This One is For The Women

brooke-cagle-52214It seems that with every month comes something new to discover and a new idea to think about. With March comes Daylight Savings time, the beauty of Spring, and last but never the least, Women’s History Month. Welcome to the celebration of some of the most amazing people I have ever met and the history of the women this nation is built on.

Back in January, I had a small post on the Women’s March, speaking on the Beauty of Standing Up. Just in case you haven’t read it and want to check that out, go ahead and click that link. Last month I told you all about black history, whether it was through poetry, experience, or the help of another perspective. This month, I don’t think I need to tell you all about the importance of Women’s History and how far we’ve come, from the wage battle to the fallacy of equality.

I don’t need to tell you how important women are to each of our lives, both those born female and those not— just take a look at your mother, your sister, your girlfriend, your best friend…

Women are an integral part of this world, I don’t know where I would be without the incredible ladies I am blessed to have in my life.

So here’s to each and every one of them.

Did you know that Women’s History Month aaron-burden-185993.jpgstarted off as just a week in 1978, designated by the the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission in order to educate more people? Fast forward eight years and by then, 14 states had made March Women’s History Month… A year later, in 1987, Congress declared the month nationally


If the history of women in our nation was important enough to go through Congress to add to the monthly celebrations of who we all are, then why are we still struggling to pay attention?

Just like I said that black history is more than a month, and so is Women’s History. There is a wide array of ethnicities, cultures, and people who make up this world that we live in— we ought to be celebrating every single one of them.

Though the definition of a “woman” may be changing to incorporate the circumstances of every person’s life in the 21st century, it does not take away from the incredible potential each woman here in America has. Considering that Wednesday, the 8th, was International Women’s Day, should we still have to fight for the equality that it seems this world knows we deserve to have?

Barely sixty years ago, as a woman, I would not have been admitted to Cal Poly. As a black woman, I may have been hired as cooking staff… Maybe. You noah-hinton-172343see, we’ve come quite a ways from where we used to be in regards to our inclusion as part of society, however, we are still so far behind men that baby steps don’t seem to be enough anymore. Though the genetic difference comes down to a single Y chromosome, apparently it makes all the difference when it comes to wages, career outlook, and even perceived positions of power. 

Women deserve more.

By more, I mean equality in not only the way we work or what we get for working, but in the way we are treated every single day. Stereotypically, women are seen as less intelligent, more emotional, and weak. It still surprises me that people believe women aren’t as strong or capable as men are— have you met my mother? From the woman whom I owe my life (and half my genes) to, to so many others who have changed my life, the this month is a celebration of everything each of us can be. So why not talk about it?

It’s one thing to have a month designated to celebrate a certain group of people, and it’s another thing to actually celebrate it. I feel like there is a tendency to assume we all already know what we need to know, whether it’s the meaning behind this month or the knowledge that comes with it. Let’s be honest, many people believe in the idea that “ignorance is bliss”. Depending on your opinions, sometimes this is true.

When it comes to Women’s History Month, or any culture/group appreciation in general, ignorance is simply just ignorance. Educate yourself. Considering we are in the 21st century, with access to Google and far too much information at the tips of our fingers, there is no longer any excuse as to why we do not know who people james-douglas-730.jpglike Helen Keller and Dr. Sally Ride are. These months are more than a label, the titles are more than suggestions, and these women…

They make up 3.4 billion of the world population.

This is a call for action, to understand why we have this month designated to 3.4 billion people. This is a month where I want to say thank you to each and every woman who has impacted my life, from my teachers to my best friends. This is a time for women empowerment.

May it forever be more than just a month.

 

The Beauty of Standing Up

“I, too, sing America.”splitshire-9614

Two weeks ago I put up my new poetry page in addition to my blog posts, and this week I decided to do something special: This week I am combining them into one.

Last Saturday and Sunday, I’m sure you heard all about the Women’s March no matter where you are in the world— voices could be heard across the globe, from here in SLO to Amsterdam. Whether they were protesting for individual rights,
against our new President, or something entirely different, their words all came from the same place.

They came from the idea that this is something worth fighting for.

No matter what your political views are or how you feel about America right now, you have to admit, there is something beautiful about people from all walks of life coming together to advocate for something they believe in. In watching the news, scrolling through photos, and listening to professors mention the events in class, it brought me back to a poem I read a few weeks back that made me think about who America really is. Through the Poem a day email signup on Academy of American Poets, I came across Langston Hughes’s poem I, Too.

In the face of adversity, voices tend to rise, and I love what Hughes has to say below. Throughout the poem, we see a contrast between where those represented are to where they know
they will be in time. It’s the belief that things will change, the fight for a better stance, and a sense of belonging they deserve to find… It’s part of what makes us human.

The need to fight for what we believe we deserve.

vast oceanNot only does he say he will “grow strong”, but soon enough “They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed”.


That is the goal isn’t it? To become something better, something stronger— someone who holds the beauty others are ashamed they couldn’t see until it was too late. Because the truth is what people are fighting for, whether it is wholly universal or simply personal. What is true to us means something in our hearts and that is
always worth fighting for.

I think no matter what you believe those in the Women’s March were trying to say, Hughes ties it all together in this beautiful poem, I, Too. So without further ado, I share with you a work of art that I only wish I had come across sooner. Here’s to a more honest, stronger future, and brighter days ahead.

I, Too

By Langston Hughes

 

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,splitshire-7553

And grow strong.

 

Tomorrow,

I’ll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody’ll dare

Say to me,

“Eat in the kitchen,”

Then.

 

Besides,

They’ll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed—

 

I, too, am America.