Updated: Sep 20, 2020
“If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you do not see.” —James Baldwin
Culture crisis. I overheard that term the other day, standing in a check out line. It was spoken by a young woman who could not have been more than twenty-five years old. She and her friend were talking about all the changes going on and how much we are losing because of the pandemic and how the protest is shaping our consciousness. They thought it was a good thing. A culture shift as one said, when they both looked at me. I responded I thought a good shake up in the things that ail us, is always a good thing.
I thought about the conversation and term again following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It made me think about all the powerful women who have over the years come to the aid of this country for good. It made me think of all the women who stepped in, leaned in, and spoke with a voice of authority and courage for the marginalize, disenfranchised, and left behind.
So today I thought I would speak their names, those passed on and those still carrying a torch to light the way. Those who have helped us, as James Baldwin once said, “If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you do not see.”
Because of them, we can: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Angela Davis, Barbara Jordan, Shirley Chisholm, Amelia Boynton Robinson, Nellie Bly, Emma Gonzalez, Mahalia Jackson, Malala Yousafzai, Michelle Obama, Gloria Steinem, Patsy Takemoto Mink, Katherine Johnson, Nancy Pelosi, Rosa Parks, Lilly Ledbetter, Misty Copeland, Mary McLeod Bethune, María Elena Salinas, Constance Baker Motley, Anna Julia Cooper, Sonia Sotomayor, Indira Gandhi, Helen Keller, Margaret Thatcher.
These are only a few. This list could go on and on, there are so many more. From politics, to entertainment and business these women showed us all what is possible, all while battling discrimination and adversity. Today, I am speaking their names. Today, I am calling out their commitment to inclusion, diversity, and equity. Today I am honoring their memory and their mark on the world.
Anna Julia Cooper and Patsy Takemoto Mink said it best, "The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or a sect, a party or a class—it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity." – Anna Julia Cooper. "What you endure is who you are," - Patsy Takemoto Mink.
Let us not endure racism, sexism, classism, or any ism. Many of the women on this list are known luminaries and many others are not. Yet, they have changed the course of history for our children and grandchildren.
Yes, we are in the middle of a culture crisis. We need new ways, new norms, new battle strategies, new voices to navigate this crisis. As we navigate this new normal course of human history, there will be more names added to the growing list of women who will give their life, their all, in service to others. In service to a nation.
Will your name be on the list?
“And that’s a brilliant glimpse of insight!”