Celebrating a Culture of Care: Int'l Women's Day 2012

For the past two years, Regeneración has observed March 8, International Women's Day with Raha Iranian Feminist Collective, at their annual celebration. This year, we were honored to share our thoughts about what this day means to us. Here are some of the reasons we celebrate:

For International Women's Day, we at Regeneración want to pay homage to the fierce women who birthed this project... Black and Latina women in Bushwick, Brooklyn doing amazing collective work – from making media to calling out sexual harassment by cops to traveling to engaging with grassroots organizing in Argentina, where they were so inspired by the way children and elders are integrated into the movement that they came back to bushwick and created a childcare cooperative. Through this childcare cooperative, Regeneración was born.

Caregiving is valuable, beautiful, critical labor. But as we all know caregiving is “women’s work” and is therefore denigrated and belittled. We see this when it’s primarily women who are expected to care for children, to do it in isolation, without support. We see it when domestic workers are exploited while raising the children of the wealthy.

So we honor the women who inspired us in those early days, and we honor all the women with whom we have been privileged to build with over these past years – from the resilient and committed leaders at Domestic Workers United to the elders in Danza whose dancing uplifts joy, healing and transcendence, to the trans and genderqueer warriors walking brave lines through the world every day.

We want to see a world where care exists for the people who are always providing care for others, but rarely receiving it themselves. Any truly deep transformation of society will require us to complete the circle, to reciprocate the care that we receive.

As a form of care, we believe that childcare is a central part of our creative activity, a cornerstone of building a movement for collective liberation. It is the learning and shaping of subjectivity, it produces human beings who can communicate and cooperate with their peers, human beings who embody the values and practices that we need to build a liberatory society.

In turn, kids change how we do politics. They teach us that movement is a process–not a program–and that this process is playful, imaginative and creative. Kids ask us to be thoughtful and patient, they ask us to mean what we say and to show why we think it’s important. When we spend time with kids, we see that play is a powerful tool to cultivate throughout our lifetimes, because spaces for imagination have serious implications for the world we inhabit.

Care is the crucial labor that reproduces human community, and knits us together across generations. We want to draw it into the open, recognize its true importance, make it the collective labor of all.

So today, we celebrate the 'women's work' of caregiving: from childcare to food preparation, and celebrate the ways that thoughtful, careful, loving process is quietly inspiring and magically shared.