Togetherness and celebration are two themes of International Women’s Day for Roaring Fork Valley residents |

Togetherness and celebration are two themes of International Women’s Day for Roaring Fork Valley residents

Basalt Middle School sixth graders Nyala Honey (left) and Ava Gomes (right) work on their presentation to raise awareness around Women's History Month.
Editor’s note

We want to acknowledge that the women and girls featured in this story are not fully representative of the diversity within residents of the valley. We invite any story tips or leads about females locally making a difference that you’d like to celebrate, in an effort to help share as many perspectives as possible. Please email Jessica Peterson at to share ideas for more stories about women throughout the remainder of March, Women’s History Month.

Ava Gomes and Nyala Honey are both 12 years old, sixth graders at Basalt Middle School, and the only two members from their grade in the school’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). Both girls have lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for about five years now and have joined forces to bring about attention to Women’s History Month within their school.

“We thought it would be a really good idea if we could find a woman who had worked on the Covid-19 vaccine, kind of honor that person,” Mary Bahr, Roaring Fork School District nurse said. “Then we discussed making a video … to interview women and girls throughout the school and how they feel empowered and how maybe some of the older teachers … perceive how things have changed for women since they’ve grown up.”

Honey and Gomes worked on putting together a similar project for Black History Month during February that consisted of a video that can be seen here, and a cart for the library featuring stories about Black people and different contributions they’ve made throughout history.

“My opinion is that everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, or their gender or their sexual alignment is equal, and incredible and talented,” Honey said.

In addition to talking to fellow students and teachers in the school for their video, the girls said they also highlighted notable women in history, specifically Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett.

Honey explained that Corbett’s scientific research was at the forefront of the development for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. She noted that Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the president on the pandemic, had told the press that, without Corbett, the vaccine would not have been developed.

“I’ve seen many girls being discriminated against because they’re a girl. I think because we’re girls we should be proud of that and we should continue to be proud of that,” Gomes said.

Honey said the two will be meeting to work on their project for Women’s History Month on International Women’s Day (Monday, March 8), and that they hope to help others around them and in the Valley take pride in what it means to be a girl and woman.

“As a woman and a mom myself, especially during this pandemic, I think it’s really disproportionately affected women,” Bahr said “We have women who are having to make really hard decisions between their job and their family. Trying to balance both, and I just want to commend all the women in the valley.”

Women and Sustainability

April Davey is a Colorado Mountain College student who will graduate with her degree in sustainability in spring of 2022. Davey said that the three E’s of sustainability that her program encourages students to embrace are economy, equality and environment.

Work opportunities from a sustainability degree tend to fall in a pretty wide range, Davey said, and she hopes that whatever kind of position she ends up in she can be a leader and ally individuals in the community are able to rely on.

“With International Women’s Day and intersectional feminism, that is the whole point that we don’t want to leave anyone behind. That is how we are truly sustainable because we know from looking at the environment that things are stronger when they’re more diverse and we value all different kinds of things, people, creatures and roles within an ecosystem,” Davey said.

She added that she seeks inspiration from the achievements of women around the world, and locally like from Diane Vitrac-Kessler and Beatriz Soto, two women leaders of color in the community, and CMC President and CEO Carrie Besnette Hauser.

Davey said emotions about the future and what’s to come tend to be tense, but that she wants to share hope about progress that continues to be made for a more sustainable planet and a figurative shattering of the glass ceiling.

“I stand in solidarity with my women counterparts in the area and that I encourage women to really take inventory of what we know about women’s leadership and what we can push forward, and honor those who came before us,” Davey said. “I’m recently thinking a lot about leaders like Stacie Abrams or Greta Thunberg, leaders of all types of backgrounds that are women who are making big changes.”

Sharing Hope

The Angel of Hope Mosaic Project based in the Third Street Center in Carbondale is asking locals to consider making a donation in honor of a woman in their life on International Women’s Day.

The organization helps individuals who are survivors of grief, trauma and abuse process their experiences through mosaic artwork. To learn more about the organization or give a donation to help spur someone else’s path to healing, click here.

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