This Week in Women: Gather Around The Fire
Like a fire that burns faster as it grows bigger and hungrier, so too has momentum grown in the days nearing November’s Midterm elections. Since Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s moving testimony, the collective voice of women around the country has been rising. We have protested on the steps of the Supreme Court, we have generated millions of dollars to fund Democratic candidates and political action committees, and we have kindled our own fires with stories of courage and survival and the airing of grievances with the patriarchy. Action has followed closely on the heels of every word, and it is hard not to feel the contagious excitement for the Midterms that are just 25 days away.
On Wednesday, Tarana Burke, Amanda de Cadenet, Glennon Doyle, Tracee Ellis Ross, and America Ferrera published an open letter (#DrFordLoveLetter) to Dr. Blasey Ford that encapsulated the feeling of a reinvigorated movement. “We witnessed you show up for duty not as a superhero, but as a fully human woman. You showed us that the new hero – the kind of heroism called for in this moment—is a woman facing the patriarchy with not weapons other than her voice, her body, and the truth.”
This week we are celebrating inclusivity and courage with National Coming Out Day, plus yesterday’s announcement of Michelle Obama’s new Global Girls Alliance to build opportunities for girls around the world. It’s time for This Week in Women!
Michelle Obama Announces Global Girls Alliance
Radiant in suffragette white, Former First Lady Michelle Obama made a Today Show appearance on Thursday on behalf of the Obama Foundation to announce the new Global Girls Alliance. The announcement poignantly coincided with the “International Day of the Girl” (#InternationalDayOfTheGirl).
The organization “seeks to empower adolescent girls around the world through education, allowing them to achieve their full potential and transform their families, communities, and countries.” This new initiative aims to build support and participation through GoFundMe fundraising commitments, grassroots leadership-building, and inspiring young people around the world. The alliance’s website also includes resources for adolescent girls, as well as ways to get involved through organizations, such as Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Inc., Girl Up, and She’s First.
“Change is hard and it takes time and we are planting seeds everyday,” said Obama when asked about the divisive and often “depressing” state of current politics.
She also shared that despite the negativity, it is up to everyone to make the choice of whether to be a positive force and strong role model for the next generation or to sit on the sidelines. Obama touched on the #MeToo movement, as well, saying, “I’m surprised at how much has changed, but how much has not changed. And I think that’s where the fire is coming from. Enough is enough. Women are tired of being undervalued.”
National Coming Out Day Emphasizes Human Experience
The annual LGBTQ awareness day on October 11th was a day of stories and of support. The Human Rights Organization celebrated the 30th anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. National Coming Out Day was first observed in the 1990s as “a reminder that one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out.”
“Coming out can be one of the most courageous acts an LGBTQ person makes, and that courage is inextricably tied to our continued progress toward full equality,” HRC president Chad Griffin said in an official statement. “Visibility matters, and research shows that when people know someone who is LGBTQ, they are far more likely to support full equality under the law. Coming out and sharing our stories is essential to advancing LGBTQ equality and fighting back against attempts to turn back the clock on our progress.”
— deray (@deray) October 12, 2018
This year, celebrities, such as Amanda Stenberg, Janelle Monáe, Tessa Thompson came out. Celebrity advocates, such as Ellen DeGeneres, Tegan and Sara, Ashly Perez, and Chani Nicholas, and other notable public figures, marked the occasion with messages of support.
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Coming out is a continual process. Please do it in the ways that are right for you. When, and if, it is safe (enough) for you to. . And you don’t have to. . It changes nothing about your identity if the only one you ever come out to, is you. . If you are thinking about coming out please set yourself up with resources specific to LGBTQI needs. Build community online if you can’t in person. . You are not in this alone. . We both want you to be safe. And happy. And free. And reflected. And loved. And we, like so many others, accept you exactly as you are. There is no right way to be queer, or any gender, or any kind of human being. You get to be you and define yourself for yourself. Every. Single. Day. #NationalComingOutDay [image: my wife, Sonya Passi, kissing the side of my face in an outdoor restaurant. Or, two relaxed queers enjoying life and loving on one another]
Featured image via Glamour
Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.