In honor of Women’s History Month, we present 31 Days of Revolutionary Women; a series of daily essays by local authors documenting, honoring and celebrating powerful women who inspire us in South Seattle and beyond.
Join us on April 18th, 6:30 pm at the Hillman City Collaboratory to celebrate the culmination of our 31 Days of Revolutionary Women series. In this casual, intimate gathering we will share food, stories and inspiration. All are welcome to attend! Please bring a potluck dish to share if you are able.
See our Facebook event for more details!
by Melia LaCour
I bow my head in honor of these 31 feminine warriors. Their stories, in all their full glory, naked vulnerability, and deep richness provided answers to a question I did not know I was asking when I began reading: what lessons can I learn from each of you as I move along my path to liberatory consciousness?
As a woman of color, I am aware of how this question has influenced me since I was a young child growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood. My true self was darkly shaded by the false narratives thrust upon me about how a biracial woman should look, speak, and behave. As I reflect now, from a more mature place in my life, I know that these are shared struggles. We as women push against daily injustice in the hope, either consciously or unconsciously, of reclaiming more and more of the selves we have been forced to hide after being told we are too much or not enough one too many times.
Life lessons in the reclamation of the natural self is what I learned from these 31 women. The gift they have given me is priceless. They remind me that liberation from the soul-crushing confines of sexism is our birthright. Freedom from the toxic projections of the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” we are often forced to wear without our consent is the natural order. Emancipation from government-sanctioned, society-reinforced, systemic, racism, sexism, transphobia, heterosexism, ableism and religious injustice is a battle worth laying down your life for – for the rewards are great. This beautiful act of selflessness ensures our progeny has a clearer pathway toward fulfilling their wildest dreams and a roadmap to discover their authentic selves.
I learned that our revolutionary-ness is part of our DNA. Our innate drive is to love fiercely, fight bravely, and create powerfully. As I look to the extraordinary women in my life, I see evidence of this everywhere. My Grandma LaCour, for example, moved from Louisiana to California during the Great Migration in search of a better life for her family and freedom from the overt racism of the South. From her, I see “revolutionary” running through her veins.
Sister Nikita Oliver said it clearly: “all womxn by virtue of living as womxn we choose to be are therein revolutionaries.” Writer Chera Amlag, who beautifully wrote about Maita Gomez added, “whether you come from high society or poverty, illiterate or college educated, a daughter of an activist or new mother coming into your own progressive journey – the spirit has to come from the same place, a desire to a see a better-world.” The spirit of revolution is in our blood.
The gifts from these revolutionaries are medicinal. I understand that deep healing happens when we open our hearts and listen to the stories of pain, triumph, love and loss from wise women who are brave enough to share.
From Dr. Gwendolyn Jones, I am inspired to locate and amplify my powerful voice with pride. After basking in the light of Sumeya B, Gloria Martin, Anne Braden, and Nana Asma’u, I am able to see my warrior nature more clearly and give her permission to move full speed ahead. From Dr. Stanli James and Oshun, I am filled with a deep sense of pride and honor to embrace all the gifts my blackness brings.
From the fearless Maita Gomez, Cynthia Green, Dr. Haunani-Kay Trask, and Frida Kahlo, I learn of powerful liberatory moves and empowered activism to propel me in my own fight for social justice. From Temple Grandin, Ana DuVernay and Shirley Chisolm, I am reminded that women are not only able to obliterate glass ceilings but can soar far past these imposed limitations; that the world as we know it and the women in it are forever transformed.
And for all the revolutionary sheroes here unnamed, I am reminded that to be a woman is an honor and a gift to humanity. We will not be held down, pushed back or silenced in any way. We are what is good, true and beautiful on this planet.
As we reflect upon these warriors who stand for truth and healing, let us rejoice in the beautiful feminine nature that propels us to create the path to liberatory consciousness. Let us locate and celebrate the reflections of ourselves in these courageous feminine souls, for they lead with their gifts, act in the face of fear, and ask questions later.
Helen Keller famously once said, “one should never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar.” These women soar towards freedom, let us follow their lead. Let us all be revolutionaries.
Melia LaCour is a native Seattleite with a passion for social justice, writing, and traveling and is a self-proclaimed karaoke enthusiast! She is the Executive Director of Equity in Education at the Puget Sound ESD (PESD) and an education columnist for the Emerald.
(The opinions expressed in this article do not reflect the opinions of the PSESD. PSESD is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied in this article.)