It’s another heavy…
Hey Readers, I have to confess my thoughts and feelings have been numb since the Valentine’s Day tragedy in Florida. I’m angry right along with victims’ families who are opposed to assault weapons. The news floored me. A weird panic came over me when I realized that these gruesome events were starting to run together in my mind and I worried that I would forget them, as if I had a duty to to take care of it all, as if I had a responsibility to be of comfort for all the families. I do, we do. This is our world. I stopped writing anything substantial beyond my daily journal, didn’t draw much either. I wept. Taking walks helped the tension but I was still glued to the news. The same old watered down statements emanated from politicians and news anchors like a bad dream. In the wake of #metoo and #NotOneMore the finality of the event culminated in the devastating photograph of the 7000 pairs of shoes on the Capitol lawn.
March 8th was International Women’s Day and March is Women’s History Month here in the US. I decided to choose quotes by some women who are, or have been, trailblazers. I should have included some comedy but I’m not there yet. How many times can we wring our hands and say we’ve got to do better?
It’s timely that the movie Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time have ignited theatres with women and girls in powerful leadership roles. Congratulations!
Below are some of the women among so many, who come to mind when I sat down to write today.
The first is Sybrina Fulton, who was thrust into leadership role on a national level because of gun violence. Her youngest son, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was murdered in 2012 while walking home from a local store. He had not committed a crime. He had gone out to buy some candy. That’s it. He was a black youth wearing a hoodie at night.
His mother said in 2015 on CNN, “It seems our kids are getting younger and younger, they’re killing them younger and younger. There is no regard anymore for human life. There has to be somewhere where we draw the line and say, ‘Listen, our kids want to grow up, too.'”
Huge debates ignited over race, vigilante mentality and gun ownership. Women of color and their supporters were horrified, worried about their sons and daughters dying on the streets. We agreed that racism is still a pervasive disease in modern American life.
Ask a mother like Sybrina Fulton (and the mothers of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and others) and she will tell you the raw truth: “I think absolutely my son’s race and the color of his skin had a lot to do with why he was shot and killed, in all of these cases, these victims were unarmed. These victims were African-American. That needs to be our conversation.”
– Sybrina Fulton
Let’s not mince words. You can help by the cause buying their book.
Here are some other quotes to consider. Do you know who said the following?
“Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time. No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom.”
“The power I exert on the court depends on the power of my arguments, not on my gender.” – Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court judge.
Here’s another Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg who just celebrated a birthday.
“It is not women’s liberation, it is women’s and men’s liberation.”
“Anybody who has been discriminated, who comes from a group that’s been discriminated against, knows what it’s like.”
Louise Nevelson, sculptor
“I only know this – that you can’t give advice to an artist. “
Susan B Anthony women’s rights activist:
“Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.
“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”
“I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand.”
This post wouldn’t be complete without the introduction Deb Haaland, the first Native American woman to run for Congress. Get out and vote!
Winona LaDuke, activist:
“The first thing I am is a person. I am a woman. And I am part of a nation, the Indian nation. But people either relate to you as an Indian or as a woman. They relate to you as a category. A lot of people don’t realize that I am not that different from everyone else. “
“Tribes have the potential to provide almost 15 percent of the country’s electricity with wind power, and have 4.5 times the solar resources to power the entire U.S.”
Marjory Stoneman Douglas, namesake of the high school in Florida where the Valentine’s Day killings happened, was an eco-activist and is included in this link.
“You have to stand up for some things in this world.” She was a lover of the Everglades and a warrioress for ecological concerns. “You can’t conserve what you don’t have.”
I’m stricken by the irony of her words.
Octavia Spencer, actress:
“You cannot live to please everyone else. You have to edify, educate and fulfill your own dreams and destiny, and hope that whatever your art is that you’re putting out there, if it’s received, great, I respect you for receiving it. If it’s not received, great, I respect you for not.”
While we’re honoring women I want to say a prayer for Brazilian activist, Marielle Franco killed recently, most likely for her passionate work for human rights. One of her causes was advocating for brightly lit bus stops so that women could be safe at night.
I have to end my tribute with a shout out to on of my favorite artists, Marilyn Church. Check out The Art of Justice, an Eyewitness View of Thirty Infamous Trials. She writes, “sometimes a good drawing can tell more than a photograph-.” I want to draw that well.
There are countless women I admire from cultures that stimulate a desire to learn. Diversity has been my passion since childhood.
Coming up: A tribute to Kasturba Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s beloved wife. I’ll be doing an interview with her grandson, Arun. You can find my first interview with him here.
Journal prompt: 1) write about a woman who inspires you. Pick out a few adjectives to describe her. 2) If you are a woman, write a tribute to yourself. What are the accomplishments that make you most proud?
Discussion: how do you view the role of women in society? Are you traditional or do you relate to feminists? Do you think gender matters when it comes to leadership and power?