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1Día de La Mujer is Feb. 26

Lansing MI: "It's like a new era of development for Latinas," says Tonatzin Alfaro Maiz, as she refers to the 2005 Dia de la Mujer (DDLM) conference. Alfaro and a committee of diligent members have been at work formatting the workshops for this years DDLM program.

Scheduled for Saturday, February 26 in the Michigan State University's Kellogg Center, DDLM will host over 25 workshops including the perennial popular sessions such as career/resume development, Latinas in Media, Salsa dancing, domestic abuse and spirituality,

This conference, which dates back to 1994, provides accomplished Latinas an opportunity to share skills, information and techniques with other Latinas. The first conference attracted a couple of dozen participants. But as the Planning Committee sees it, "we've come a long way." DDLM is the largest event of its kind in the Midwest region, where Latinas as a population group come together to define their space and actions in society through networking, strategies and activism.

DDLM 2004 attracted over 900 people from major urban areas as well as rural areas of Michigan, who participated in 28 workshops. The areas covered in an annual DDLM conference include education, health, culture, community organizing, and personal and professional development. Each year, the conference has been met with más enthusiasm from participants as well as workshop presenters.

The theme for this year is "Comadres Developing a Plan of Action." The concept of comadre pertains to a shared caring, mentoring and partnership of women in the Latino community. Given this focus on this years' DDLM conference, María Zavala says the aim is: "taking our community to a new era of development."

Zavala, an MSU student majoring in Communications and this year's DDLM Coordinator, says that the idea germinated out of a number of community discussions. In particular, the urgency to organize Chicano/Latino women from the grassroots level.

"Many issues bring us together as familia," adds María. "From the FLOC [Farm Labor Organizing Committee, based in Toledo] farmworkers boycott victory over the Mt. Olive Pickle Company, and the international trafficking of women, to issues of local economics and education."

Leticia Zavala from FLOC and Professor Diana Marinez, an Michigan State University alumnus and Dean of the College of Science and Technology at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, will set the stage for the one day event.

As a keynote speaker, Marinez will lead and delineate for the close to one thousand anticipated participants, discussing "The Plan," which is an action plan that is the focus of DDLM 2005. The goal is to implement outcomes of the conference in different geographical areas where DDLM attendees come from.

Since "The goal of our conference is to empower, motivate, inspire, and support Latinas in their quest for advancement," say Zavala, one of the features of DDLM is to have regional caucus discussions so that in each area the comadres will work on issues of their own and yet feel as part of the familia still.






«Tinta con sabor»      Ink with flavor!



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