Press Release

Press for Progress at the Rothko Chapel: Celebrate International Women’s Day

February 19, 2018

Press for Progress at the Rothko Chapel

Celebrate International Women’s Day

Thursday, March 8

HOUSTON – Feb. 19, 2018 – Gloria Steinem once explained, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”

For the Rothko Chapel, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting social justice, promoting gender inclusive work is of utmost importance, especially in the wake of the #metoo movement. 

This year, the Chapel is celebrating International Women’s Day with a guided mediation, guest speakers and an artistic display on Thursday, March 8. 

The program starts at 6 p.m. at the Chapel, 3900 Yupon St. Guests may register online at

The theme for International Women’s Day in 2018 is “press for progress” – and the worldwide campaign calls for changing stereotypes, promoting positive visibility of women and celebrating the achievements of women. 

The Rothko Chapel is focusing on stopping sexual violence against women – and is joining with Baltimore-based FORCE, an activist collaboration dedicated to fighting rape culture. 

“FORCE is working to promote a culture of consent,” Rothko Chapel’s director of programs and community engagement Ashley Clemmer said. “FORCE has started a conversation about sexual violence against women and has been helping people envision a different future, where women are more empowered.”

Shanti Flagg, a Baltimore-based artist and studio director with FORCE, will present more information about the group during International Women’s Day at the Chapel. She will also discuss the landscape of rape and sexual violence in the U.S. today – and the healing power of art.

FORCE has been stitching together survivor stories for the “Monument Quilt” project. They are helping create quilts, collecting more than 1,000 quilt squares and displaying the finished pieces in 22 cities across the country. 

There will be nine quilts on display at the Chapel all day on Thursday, March 8. 

“This is not only a time for raising awareness around sexual violence but also to stand in solidarity with survivors and to hold a space of healing,” Clemmer said. 

Joining the program to lead moments of reflection and guided meditation will be Claire Villareal from Dawn Center for Tibetan Buddhism in Houston.

Villarreal, a native of Fort Worth, has been practicing and studying Buddhism since 1997. She completed her undergraduate studies, including two years of Tibetan language study with Dawn Mountain co-founder Anne C. Klein, with a bachelor’s degree in religious studies at Rice University in 1999.

She then traveled to Thailand, where she trained with Theravada Buddhist monastics. In addition, she has spent time in India and Nepal practicing and studying Tibetan Buddhism. 

Villarreal returning to Texas and has taught mindfulness in a variety of settings in Fort Worth and Houston since 2004. She administers Dawn Mountain’s programs, teaches meditation and practices Kung Fu.

“International Women’s Day is an important opportunity to recognize the importance of gender equality,” Clemmer said. “We hope the community will join us in this push for progress.”

For more information about the Rothko Chapel and a full calendar of upcoming programs, workshops and events, visit or call 713-524-9839.

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