It’s Women’s History Month here in the US and it’s taken me this long to sit down with a writing prompt. During these times of intense political rants and divisions, it makes sense to remember and honor the wit and wisdom of women. I’m constantly wondering what’s going to happen next on the local, national, and international scene. Why all the craziness? What for? You’ve heard the phrase, “God is coming and boy is she pissed.” That’s the way I feel lately. Maybe we could pretend it’s Christmas season and be of good cheer and talk about peace and love–then act on it.
I’d like to share some quotes with you to honor women.
” A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it’s finished; no matter how brave its warriors or how strong their weapons.” Cheyenne proverb
“We women are going to bring change.” – Malala Yousafzai
“A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
“Life is very short and what we have to do what must be done in the now.” – Audre Lorde
” No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you.” – Althea Gibson
“There’s always something to suggest that you’ll never be who you wanted to be. Your choice is to take it or keep on moving.” Phylicia Rashad
” The thing that makes you exceptional, if you are at all, is inevitably the thing that makes you lonely.” – Lorraine Hansberry
“If you judge people you have no time to love them.” -Mother Teresa
“I have not contended for Democrat, Republican, Protestant or Baptist for an agent. I have worked for freedom, I have laboured to give my race a voice in the affairs of the nation.” -Sarah Winnemucca
“Ignorance is fear. Nothing terrifies a person except ignorance.” – Nawal El Saadawi
” I knew that my heart and mind would always be tempted to feel anger-to find blame and hate. But I resolved that when the negative feelings came upon me, I wouldn’t wait for them to grow or fester. I would always turn immediately to the Source of all true power: I would turn to God and let His love and forgiveness protect and save me.”-Immaculee Ilibagiza
Grandmother Rita from the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers
“Since childhood, I’ve had a passion for solitude.”- Nawal El Saadawi
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
” A word after a word after a word is power. ” – Margaret Atwood
Journal prompt: write about your favorite quote by a woman. Add artwork or collage to your journal entry.
copyright © 2016 by Susan E Rowland
What Motivates YOU?
Thursday’s tribute to Black History Month is voting rights activist, Rosanell Eaton. She is 94 years old and has been fighting for equality since she was eighteen.
I get so angry writing about the 2013 repressive voter ID bill, HB 589 that it’s hard to settle into the story. I’ve included links here because I can’t believe the suppression. My blood pressure goes up just thinking about it.
Sure, there are more than two sides to any story. Legal documentation is important. Everyone understands that. However, HB 589, passed by the North Carolina legislature and Republican governor, Pat McCrory, is truly unfair to many people.
Eaton, along with others, has been at the helm for years bringing awareness to the narrow-minded thinking behind HB 589. The law mandates that voters show a birth certificate, valid driver’s license, and photo ID. Not only are elderly people affected, those with disabilities and low-income rural residents without transportation are not fairly represented. Early voting has been reduced. It is no small wonder that 94% of the voters affected are African-American or other so-called minorities.
Remember the Bush and Gore debacle in Florida?
One wonders why any prudent thinking legislator would make it so difficult to vote in the United States. The only thing I can think of is the obvious: money, fear, and greed. We have come to a crisis in the U.S. where mostly wealthy Caucasians run multi- national corporations with the usual glut of self-serving politicians, self-interest groups, lobbyists, and super PACs behind the scenes as puppet masters. Nothing new.
Please take the time to read this article which explains Eaton’s situation clearly.
It is unthinkable that an elderly woman such as Rosanell Eaton, in order to establish her documentation, would have to be driven by her daughter to some thirteen different offices. The trip to the DMV is over 200 miles away; Eaton and her daughter made countless returns to verify her identity. Her legal name has been questioned. Bureaucracy is slow. It can be an immovable, heartless, mean machine.
Not only did Eaton have to go to battle to vote in 2013, she was mistreated in the Jim Crow South, and crosses were burned on her lawn in 1930’s. Just to earn the right to cast a ballot back in the day, two voter “registrars” commanded her to stand in place and “not look to the right nor the left” and recite the preamble to the Constitution of the United States. She did just that, and has been voting until this most recent legislation.
Can YOU recite the preamble from memory?
And now, she has to prove herself again? In 2016?
She is going to court.
Regulations are put into effect to safeguard laws and to protect people’s identity. But certainly, some leniency should be provided to protect the elderly, disabled people, or those who are not in the regular workforce. If there is written document from any professional agency, or a doctor or a social service agency verifying that the person is who they claim to be, shouldn’t that be enough to vote? Shouldn’t a photo ID be issued based on proper documentation and witness identification?
Think about it.
How much are you willing to do to insist upon your legal rights to vote? If you make it to 94, do you think YOU would be able to stand up for yourself and others?
Rosanell Eaton is a shero!
Jesse (dear hubby) is sitting at table in his usual routine, reading the paper. The morning is lovely, clear and sunny. Rush hour is slowing down and we’re sipping the last bit of coffee, half regular, half decaf. We’re watching our caffeine intake. I’m done writing my morning pages and ready to get back to homework.
Suddenly he announces, “I think I’ll go down to the Marriott and see if I can volunteer.”
“For what?” I’m baffled.We’re already involved in two community organizations. Why does he want to add another? And why there?
I look at my husband searching for any telltale signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s or sarcastic humor which, trust me, is uncharacteristic. We’ve been together going on 30 years. Jesse is a serious guy and joking around just isn’t his style.
He rustles the paper, turning to the business section.
“Are they having a special program like AARP or something?” I’m trying to be nice, …interested rather than irritated.
He stares at the newspaper.
“Let me approach this another way.You mean THE Marriott? The expensive Marriott down the street? I think people usually work there, honey. I don’t think they have volunteer opportunities. I could be wrong though.” Just to be friendly and supportive, I stand behind his shoulders with my hand on his back and peer into the newspaper searching for a notice for a special event. Jesse’s a good man, at times, brilliant. Mostly, he’s a plodder, devoted, and totally predictable. And he can be psychic.
“I just want to go down there. I can see if they need some extra help.” He’s looking at me as if I’m the goofy one. Why don’t I easily understand his urge, or is it an impulse? Perfectly normal idea. Volunteer at one the most luxurious, over the top resort hotels in area. Silently I wonder who I can call.
Now I’m looking at his pupils to see if they are even. In first aid class we learned that if a person is having a stroke, they have uneven pupils and talk nonsense. I don’t see signs of stroke.
“Well…ok….I still don’t understand exactly what it is you are trying to do.” I’m cool with a measured response.
He’s getting impatient with me, almost pushy. “It doesn’t hurt to try. Maybe they would be interested in a woodcarving demonstration. I’m going down there.”
I sigh. Mom never warned me about how men age. I know my husband can be really stubborn, and I am also willful at times, but this? I decide to let it go.
“Whatever you want to do is fine with me. But right now I’m not interested. I really need to study for my final in community services and ethics.
My calm exterior is false. I do not understand men. He wants to go down to see if he can volunteer at an over $350 per night luxury grand hotel. Fine. The conversation repeats itself a few more times during the next few days. For a moment, I’m considering a trial separation. I decide to ignore it. Finally, he’s ready to make an inquiry and drives the few miles to the hotel. He returns later grumbling about how huge the place is, and how the floors are too shiny. He walks with a cane, so the sheer size of the place deters him. I don’t ask too many questions.
Next day on Sunday, we make peace and venture down to Mimi’s Cafe, near the resort where they serve authentic Louisiana food such as gumbo and jambalaya, plus classic delicious pot roast, as well as fresh salads and veggie wraps.
We settle into our favorite booth, as the manager and casual acquaintance, Curtis, comes by the table.
“Hey you guys, how are you? Where have you been?”
Jesse and Curtis chat easily the way African-American men may do.
“Did you hear that some of the original Tuskegee Airmen were here a few days ago?” Curtis looks excited. He’s a really nice guy, hardworking, and honest.
Now it all clicks.
I’m almost shouting. “You’re kidding! Is that why all those limos were out on Tatum and Deer Valley? Jesse was driving me nuts talking about the Marriott.” Jesse and I stare at each other. I don’t want to acknowledge quite yet that my psychic husband was being pulled by ( channeling) some of the most important men in aviation history, American combat, and African-American legacy.
“Yes! They were here! Right across the street at the Marriott.” Jesse glances at me in astonishment. He’s never smug. And damn it, wasn’t he right again? We both would have loved to attend the celebration. What an honor that would be. Alas, we’ve missed. Jesse certainly felt their presence.
The restaurant is slow in mid-afternoon so Curtis stays longer to chat. He explains to Jesse that the remaining living Tuskeegee Airmen did indeed have a program. Lots of high-end people were in town.
Curtis goes on to say that an elderly lady had come into Mimi’s to eat. She related that she herself was a pilot and helped train the men. Another obscure fact shared is that one of the airmen was a POW.
We keep asking questions. Who was the mystery lady?
Could the mystery woman possibly have been Willa Beatrice Brown? No, she passed away in 1992. And she was African-American. Could Curtis have been mistaken?
Now I pay closer attention when Jesse gets in one of those “moods,” not that I concede each one is a true hit, but still…you never know who or what is close by…and who is pulling you to come and visit. Call it what you will, but sometimes the urge to check something out is sheer psi intuition. Anyone can learn psychic intuition. Others are prone to it since childhood and before.
More on that later.
Love you readers, and thank you for taking the time to visit. Much obliged.
“When someone shows you who they are believe them the first time” Oprah Winfrey
This is a free write tribute to a female trailblazer in the field of psychology and philosophy. See my post on “Those Lonely Years” to reference William James. He was the mentor and advisor to Mary Whiton Calkins. WP links to my blogpost aren’t showing.
“You must do the things you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt
In a prestigious university a woman sat in a classroom where she wanted to learn psychology.
Four men got up and walked out in protest
because she wore a skirt.
She challenged the stereotype that women are intellectually inferior to men.
Thus, she was punished.
She possessed a great mind and a fire for learning.
She earned her PhD yet her credential was not granted
The Harvard Corporation would not allow it.
Backed by William James , Royce, and others, the powers in charge at Harvard would deny her the doctorate.
And today this right is still denied posthumously.
I wonder how much we have advanced in respect
to all women and girls in education—
keep pushing, keep studying, and forge ahead.
Hail, hail and bravo to those who persevere despite jealousy and elitism. Introspection is a powerful ally and our heroine in the journey of women in psychology proves its worth.
Mary Whiton Calkins dedicated her life to helping others by doing behavioral research, by teaching for over 40 years and by developing theories. She originated the paired association technique and important studies in relatedness and philosophy. Mary would leave her mark. In 1905 she became the first woman president of the APA.
Fifteen years later in 1920 women obtained the right to vote.
Male psychologists tried to take credit for her work.
Women are great thinkers. We are not lesser, we are not greater, we simply demand our equal place to do our work.
I wonder if women are included in the Great Books?
Even though all the letters and petitioning did not influence the exclusive barriers of male dominated academia
then and now, the timelessness of one person’s contribution to the world cannot be underestimated.
So if a woman is considered histrionic, over-emotional, or less-than,
I give you the research and writings
of Mary Whiton Calkins
Journal prompt: Have you ever been denied access to higher education? Where and why? Did you persevere? What are your personal views and experiences about gender equality? What are your views about the advancement of women? How about transgender people?
Copyright © 2014 art and writing by Susan E. Rowland, all rights reserved.