My parents weren’t activists. They began their adult life in the late 1960’s. Living in the South, the Civil Rights Movement was taking place under their noses. The Vietnam draft was beginning. The country outlawed discrimination based on gender with the Civil Rights Act and the contemporary women’s movement began.
So the idea that I might march, carry a sign, engage in an act of civic disobedience – is not something I aspired to as a child. It was something other people did. It was foreign and something I could only imagine based on images I’d seen on the news, or story lines in TV shows.
Yet somehow I grew up with a clear sense of right and wrong … of justice and injustice … of the power of our voices and our votes. I became a journalist and one of my first jobs was working as a consumer reporter, knocking on doors and chasing down unscrupulous people that took advantage of someone – with my microphone and cameraman. I got a second degree in international politics because I was fascinated by the power of government structure and how it shapes our lives.
My daughters are not having the same experience I did. I took them to the Women’s March in Washington. We marched last Saturday in the March for Our Lives. I always take them with me to vote in any primary or election held – the whole time telling them that voting is as necessary as taking a shower, or changing the oil in your car. I am teaching them it’s something you must do – no matter what. Lately I’ve been telling them that voting is not enough. It’s what happens between elections that is shaping our country.
And when I contemplate this ongoing civic lesson I am imparting on my daughters, I realize that I am illustrating what any contemporary historian might observe. THIS IS NOT YOUR MOTHER’S MOVEMENT. And that is our theme for this second quarter of 2018 at Women AdvaNCe.
Our mothers (not mine) carried signs, and burned bras, and boarded buses to fight for rights we now take for granted. They had their feet, their time, their voices and their passions to carry out their message. We have so much more. We have all of those things – plus the power of social media – the electronic connections to others around the world. With the stroke of one “hashtag” we can connect our thoughts with a string of others. I suspect we rarely contemplate the power that provides. We slid into this era of social media. Many of us can’t remember what we did without it and typing an @ symbol to tag someone on Facebook is as natural as holding down the “shift” key to type a capital letter.
This quarter with our Writer’s Collective and team of community groups we’ll be examining the idea that this is not our mother’s movement. We’ll illustrate what this does look like and ask how we can make sure this movement MOVES the mountains we have before us.
We invite you to come along for the ride with us, share your stories and share ours with your networks.