron. She was a prophet and first appears in Exodus. The Torah refers to her as “Miriam the Prophetess” and the Talmud names her as one of the seven major female prophets of Israel. Scripture describes her alongside of Moses and Aaron as delivering the Jews from exile in Egypt: “For I brought you up out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam”. According to the Midrash, just as Moses led the men out of Egypt and taught them Torah, so too Miriam led the women and taught them Torah.

22 | NASA Scientists Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan

Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan are previously unrecognized black women scientists who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the Space Race. They worked as human computers, meaning they performed mathematical equations and calculations by hand. Segregation policies required that these women work in a separate section, called the West Area Computers As the years passed and the center evolved, the West Computers became engineers, (electronic) computer programmers, the first black managers at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Virginia, and trajectory whizzes whose work propelled the first American, John Glenn, into orbit in 1962.

23 | Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” It was enacted on June 23, 1972. It was co-authored and introduced by Senator Birch Bayh in the U.S. Senate, and Congresswoman Patsy Mink in the House. It was later renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act following her death in 2002.

24 | Zora Neale Hurston

(b.1/7/1891 d.1/28/1960)

Zora Neale Hurston was a black novelist, short story writer, folklorist, and anthropologist known for her contributions to African-American literature, her portrayal of racial struggles in the American South, and works documenting her research on Haitian voodoo. Of Hurston’s four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, she is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

25 | Women in Black    

Women in Black is a world-wide network of women committed to peace with justice and actively opposed to injustice, war, militarism and other forms of violence. As women experiencing these things in different ways in different regions of the world, they support each other’s movements and challenge the militarist policies of their own governments. The first group was formed by Israeli women in 1988.

26 | Pearl S. Buck 

(b.6/26/1892 d.3/6/1973)

Pearl S. Buck was an American writer and novelist. As the daughter of missionaries, Buck spent most of her life before 1934 in Zhenjiang, China. Her novel The Good Earth was a best-selling fiction book in the United States and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932. In 1938, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces.” She was the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

27 | Jovita Idár     

(b.9/7/1885 d.6/15/1946)

Jovita Idár was an American journalist, political activist and civil rights worker, who fought for the rights of Mexican Americans and women. As a journalist, she wrote about American-Hispanic relations, criticizing educational/social discrimination, deteriorating economic conditions, decreasing use of the Spanish language, loss of Mexican culture, and the practice of lynching Hispanics. About her lifelong fight for women, Jovita wrote “Working women know their rights and proudly rise to face the struggle. The hour of their degradation is past…. Women are no longer servants but rather the equals of men, companions to them.”

28 | Sr. Marjorie Tuite, OP

(b.4/5/1905 d.1986)

Sister Marjorie Tuite, O.P. was a New York City-born and reared Dominican Sister, a progressive activist on issues related to the Church and the larger world such as racism, poverty, war and the ordination of women. A founder of the National Assembly of Religious Women, she was committed to the prophetic tasks of working inclusively, giving witness, raising awareness, and engaging in public action to achieve justice.

29 | Shamita Das Dasgupta


Shamita Das Dasgupta is an Asian Indian scholar and activist. She co-founded Manavi in 1985, the first organization of its kind that focuses on violence against South Asian women in the United States. A part-time teacher and full-time community worker, she has written extensively in the areas of ethnicity, gender, immigration, and violence against women. She teaches at the New York University School of Law.

30 | Lena Horne    

(b.6/30/1917 d.5/9/2010)

Lena Horne was an African American jazz and pop music singer, dancer, actress, and civil rights activist. Her career spanned over 70 years appearing in film, television, and theater. During World War II, when entertaining the troops for the USO, she refused to perform for segregated audiences. After quitting the USO in 1945, she financed tours of military camps herself.

See the entire Marys Pence Calendar of Inspiring Women.

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