"Nothing about us, without us."
KEEP UP WITH ARISE!
Since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman, got our game from a woman…I think it’s time to heal our women, be real to our women. This is an excerpt from Tupac Shakur’s Keep Ya’ Head Up, an ode to women who have struggled and are struggling, to press on. What if we eliminated the barriers that create this struggle for women and girls? When we talk about women’s history and women’s issues, it is important to remember that equality has not happened for all women in the same ways. COVID delayed the centennial celebration of Women’s Suffrage, marking women getting the right to vote. Although there were black suffragists like Ida B. Wells and Anna Julia Cooper fighting for voting rights, when it was time to get the rights, not all the women who had done the work were included. The suffragettes kept it moving, leaving black women behind. This still happens today.
In 2021, Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native women are FIVE times more likely to die from pregnancy related causes than white women. For this movement to genuinely be inclusive, we must hear and lift the voices of trans women, especially black trans women. Black and brown trans women are disproportionately affected by violence, overlooked, and disregarded in the very same movements when they’ve been doing the work, lifting community, fighting for equality and justice; Yet when their contributions are minimized and their bodies are violated and destroyed, we say nothing. The economic impacts of COVID have disproportionately affected women of color across the country and right here in Springfield. This movement is about solidarity, sisterhood, allyship and being accomplices. Don’t just stand with me, go before me, using your privilege as a hedge of protection. Speak up, speak out and act, because the silence is deafening. Many women have prepared tables that they weren’t allowed to sit at, despite their brilliance and contributions. To truly honor the legacy of the women that came before us, I want us to tell the hard truths in our remembrance so we can do better moving forward.
“The measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls.” ~Former First Lady, Michelle Obama