Yesterday, I attended the Women’s March on Washington along with my daughter and marching beside one of the friends who has known me the longest on this earth. Feminists, unite. This is me, in the thick of it, wearing the names and causes of over 100 people marching in solidarity with me:
I write and reflect today here, having been re-energized by the vitality of millions of small points of light who ARE and WILL make a global difference.
My enduring reflection from yesterday is this: unshakable unity while embracing diversity. Those who attended had many issues of importance to them, personally and socially. But, we were together and united by a common cause of advancing women’s rights as human rights. Diversity was notable and palpable. This is what my feminist foremothers taught me, and the march reminded me: feminism embraces multiple truths and complicated realities, bound together in the advancement of gender equity. Feminism is artistry, and advocacy. Feminism is intellectual and emotional; empathetic and outward looking to embrace the well being of our sisters everywhere. So grateful for the opportunity to live into that palpably yesterday and today, writing letters to my local, state, and national representatives to let them know I am here and will never be silent while injustice impacts any of my sisters and global siblings.
Today, I am writing letters. I will say upfront, when I compile the list of people who are my representatives in City, State, and National government I am humbled to be among them. I have been grateful to elect people I believe are warriors for justice and change-agents in their spheres of influence. So, I took time to write and remind them that I also have a voice that I will use, and I’m in this with them:
I write on this Sunday after I have witnessed a peaceful transfer of power which is the hallmark of our U.S. Governmental process, and after I have marched in the streets of Washington, DC to advocate for women’s rights as human rights; this demonstration is also the hallmark of our democracy. Today, I write to express to you, my representative, what I hope you will stand for during your terms.
Women constitute more than half of the population of this great country. We bear the children of this country; we contribute economically, socially and politically to the fiber of what makes this nation great. Yet, we are subject to laws which unfairly discriminate against our access to health care by taxing and regulating reproductive health in ways that our brothers do not experience; we do not have the same earning power as our male brothers who are not called into account for these enduring economic sanctions; we do not receive support for roles in leadership without being subject to commentary from men on our clothing, our physical appearance, or other aspects of our bodies. Our intellectual strength is demeaned by over-attention to sexualization and objectification of our bodies without those levelling this patriarchal power being called to accountability. The mothers of this country, especially those in poverty, are bound up in policies which limit their access to family planning while being demonized for bringing more children into this world. It must stop. We must begin to view with equity the social, economic, intellectual, and political strength of women of all races, all socioeconomic strata, and all walks of life.
I write to you as someone with a voice, to remind you that I will use it. I will use my voice as a citizen to craft social policy and work it through the local, state, and federal processes. I will use my voice as a Professor to train the next generation of leaders to understand the social forces which interweave us as human beings beyond ideologies and identity politics and into real, human experience. I will preach from my pulpit the Good News of dignity and worth of every human being. I will be unafraid to publicly support policy which upholds the worth of my sisters and global siblings, and to protest against that which breaks us down. I am your constituent and I shall not be silent. I am grateful for your leadership, and I want to let you know that you have my vote, my voice, and I have your back as you continue your advocacy.
If my voice can be used to amplify equity, call upon me. This is the birth of a movement for equity and I, your constituent, I am on the front lines and ready to stand.
In solidarity with women everywhere,
I will write a different letter to Donald J. Trump.
In the meantime, I will keep on teaching and writing and offering pastoral care and tangible support to those experiencing homelessness, to young mothers and children, to those across lines of socioeconomics, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender expression, religious affiliation. I will work preferentially with those who are poor and oppressed, because I learn from them and with them what it means to be human. I will see God in all spaces, because God is showing Godself to us in those spaces.
Yesterday I marched, today I act. I implore you to do the same. Brighten the world with your own presence, all those who are reading. It is time for us to birth a new movement for light and justice in this world.
Here is a bit of inspiration for my title, delivered by the amazing Alicia Keys: