January 17, 2019

Why I can’t be Passive about Women’s Rights Anymore.


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A post shared by Elephant Journal (@elephantjournal) on Aug 1, 2018 at 11:00pm PDT


I have never been an active protester—an active anything, for that matter.

I have always pursued advocacy through my writing, through monetary donations, and through my work.

I have admired people who give their time to making a difference by showing up, but I have always chosen to make a difference from the sidelines.

Not anymore.

When I choose to stay on the sidelines, passively supporting a cause and maybe making a donation or writing an article, I am also choosing passivity about the outcomes. I am sending a message that it isn’t important enough for me to be all in; two feet in, as my friend Waylon Lewis likes to say.

I am done dipping my toes in the water. I am here to fully experience my life, no matter how messy it is. I am here to show up. So, I will be fully present this Saturday at the 2019 Women’s March.

I live in Central New York, just about 30 miles from Seneca Falls, the home of the Women’s Rights Movement. The first Women’s Rights Convention was held there in 1848.

It is amazing to think that just a few women—who had the courage to stand up and speak out—were able to set events in motion that have led to the positive changes we have seen: 127 women in Congress, 86 women in statewide elected offices, 9 female governors, and 2,112 women in state legislatures.

It is equally amazing to think about how far we still have to go to achieve equality for women.

In July, 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and 300 other women gathered at the Weslyan Chapel in Seneca Falls. This discussion led to the development of 11 resolutions of women’s rights, which included giving women the right to vote.

While women have secured the right to vote (after 72 years, the 19th amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920), much of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s speech from 1848 could start this weekend’s march.

Stanton said:

“We are assembled to protest against a form of government, existing without the consent of the governed—to declare our right to be free as man is free, to be represented in the government which we are taxed to support, to have such disgraceful laws as give man the power to chastise and imprison his wife, to take the wages which she earns, the property which she inherits, and, in case of separation, the children of her love.”

The leader of our country, and many political leaders, demonstrate, at best, a lack of understanding and, at worst, a level of contempt for women. This cannot be tolerated.

Women, let your voices be heard this weekend.

>> Join in events in your area that support women.

>> Take to social media: post articles, tweet quotes, Instagram pictures of strong women.

>> Take the opportunity to educate your sons, your brothers, your fathers, and your husbands about the ways women are still fighting to be seen, heard, and respected today.

>> Volunteer at a food pantry, at a shelter, or to drive women to the doctor or to church.

>> Open your home, have a potluck dinner, and ask for donations for your local women’s shelter.

You will be able to find me in Seneca Falls at the home of the Women’s Rights Movement, taking my place with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and all of the brave and courageous women who came before me.

I hope I see you there.


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