Councilor Cano, women’s groups celebrate Women’s History Month

Councilor Cano, women’s groups celebrate Women’s History Month

City Councilor Sandra Cano speaks about the many accomplishments of local women during last Wednesday’s Women’s History Month event at Slater Mill. Cano is flanked by many other influential city women.

PAWTUCKET – Local women, women’s organizations from around the state, and elected officials came together last Wednesday to celebrate Trailblazing Women in Business and Labor in honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month at Slater Mill.

Pawtucket City Councilor Sandra Cano hosted the event with support from various businesses and organizations.

Kimberly Grant, master of ceremonies, offered welcoming remarks, and Lori Urso, executive director of Slater Mill, spoke about the history of women and labor at the mills. Women organized Pawtucket’s first factory strike in the U.S. in 1824 after mill owners proposed cutting female workers’ wages by 25 percent and extending their work day, said Urso.

Mayor Donald Grebien welcomed the crowd to Pawtucket and acknowledged the many contributions women have made to Pawtucket. The mayor thanked Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, Cano, Grant, event committee members, and keynote speakers Rosalia DaRosa and Iris Haik for their leadership and commitment to the community.

Haik, a senior at Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Performing and Visual Arts, participated in the Pawtucket School Department’s essay contest for Women’s History Month and was chosen to speak on behalf of all young women trailblazing their own paths to success. DaRosa, president of North East Knitting, immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 18 to set the stage for her siblings who were in Cape Verde. After five years, she and her father were reunited with their family. After working her way up at International Stretch, in Pawtucket, the company went out of business. DaRosa and her co-workers purchased the machinery and started their own company North East Knitting, Inc. The company employs more than 100 people, 80 percent of whom are Cape Verdean.

Cano recognized the many accomplishments of women in labor and business in the city who do so much to contribute to the past, present and future of the city. She presented plaques of appreciation which will be place in the atriums of City Hall and the Pawtucket School Department to remind all how far women have come.