Beth Hawkins, Minneapolis; Director of Editorial at Education PostFellow women writers, education advocates and mama bears: I didn’t go to the Women’s March the day after the presidential election—I’m too much of a journalist at heart to participate in protests—but I followed all of your Facebook posts and tweets as closely as if I’d been there. I was astonished to realize that in the incredible diversity of opinions we had about the event and about the need to keep showing up for children. Some of you took your children to introduce them to a kind of civic activism that fuels you. Some of you support our kids just as fiercely, yet did not find the same meaning in the march. I’m moved, in the wake of the largest peaceful protest in U.S. history, to open a dialogue. What does it mean to be, raise and educate women in the age of Trump? Let’s share with each other and then with our readers. I’ll kick it off: Schools are full of girls learning to be women. They are full of women trying to have an impact on the dreams of the girls coming up behind them. This is no trifling thing. Did you know that when I was a schoolgirl there literally was no such thing as a woman’s athletic shoe? We wore smaller men’s shoes. My mother could not get a credit card or buy a house. I could go on. I’m a lesbian raising a child with multiple disabilities. I was shocked at how hard it was to realize after the Inauguration that we both were being erased from existence in the eyes of officialdom. I’m old and I’m mad and maybe they can strip me of some rights but they can’t take my faith in my right to exist. I’ve taken a lot of hits over the years, but for the first time now I wonder what will happen to my son when I’m gone and whether my identity has painted one more target on his tiny back.
Kerry-Ann Royes, Ft. Lauderdale; blogger, Faces of EducationI am a feminist, in most of the nuances of what that means. And I have a 12-year-old, first-generation American girl—so, I am a "mama bear," too. Walls, banning funding on sanctuary states...he actually told British Prime Minister Theresa May she will be better off for Brexit because "she'll have only the people she wants in her country." I'm done. I'm just done. I wish I made it to the march. I wanted to stand among thousands of people, women, and be reminded that I’m not crazy…or alone. Because that’s exactly how I felt on November 9 . I didn’t recognize this version of America. Have I been this delusional all these years? You are all strangers to me. But those women were not strangers. And the conversations! The conversations I had with my daughter and son after they witnessed everyone standing there! I'm so crazy grateful for those conversations.
Bernita Bradley, Detroit; blogger, Detroit School TalkI dedicate this to all the women who have felt that life is hard and felt as if someone wants you in a Stepford-Wife box or just wants you to comply and be a lower-case woman.
And so those scissors in your hand, Do you think they change my value Their cutting me into pieces Do you think it changes my worth Life spreads me across its table leaving me exposed to elements
And yet still I am cut from the finest of cloth My thread count supersedes that of any other in existence I hold in warmth during the coldest storms Coolness in temperatures of 125 and above Rain rolls off my outer as water to a duck’s back
Build a tent of me and I will withstand the strongest winds Immersed in an array of colors, for I wear well. I am a King’s choice garb to adorn his arm as he sits before his peers. My remnants are sought after to assure that none goes to waste.
But they become the finest linen at the most exquisite gala or Tied around collar with matching pocket decor of tailor made suits. I am critiqued for flaws that only make me more unique.
My original pattern can never be mimicked and my creator dare not compare me to others For He knows my worth Which is why he sets me on the highest shelf in await the appropriate buyer.
I am women I am queen Virtue in me
Fleet of foot, I surpass the best In my sleep I do what others only dare to dream I am choice Primal yet never extinct. Fragrant of success Admired by many
I am women.