This Week in Women: One Year Later
This week was a bittersweet occasion as we remembered the fateful election day of 2016 when Trump swept into power and began to unravel decency, civility and the dignity of the highest elected office. In November 2016, we had just an inkling of the fire and resistance that electing a predator-in-chief would bring to people across the country. The Women’s March unified millions across the world and record numbers of women are organizing and running for office. Executive orders, appointments and legislation that have been designed to hold back and oppress women, LGBTQA, minority groups, young people, Mother Earth, and science, have been met with concerted protests; legal action from organizations like the ACLU, NARAL, and Planned Parenthood; new political candidacies; and more. If this time has taught us anything, it is that we have collectively been far too complacent and it was time to get off the sidelines.
One year after the headline “Nasty Will Prevail” we are looking at 2017 Election Day results, the trending #ThankfulForMuslimWomen, and author Roxane Gay’s newest work. It’s time for This Week in Women!
Election Day Results & Early Indicators
Exit polls shared by CNN show that Trump is “deeply unpopular” and a conundrum for many Republican races, while Democrats continue to use him as a spring board for launching passionate grassroots campaigns to help make gains from municipal to national levels after 2016. Democrat Ralph Northam ran away with the highly contested gubernatorial race in Virginia, in no small part because of women’s votes (leading with women by 21 points).
Women won big in Virginia’s delegation, including Danica Roem, the first trans state legislator in America. The 33-year old journalist defeated Bob Marshall (the guy who calls himself the state’s “Chief Homophobe”) that proposed the 2015 anti-trans bathroom bill. After Roem’s victory was announced, she was asked about Marshall to which she replied, “I don’t attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.”
Virginia’s State House also has Vietnamese refugee Kathy Tran was elected as the first Asian American woman elected to the delegation; and Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala who defeated Republican incumbents to join as the first Latina delegates.
Vi Lyles was elected as Charlotte, North Carolina’s first-ever African-American woman mayor. Andrea Jenkins secured a seat on Minneapolis’ City Council as the first openly trans woman elected to a city council in a major city. Seattle now has an openly gay woman as mayor, Jenny Durkan, after nearly 100 years. And there’s more to the list of victories, as women claimed so many “firsts” in a year that disproved that hate and division was the new American M.O.
#ThankfulForMuslimWomen Brings Awareness
The Middle East Collective (MEC) and organization works to “bolster the bridge between Muslims and Non-Muslims” by curating and sharing art, photography, writing and essays, and design; and is working to build inclusive communities in Washington D.C., Cairo and Berlin. The organization has announced a #ThankfulForMuslimWomen campaign through this month as a way to break down stereotypes around Muslim women as “damsels in distress who need to be saved” and bringing more awareness to the contributions of Muslim women.
“Therefore, each day this month, we will feature Muslim women who are boldly making much needed positive changes in our world despite facing continual disadvantages and stereotyping because of their gender and religion,” MEC shared in an official statement.
We are #ThankfulForMuslimWomen like Halima Aden. Halima was one of the first Muslim Somali-American women to compete for the Miss Minnesota USA title and was the first contestant to ever compete in the competition while wearing a burking and hijab. Ms. Aden has said, “Not seeing women that look like you in media in general and especially in beauty competitions sends the message that you’re not beautiful or you have to change the way you look to be considered beautiful…and that’s not true.” We are grateful for Halima’s courageous, young voice and how she uses it to break the patriarchy’s image of what beauty should look like.
Roxane Gay Announces a New Anthology
Acclaimed writer Roxane Gay tweeted out a new book announcement to over 331 thousand followers. Not that Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture is an anthology featuring 30 essays from different authors—including Gabrielle Union, Aubrey Hirsch and Ally Sheedy—and will begin with a forward by Gay.
According to the publisher, Harper Perennial, Gay “collects original and previously published pieces that address what it means to live in a world where women have to measure the harassment, violence, and aggression they face, and where they are ‘routinely second-guessed, blown off, discredited, denigrated, besmirched, belittled, patronized, mocked, shamed, gaslit, insulted, bullied’ for speaking out.”
The new anthology is due out May 1, 2018.
Stay tuned to Milk for more on badass ladies.
Featured image via Paperback Paris