By Hanako O’Leary
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ll be posting one story each day of March written by local citizen journalists about a revolutionary woman from history or today who has inspired them as women.
Starting as a weeklong celebration in the Sonoma, California school district, March officially became National Women’s History Month in 1987. Each day for the next 30 days, we feature these stories of 30 women from history as we know them.
While a single month cannot cover all that came before, I am proud of the work put forth by the women who came before me. As today marks the 29th anniversary, now is a good time to reflect upon it.
History has always left women in the shadows, leading us to feel anger, frustration, and more than anything, heartbreak. We navigate through a world which often devalues our love and labor.
We still fight daily for reproductive rights, equal wages, and safety on the streets. We live in constant fear on college campuses, and under the stress of being compared to commercially manufactured constructs of desire. While conditions are improving, they are far from equal, whether that be in the workplace, education, healthcare, politics or the justice system. Our social, political, and economic rights have yet to catch up with those of our male counterparts.
In silent battles we take on the world, ourselves, and sadly each other. This month we will take a moment to look around and understand the layers of misunderstanding that exist between ourselves and others. Society continues to break bonds of sisterhood through stratifications of race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, and body politics.
With that in mind, we find room to celebrate the battles fought. This month is to honor the women who came before us. While we are still challenged by the inequities of this world, let us take a moment to breathe and appreciate the women who have brought us this far. Despite an entire world history built upon the oppression of women ‐ from Babylon to Trump, from the Old Testament to HBO – we continue to move forward.
This month I will nurse my hope that our bonds are there and strong: we as sisters and mothers, fathers and brothers, are in it together. And together we will not only raise our social, economic, and political consciousness, we will teach it to future generations as well.
Hanako O’Leary (aka HannyaGrrrl) is an artist and arts administrator. She is on the brink of receiving her MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University. Most of her time is spent thinking about social equity. Otherwise, she is busy acting upon her thoughts, creating art and engaging in conversation. Her current obsession is in Japanese wood block prints and comic books.
Feature image drawn by Hanako O’Leary