International Women's Day

Local conference is March 8

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Northland resident Heather Tapia is organizing a local observance of International Women's Day March 8 at Monaco's Palace and Catering on Cleveland Avenue in Columbus. The free event will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In Russia, Poland, Australia, parts of Africa and other countries throughout the world, International Women's Day is a pretty big deal.

Women get that day off and are treated to gifts of flowers and candy. Their contributions to big cities and small villages are honored.

The United Nations designated March 8 as National Women's Day in 1974.

According to the UN website, it is a day "when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.

It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women."

Heather L. Tapia wants to increase awareness of the day in central Ohio.

"We have Valentine's Day and we have Mother's Day, but we don't have International Women's Day," Tapia said last week.

The Northland resident, an author and "prosperity adviser," is hoping to change all that.

Starting last year in Hilliard and again this year at Monaco's Palace and Catering on Cleveland Avenue, Tapia is seeking to put International Women's Day on the map of central Ohio events.

"I don't go small," Tapia said. "Everything I do is big."

While she believes the 180 people who attended the inaugural local observance of International Women's Day was respectable, the Otterbein University graduate thinks an even bigger event with food trucks, an authors' pavilion, a variety of entertainment, booths for entrepreneurs and more, will draw a larger crowd to the more central location.

"This, it's just so much easier, in a sense than last year," Tapia said. "More people get it. More people are coming to the table to help."

The gathering from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 8 at Monaco's Palace will serve as a fundraiser for Tear Bear Inc., a nonprofit organization started by a local survivor of child abuse to help bring awareness to the issue.

Speakers will include Tapia, discussing her book, The Five Steps to Abundance, at 12:30 p.m.; Valerie Douglas, author of A Survivor's Story: Domestic Violence Fact and Fiction, at 1:30 p.m.; and state Sen. Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus), at 2:30 p.m.

The theme for this year's International Women's Day Columbus, Tapia said, is empowerment.

There is no admission charge.