Kindness + The Women’s March on Washington

 

#WhyIMarched

ONE: Gloria Steinem said: “Each others’ lives are our best textbooks.”

My friends have been extraordinary textbooks on raising my consciousness about privilege and racism, on navigating gender inequality, on leading with love and kindness and exhibiting the strength to stand up, educate and stand together.

In the October 19, 2016 podcast: Note To Self: “If My Body Is a Text,” Manoush Zomorodi says: “As long as I kept my gaze forward I could see a relatively happy world” vs. looking left or right and seeing flames or untold millions weeping. “I can choose not to look at them by virtue of who I am…What is the morally appropriate posture for someone who is safe?”

She didn’t want to keep looking straight ahead and not seeing the other realities in the world. Neither did I. I marched to lend my voice and presence for issues I know are important even if I haven’t personally dealt with them. For to show gratitude towards my friends and countless articles and stories that have help reframe my perspective. I marched to show women’s rights, civil rights, my rights matter.

 

TWO: I marched against the over-simplification of complex issues.

Health Rights. Access to good care, education and services should not be reduced to inflammatory and purposefully misleading soundbites. That action is to keep politicians in power vs. actually help the American public. It’s frankly amazing how much we DON’T know about our own health — I learned this working on a women’s global health project and how Americans are consistently not taught the science about their bodies, especially in regards to reproduction. I marched because I don’t want legislation to limit access for women’s health and reproductive rights because it ALWAYS ends up fanning the flame for less health education. Less health education – more unwanted pregnancies and more abortions.

 

THREE: I marched because I believe there is only ONE race, the human race.

I was horrified how DJT ran his rallies: the anger and allowance of physical and verbal violence (but brushed off as “for the show”).

I am saddened by any talk that even slightly dismisses the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s dismissed because those people are USED to black lives being second to their own. They are subconsciously, and consciously, aware that this is just the way it is and therefore they are staying willfully blind, and purposefully ignorant of another friend/mother/father/sister/brother/grandmother’s reality. They stubbornly refuse to consider that perhaps they way they’ve viewed the world isn’t entirely accurate. That they might even be racist. That they had been conditioned to see the world that way. This is a tough one. And why it’s important to visibly and vocally validate those experiences, those tragedies, those lives. So when Janelle Monae led a call and response with the mothers who had lost their sons to violence, I raised my voice without hesitation.

I’m stunned by the fact that LGBTQ still have to fight against open and legal discrimination. That conversion therapy is actually making on a national agenda. We are all one race. We are all human. We cannot treat each other this way. This superior attitude is small-minded, close-minded, unChristian…the list can go on. It’s immoral.

 

FOUR: To Have a Blast

Supporting each other is one of the great joys in life. It’s fun. I went to stand with my friends on important issues we believe in. I went to stand with women and men I’d never met to support their issues. I went to show that thousands of people can come together in harmony for a peaceful (and totally fun) protest. That anger doesn’t have to manifest in violence but can manifest in momentum for positive change.

 

FIVE: My Kids

I marched to show my children we stand up for what we believe in. I wanted to start the dialogue with them about positive activism. The march was the first step. But the hard work will be in the days after. I want them part of it because it’s their future, even more than it is mine.

 

My experience in one word: KINDNESS

The March on Washington on Saturday, January 21, 2017 left one main imprint on me. Kindness. From the moment I got on the train at 6:35am to when I got back to Richmond that night, I was met with kindness, positivity, openness and love. Kindness was at the root of everything — of doing right by all women, men, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, and people of all ages, backgrounds and religions. Doing right by all humans is rooted in basic kindness. Thousands were pressed together like sardines and negativity did not arise. I felt only kindness and respect for the people I stood shoulder to shoulder with on one of the most amazing days of my life.

 

 

 

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Pro-Lifer Discovers She’s Pro-Choice!

mybodymychoiceDesigned by Drea Schneider + Michelle Nam Download at JoinTheUproar

If I were to write for The Onion, my story would read: “Pro-Lifer Discovers She’s Pro-Choice!” Yeah, I know. But I’ve always struggled with labels. Part of it’s probably how I hate conforming to almost anything. Part of it’s that weird assumption that Pro-Choice people are cheering on abortions as if they are cheering on gladiators, or how the mob cheered on beheadings during The Reign of Terror in France. Um, no thank you.

So let’s take these two labels of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice. I always felt more comfortable with “Pro-Life” because I value LIFE (just as Pro-Choicers do. You can’t be pro-choice and not value life). I respect that you shouldn’t have to waste away in your last years miserably if you don’t want to, that you have a right to not bring a child into the world because you care about the quality of life that child might have or how that life might impact the lives of your family (no one will ever know or understand those circumstances better than the person making the choice), that a convicted criminal shouldn’t be put to death, that we should not wage war and take another’s life because (ultimately) a few powerful people disagree.

The conversations I have around Pro-Choice with my peers are always about the VALUE of the life being lived. When I’ve called myself a Pro-Lifer, it’s not that I’ve supported anti-abortion policies. I truly believe abortion rights ARE pro-life. That’s how I feel. How a lot of Pro-Choice women and men feel.

These days, with all that’s happening, I’ve been thinking about the political side of what it means to be Pro-Choice and I need to embrace the proper political label. Because I AM for a woman’s right, not the government’s right, to choose what happens to or with my body.

That’s why I carried a sign at the Women’s March on Washington that said (on one of the sides) MY BODY. MY VOICE. MY COUNTRY. MY CHOICE.

 

 

Women Have To Be Tough

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I came across this article tonight: ‘You have to be tough’ and other advice from women in power. It was a roundup of tweets from the Triangle Entrepreneurship Week’s 2014 Women in Power. The title struck a cord since I had just finished my purposeful watching of two episodes from The Closer (with both Mary McDonnell and Kyra Sedgwick). I sat down specifically to watch tough, feminine women in power — to take note and be inspired (as well as to unwind and be entertained) — as I role into a new role at work. People can laugh that I do this, but I still live in a world of powerful (and inspiring) guys. And I watch and take note from them, too. They’re awesome. And they often invite me to the table. But we still have to be tough, to hold our own. We do it day in and day out. And it’s not always a men vs. women thing. Sometimes it’s being tough with other women. Regardless, I’m lucky I have great (male) mentors at work. But there’s something beautifully empowering in the reminder about standing strong when you hear it from other women or watch them on TV. You are empowered by the women just like you and by the ones you aspire to be.

Frozen: Funny & Approachable Leading Ladies

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Cheers to my favorite line in Frozen (and really, there are a ton). But my tip top pick is when Anna sings about stuffing chocolate in her face. I love her real, down to earth, funny spirit. What woman can’t relate?! Love, love, love this.

“Tonight imagine me gown and all
Fetchingly draped against the wall
The picture of sophisticated grace
Ooh! I suddenly see him standing there
A beautiful stranger, tall and fair
I wanna stuff some chocolate in my face”

Read more: Kristen Bell – For The First Time In Forever Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Women History Month: Thank You Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem’s inspiration to switch from journalism to activism is a great reminder that what we personally experience is rarely unique to us but is often universal. When we come together, we can affect change. I think it’s so human, certainly so female, that our first reaction when we experience something difficult is that we are alone. Yet, as a member of 51% of the population, I think it’s safe to say we are not and that there are women who will stand by us as we stand by them. 

In honor of Women’s History Month, thank you Gloria Steinem for leading and helping raise the profile for women’s activism! Where I am today is thanks to amazing women like you.

This video is from the awesome Makers.com.

MAKERS: Women Who Make America is an ongoing initiative that aims to be the largest and most dynamic collection of women’s stories ever assembled.

MAKERS.com is a dynamic digital platform showcasing thousands of compelling stories – both known and unknown – from trailblazing women of today and tomorrow. 

 

 

 

 

Do All Powerful Women Think Alike?

When Do They Serve The Wine?

Yellen and Clinton 2I drew this cartoon yesterday because I really wanted to comment on the nomination of Janet Yellen for chair of the Federal Reserve. It’s a big deal. She will arguably be, if the nomination goes through, the most powerful woman in the world. Because of money.

But what does that mean? Anything? She may bring a different sensibility to the table as a woman, she may not. Just because she is a woman doesn’t mean she thinks differently than a man. I write a little about it on my Forbes blog, if you want to go over there.

Here is another version I did. Which one do you like better?Yellen and Clinton 2

 

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