Friday, August 26, 2011

On Women’s Equality Day…

In 1971 Congress designated August 26th “Women’s Equality Day” at the behest of the late Rep. Bella Abzug (D-NY). Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920 that granted women the right to vote.

I’m pondering how much has changed and how much has remains the same.

Winning the vote was a victory for women…but the victory celebration was delayed for many women of color who lived in states where voter suppression was in full effect. My Grandmother, who was born in Mississippi a few years before 1920, didn’t have the protected vote...and a right in name only is not a right.

Today, many women face a world where access is barred to all manner of things…fair housing, decent education, safe and healthy living conditions, safe and affordable healthcare, healthcare providers, and so on and so forth.

The movement for equality and justice is my inheritance…earned through the blood, sweat, and tears of millions who risked it all and suffered mightily.

This Women’s Equality Day I’m thinking of how I honor that sacrifice.

It really is like tending to an inheritance.

Through activism and outreach…so that women know what threats those opposed to justice have cooked up and how to combat them.

Through education and mentoring…so that lessons learned do not have to be re-learned, younger generations are empowered, and to gain inspiration through the amazing work of others.

And through the vote…oh, yes – the power of the vote, which women fought for and earned in 1920 and the women in my family were able to take advantage of in 1965.

Happy Women’s Equality Day…

…celebrate it but don’t forget to honor it.

7 comments:

YelloKat said...

Hmmmmm...thank you for pointing out this very important part of American History that is commonly overlooked.

I actually do not honor the women's suffrage movement, because apart from a few select individuals, most of the white suffragists were fighting specifically for white women's rights. Women of color were not included for a reason, and many women's liberations movements were rooted in racist ideologies, that actually helped to advance their struggle for white women's rights.

But thanks, because I can't forget the vote; a very powerful way to exemplify the marginalization of black women. I am producing a documentary on this subject. Perhaps you would like to have a look. The link is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gSfCnVE3gU&feature=channel_video_title

Michelle said...

But if you get equality then your reasoning behind this blog will be lost. How conflicting. You so-called "enlightened" ones wants true equality, but don't want to give up your status of being marginalized cause if that happened, you can no longer play the scorned victim.

From one black woman to another, I feel that society has to work together to embrace equality. Blaming white folk or the government or whatever pisses you off that day for inequalities is just a cop-out. But I guess this comment won't be made public cause calling you out is a no-no. Whatever.

Shark-fu said...

Michelle... If I had a dollar for every person who assumed their comment wouldn't be made public...or that this blog and/or post exists to criticize white people...or that I don't want to work myself out of a job, I'd be able to fund a national reading comprehension program to help folks like you cure what ails ya!

Fanny Lou Hammer pointed out the fact that black women in Mississippi were disenfranchised over 40 years ago.

I bring it up here to clarify the history of suffrage.

The fight against voter suppression goes on.

I am going to keep on fighting, Michelle.

You go on being you...

Michelle said...

Not everyone is college-educated and has the best skills, but I think my reading comprehension is just fine thank you.

"You go on being you..."

I sure will. I'm a hard-working mother of 2 who knew damn well that "making it" would be difficult cause of my race and gender. However I don't have the passive-aggressive anger to blame everything on others; life ain't fair, I knew that I STILL kept going. I "fight" too, but I just do it my way and you can do it your way as well. If you succeed, only time will tell...

Shark-fu said...

Blink.

Alrighty!

Now, back to suffrage...

Michelle said...

Keep blinking cause you can't come up with a response. Typical smart-mouth know-it-all heffa.

Shark-fu said...

I am so gonna make a t-shirt with Smart Mouth Know It All Heffa on it!

Fantabulous.

See ya, Michelle...