Posted in diversity, multiculturalism, women trailblazers

Women Leading, All Colors, All Races

Northern snowbanks are
mother earth is quaking
continuous warnings
mudslides, floods
and fires
while Washington keeps pumping out liars.

Hush hush now children
we’ll hold you tight with our hugs
don’t look now babies
lest marauders grab you from us,
those robed and slick-suited thugs.

Hush hush now children
listen while we shield you as best we can
under the inky dark and starlit night
a band of SHEros approaches, we scan
the globe from celestial heights,
we are here, the goddess clan
we emerge with impenetrable force,

our warriors beside us. We are the colors of all races

we are the faces of all faces

we are red, yellow, black, and white

we are women and we are leading the fight.

Posted in women trailblazers, womens history month

Women Who Run with Words

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?








Posted in women trailblazers, womens history month, writers, Writing for healing

Women’s History Month- Sharing Wisdom, Strength and Beauty



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

                                                             many baskets

                  “We women are going to bring change.” – Malala Yousafzai

Aunt-CharlieneWcal                                        My husband’s aunt Charlene-wonderful storyteller

“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

cheyenne with her blue fan copy

                                               Cheyenne Elizabeth, cystic fibrosis warrioress

“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

1920s flapper copy


Journal prompt: write about your favorite quote by a woman.  Add artwork or collage to your journal entry.

Peace, everybody!

copyright © 2016 by Susan E Rowland


Posted in women trailblazers

“I’m Fired Up and I’m Fed Up” Rosanell Eaton

eaton 2

What motivates you?

Thursday’s tribute to Black History Month is about 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 v 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 multinational 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, to prove her identity, would have to be driven by her daughter to thirteen different offices. The trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles is over 200 miles from her home.

Not only did Eaton have to go to battle to vote in 2013, she was mistreated in the Jim Crow South in the 1930’s. Crosses were burned on her lawn. 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.” They demanded that she recite the preamble to the Constitution of the United States. She delivered.

Rosanell Eaton has voted in every election until now because of HB 589.

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. Would you be able to recite the preamble from memory?

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!

Posted in Veterans, women trailblazers

Jesse Channels the Tuskegee Airmen

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.

Jesse and Sue 2013 copy.jpg possible blog post

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.

Posted in self improvement, women trailblazers, writers, Writing for healing

“The Corporation has not Clouded My Gratitude”

mary Whiton Caulkins copy.jpg for blog

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


We remember.


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.