Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Letter To My Granddaughters On The 2017 Inauguration

First, my best wishes for all of my granddaughters for a very happy and satisfying New Year.  I want to express to you my thoughts about the upcoming Presidential Inauguration and the Women's March On Washington on the day after, January 21.  This because so many women in my life are converging on our nation's capital on that day to stand up for their rights, your rights and to celebrate the major fight ahead for equality and justice for not only women, but us all.

Most of the women in my life were crushed on November 8 when Hillary Clinton was defeated in our most bizarre electoral college vote.  Crushed not because they agreed with Ms. Clinton 100%; no seriously thinking person would agree with a candidate 100%.  But they respected her preparation for this huge responsibility, her very significant service to her countrymen and countrywomen and the dignified, intelligent and graceful way she presented her case for election.   Now they and I respect the dignified and graceful manner in which she is accepting the results.  No bloviating, no bitter statements of recrimination against her opponent nor those who rejected her candidacy.

I for one had hoped this well prepared and experienced leader might stand before us on January 20 and provide inspiration for all of us as the first women elected to lead this powerful nation.  But, by the tightest of margins in three states she did not prevail.  I will be writing a blog soon entitled Defeat By A Thousand Tiny Cuts.

But for you, the three most important women in my life in addition to my beloved Julia Jackson, I have a few thoughts.  Hillary never gave up, even under withering and demeaning, baseless attacks.  You must not give up either.  Not in any of the pursuits life leads you to, nor complete control over your own destiny and the choices that are ahead for you.  You own your own being.  Every aspect of it.  Mind, body and spirit.   Don't ever give up that control.

Never stop dreaming.  Imagine your futures.  Your highest aspirations.  work like hell to realize and actualize them.

Look the the inspiration the women who came before you offer.  The black women in bondage in America who broke out and not only became free, but gave some much back to us all.   The suffragettes  who labored for 80 years for a right that was always due them, the right to vote and participate in their governance. The Feminists of the 50's, 60's and 70's who fought for your right to control your own destiny, your own bodies and demanded equality.  Their dream of an Equal Rights Amendment to codify their rights and yours is still unrealized.  Help them get it done in your lifetime, if not for yourselves, for your children and those to come.  For your sisters in the cause.

And speaking of inspiration, I want to honor the two women in my life who did their homework, hit the streets in protest, gathered with other women to demand justice, served in community leadership positions denied to others before them and never, never stopped advocating for what is fair and right.  Equality.  Took risks, spoke out and stood tall demanding justice.  Mary Kaye Merriman and Julie Jackson.  Two activists who worked not only for themselves, their families but also for the sisterhood still diminished by misogyny, predatory sexists, ignorant racists and worst of all, silent bystanders who are complicit with their silence.

Do what you can to further the cause of ending the suppression of half the earth's population.  Speak out. Write.  Set examples.  Excel.  Lead if you can.  You are up to the task with the way forward paved by selfless others.  Now it is your turn.