History indicates Martin Luther King Doesn’t Want Women to Wait

 

History repeats. In honor of Martin Luther King, I tell this highly controversial story that has been stuck inside of me for about 8 years and is inspired by this quote:

 

“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.”

~Martin Luther King

 

Are you aware that history repeats itself?

 

It sure does. History is a course of study so that we can either replicate or avoid certain events in the future.

 

Here is an example:

 

The women’s suffrage movement was delayed by 53 years because the suffragettes were successfully divided by a separate movement to win the right to vote for black men. Unfortunately, women were not in a position to win both rights and their decision to support black men adversely impacted their own chances at freedom because black men never bothered to reciprocate or use their new found freedom to turn around and help women earn the right to vote.

 

White men were in a better position to hold onto their power by completely controlling the system of government that allowed only men to vote. Women were not a part of this system and had no ability to thwart Jim Crow laws or to call out any of the racism that was used to slow down the impact of the 15th amendment. Once black men “won” the right to vote, momentum for women’s right to vote stopped.

 

Essentially, women had to start over and win the right to vote all on their own. There was no significant group of white men or black men who joined the effort to win women the right to vote, there was never reciprocity or gratitude for the altruistic efforts of women to win black men the right to vote, and that is why it took 53 more years for women to be allowed to vote via the 19th amendment.

 

History repeated in 2008.

 

The Democrats had 2 choices to consider backing for President. There was one white woman who had more experience than anyone. There was one black man who had less experience than anyone. There was a lot of posturing about how the Democrats needed to win this time and about how Republicans would be more upset about a first-time woman president than a first-time black man president.

 

Yes—that is how successful the white male movement of 1776 has been. It took until 1865 for black men to win the right to vote and until 1920 for women to join in on the freedom. So yes, by 2008 we are all still walking on eggshells about which one of us non-white-men will piss off the Republicans the least, as a political strategy. Should women support women this time? Is that even safe?

 

Needless to say, women were more than happy to step aside and let the less-experienced black man take her place in line. So happy for you! Because we are democrats and we are a team, right? It’s not about experience, skill or merit when it comes to man versus woman, we women totally get that. We know how disgusting you think it is for us to vote for someone “just because” they are a woman, as though being represented in government is not something to strive for.

 

I know how disgusting it is for me to begrudge America the experience of a black first family. It’s like being mad at the new hire for getting promoted before you; you can see he’s doing a great job, but it is still unfair that he didn’t put in his dues. And that unfair promotion has a ripple effect.

 

Because who cares that history tells us it will now take 53 more years for America to experience their first woman President. “No taxation without representation” is a sassy phrase that only applies to white men; it’s not a real call to action that has aaaaaaaaanything to do with a REVOLUTION.

 

Revolution? For What? Because Planned Parenthood is being defunded? Because our President Elect brags about abusing his power to sexually assault women? Because sexual assault is not something white men are criminalized for perpetrating? Because white men remain in charge of women’s healthcare? Because of the pay gap?

 

“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, ‘Wait on time.’”

~Dr. Martin Luther King

 

Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King, I needed a man to tell me what I already knew to be true: telling me to wait is a subversive form of discrimination. In the 8 years I’ve been waiting to be represented in government by a black man, I’ve decided that it does actually need to be a woman president in order for valid representation.

 

I wish history didn’t repeat itself in this case. I wish that I could tell you after 8 years of Obama that all the black men turned around and supported the most experienced female candidate in the history of America. After all, that same woman, and all the women who supported her, set their needs aside to support the black man because it was the right thing to do. Would it not now be the right thing to do to reciprocate?

 

No. That’s not even close to what happened. Name a time when men voted against their own interests. Name a time when women voted in their own interests. Men know what it’s like to be represented by their own gender. Women don’t. History repeats.

 

After 8 years of waiting, I’m done. I’m breaking the cycle. I support you men and I’ve proven that. Watch me support me now. I don’t want white men deciding what to do with organs they don’t even have in their own body. I release you men of that burden forever. The war on women has to stop now. There has to be a point where I grow up and am adult enough to admit I know more about my body than a dude.

 

I don’t want to pretend men know better than me about me anymore.

 

All that ended in November 2016.

 

2017 is all about direct action.

 

“You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.”

Martin Luther King Jr., Why We Can’t Wait

Nonviolent direct action.

History repeats

For me right now, that means produce, direct and star in a play. Maya Angelou and Eve Ensler are my idols because they use theatre for social change. I want violence against women to end and I’m not afraid to put on a charitable play to demonstrate that.

 

If you’re in the Las Vegas area on Saturday February 4, 2017 at 7:00 p.m., check out the V-Day 2017 production of The Vagina Monologues at the Summerlin Library Performing Arts Center; all proceeds benefit Refuge for Women Las Vegas, an aftercare program for the trafficked and sexually exploited.

 

History repeats

Martin Luther King, Jr

 

I’m done making things more comfortable for you guys. This is a time for growth and growth is necessarily painful. Growing pains begin with discomfort. Get uncomfortable. Decide to have a conversation with the man in the mirror and ask him to change his ways.

 

Altruism is the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.

 

If you do not have an altruistic bone in your body, you’re not a leadership candidate; you can’t be trusted to put the needs of the group ahead of your own. Stop talking about “the way it should be” and start looking deep within yourself for a shred of altruism. The reason women historically keep putting others above their own needs is because it’s the right thing to do–even if the efforts are never reciprocated–because we are the models demonstrating with our lives how to treat each other. That’s right, children, women are the mothers and we are asking you all to grow up now. Pay it forward.

XO,

Rachel

Like a Girl Blog Post

hero

“A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.” Hercules

 

 

Maybe you don’t know how strong girls can be.

 

Let me tell you a story about what I know.

 

I know what it’s like to grow up a girl in a house full of boys in the 80s. I know what it’s like to hear the rumor that you can do anything while simultaneously watching how that actually plays out.

 

Take dodgeball for example.

 

Dodgeball. That game with the hand held rubber balls you throw at each other as hard as you can. Why as hard as you can? Because you don’t want the person to catch the ball, you want the person to get hit by the ball. If they get hit with the ball, they’re out. If they catch the ball, you’re out. Simple.

 

When I was in elementary school I went to a summer day camp. In the morning, after drop off but before camp officially began, the kids would all play dodgeball. Mostly the older teens, but because camp had not yet started for the day, the younger children could mix in with them, too.

 

Normally, the younger children choose to mix in with the older children to showcase their amazing, advanced, dodgeball skills. Not me. On that day, I joined in because I thought it would be fun. I believed that the older children would take into account how small I was even for the lowest age group.

 

In the 80s, you learn lessons the hard way.

 

The few minutes I spent on the field, to this day I can conjure up how it felt like a battlefield. The expressions, the sounds of satisfied triumph and stinging, shameful defeat, dodgeballs flying so fast, you can barely see them. I was lost out there, unable to catch or capture a ball to throw, startled by how hard the kids around me were getting hit.

 

WHAP!!!

 

The biggest kid on the field took aim. I saw it. I saw the whole thing. I saw his expression change from glory to terror right as the ball left his hand, as he realized too late that he had used too much force for such a small target.

 

That’s all I saw because when the dodgeball hit me in the face, the force of it brought me up off my feet, into the air and slammed my whole body onto the ground. Never before has anyone thrown a dodgeball that hard, and probably not since.

 

What happens next, the memory of it, brings me to tears.

 

While there is an outburst of accusations ranging from, ‘you’re in deep shit’ to ‘who let her on the field,’ only one person reacts appropriately. The strongest kid in the group ran to me, picked me up like a baby and RAN me over to the nurse. She was my hero.

 

I always wanted to thank her. But I was so overwhelmed with gratitude, that even to this day, I don’t have the right words to convey the emotions in my heart. It’s not just that she picked me up when I was down, it’s the way she did the right thing without hesitation. Alone. Truly, a hero.

 

That’s a role model.

 

Years later, that beautiful strong girl went on to play football for our high school, the first girl ever. I used to watch the football games and feel this enormous sense of pride, like that’s the girl who carried me, look at her, she can do anything. She can do things I’ve never even seen before. She matters.

 

I’ve had my moments. I’ve picked up many people who were down and cradled them to my chest. I have held the hands of countless emergency room victims of violence and advocated on their behalf. I have argued in Court pro bono to make children and families safe from violence. I have empathized with every soul who has looked to me for advice and counsel. But I have not yet been able to pay that one forward, I have not physically carried a stranger to safety.

 

I am so ready for that moment. That moment when objects are flying, people are screaming and pointing blame at each other. In that moment, I am ready to, without hesitation, physically remove the person in need of protection to carry them to safety. Alone. I am prepared to do the right thing because I know what a hero looks like, Luana Halftown showed me.

 

hero

Dr. Maya Angelou was a hero

 

Thank you for showing me strength. Because of you, I know that strength involves care, kindness, empathy, bravery, compassion, self sacrifice, faith and intuition. Strength is about having heart.

 

XO,

Rachel

hero

“I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by example.” Maya Angelou

My hero, Maya Angelou

Will you join me in a moment of silence in honor of my hero, Maya Angelou?

 

My initial reaction to being told she had died today was screaming followed by scream crying. My husband did not see that coming.

 

Neither did I.

 

It’s just…I thought…I don’t know. I made this website and blog because I was inspired. My dear friend, Sarah, sent me this Meme today:

 

Maya Angelou

 

I love Sarah so much and felt it was a real gift to hear from her in this way so I invited her to look at my new website, as it is rife with Maya Angelou quotes. I then launched into a desperate plea for her strength, explaining to Sarah that I was too afraid to put myself out there (as in, too afraid to shoot my excellent YouTube video scripts or tell anyone that I started a blog).

 

Sarah told me: I think the Internet is a great resource in having your voice heard and you should 100% go for this.

 

When I began to tell my husband about my conversation with Sarah, he informed me of the great Maya Angelou’s passing. During my scream crying it occurred to me that Sarah reached out to me today so that exact conversation could take place; so that I would 100% go for this. I think it’s what Angel Maya Angelou wants.

 

It makes sense that she would use Sarah, as my connection to Maya Angelou is linked to my friendship with Sarah. In the Spring of 2002 Maya Angelou spoke at our college in New York thanks to the painstaking efforts of the students involved in the Women of Color Club. Her message of activism inspired the rest of my life. When she sang, the huge packed auditorium went dead silent, you could hear a pin drop. It sounded a bit like this:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtdffxj7pNE

 

At the time, Sarah and I had just finished Co-Directing The Vagina Monologues for our school’s first ever V-Day college campaign to benefit the local YWCA Aid to Victims of Violence Unit. Maya Angelou blew our minds. I bought her autobiography afterwards called, “The Heart of a Woman” and was just astounded to learn that, like Eve Ensler, Maya Angelou wrote a play in an effort to create positive social change.

 

THIS was my calling.

 

My heart wanted to right all the wrongs that my GIANT brain could readily see, but I knew that I still needed to learn HOW to be heard. So, I went to law school and excelled. I got to stand up for victims of violence. I got to represent children in the middle of nasty custody disputes. I got to work for Family Court Judges as their Law Clerk. I even got a very nice thank you letter from a Family Law client, which is almost unheard of among attorneys.

 

However, this was not my calling.

 

I don’t want to argue. I don’t want to be lied to. I don’t want to be in a position where I witness children being used as pawns or bait.

 

I want to be heard. I have a lot of important things to say.

 

I don’t have Maya Angelou’s height or booming voice, but her spirit is within me.

 

I will shoot my YouTube videos; that is a promise.

 

Thank you for listening.

 

XO

 

~Rachel

The Net Epiphany

I had an epiphany on my drive from Las Vegas to San Diego. I was upset. Husband, Mother In Law, you name it. Too upset even for music in the car, I was driving to the rhythm of my own hurt stories repeating in a loop inside my head. Then I saw it, barely, a flicker of blurry movement in the top right hand corner of my view of the clear blue sky. What is that…but I already knew. True deja vu. I actually smiled.

 

Why are you smiling?!

 

It’s not real.

 

What’s not real?

 

Anything. That flicker in the sky, you know what it means: this is a test, this whole thing, it’s all made up for you. You see, but what will you do?

 

I will tell everyone.

 

And so it began.

 

When I arrived in San Diego, I had a lot of girl talk for my dear friend, Libby, but nothing more important than what I was about to say out loud for the first time.

 

Listen to me very closely: we are slaves. I saw it in the sky, it ‘s not a glass ceiling; it’s an illusion that changes all the time so we don’t figure it out.

 

“Like a net,” Libby knew, she didn’t ask.

 

Yes it’s a net, a trap. We are stuck in it all the time, all women. The evidence is right there in our history books but we are not allowed to draw the conclusion. Decades after black men won the right to vote, women were begrudgingly included in that same right. Women went from being property to being able to own property in our law books. Our bodies are always at risk of eminent domain with the prevalence of rape and the lack of resources. Make a baby, but don’t feed it from your breast in front of us. We are slaves. Right now. We will never emancipate if we don’t know we are slaves.

 

That night Libby and I went to see a world premier play at La Jolla Playhouse, written by the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner for drama. Nothing could have described the net better than this play and the reaction of the people in the audience. The misogyny was palpable. The recurring theme of the heroine’s sister submitting to a decade of anal sex in an effort to preserve her virginity and religious integrity repeatedly caused the audience to group belly laugh. I thought about jumping from the top row of the risers to the floor below so that I could escape the theatre as quickly as possible.

 

Once you see, you can’t unsee. Every single day that has gone by since discovering the net on 2-16-14, it has become more evident to me. My friend Libby suffers from the same anguish the realization has caused me, but she has used her talents to spread the word to another young woman and my heart tells me soon we will all know and be able to see.

 

I’m going to write a play of my own. About the net. About female slavery. About love. I will shine my light on this darkness until the whole world sees it and then I will continue to shine my light on it until the darkness is gone forever. This blog is my first step and I am grateful to anyone who accepts the planting of this seed.

 

XO

~Rachel

Heal your Self, heal the world

epiphany