By Alejandra Granado
Having come from immigrant parents I’ve always been told how lucky I am to have been born in the U.S. and to have the wonderful opportunities that I do. Although I am not an immigrant, immigration has played a huge role in my life. Every so often, I think about how lucky I am, that I get to go away to university right after high school, and don’t have to sit at home to cook and clean like many oppressed women in other countries have to instead of receiving an education. I also think of how fortunate I am to be able to get an education, to then get a career that’ll make me a nice salary, which will allow me to support myself and not depend on others. The reason I’m able to do all of this and more is because my mother was lucky enough to immigrate to this country 20 years agoRead more
By Brindha Kodlapur, age 17
We are raised to conquer our dreams, not to be reared for marriage
“The only purpose to women gaining a job, is to make a suitable wife”.
100 years later, and this Hindu moral still applies to the lives of many Indian women around the world. Historically, marriage in many cultures is an everlasting social construct placed upon women. Whether it is the 21% of women married before the age of 18 in Pakistan or the widely popular ‘mail order bride’ program prevalent in Russia, marriage has often been a dynamic preventing women from achieving their goals in life. Marriage shouldn’t be a hindrance, but rather a personal choice.
Women in these marriages are often forced to stay at home, thus giving up their forward dreams, or are subject to the constant desire of their husbands in order to produce children - often causing domestic violence. Of course, the causes for this constant discrimination can often be attributed to our culture's social roots of males exerting their masculinity over females. Yet, this is no excuse for the way women have been treated. Although most Americans believe that these orthodox ways are limited to third world nations with a plethora of poverty, it is time to accept that America may not be as perfect of a country as immigrants hope it to be.Read more
Throughout this year, we have learned about inspiring girls and women who truly define Black Girl Magic. We have heard from fashion designers, community activists, filmmakers, and students. I started the series with Day of the Girl in the Summer of 2016, and many people enjoyed reading all the amazing interviews and being inspired by each and every girl. I created the Black Girl Magic series to celebrate black girls and women who are doing amazing things. To end the series, I had the wonderful opportunity to interview my cousin Akirah Crawford. Akirah is a community organizer, educator, and a student. She won the Fulbright Scholarship, which gave her the opportunity to travel to Malaysia to teach English and develop programs. Akirah graduated from Virginia State University and is currently in graduate school. She is currently serving in Swaziland Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. Read on to hear her inspiring story.
Name: Akirah Crawford
Facebook: Kirah Simone
Instagram: akirah_simoneRead more
Nandi Rose Plunkett was the second female musician I ever saw perform live. Admittedly, I don’t go to as many gigs as I’d like to, but just two women up onstage – even if it’s a foot-high stage at a punk show – is not a high enough number.Read more
By Leighanne Scheuermann
It wasn’t until I graduated from college, spent a year as an Americorps member, and entered graduate school that I first came across this quote from Ghandi. You would think working as a social worker I might have been more mindful about the ways societies make change. Yet, I was young and wanted things to just transform…now. I was well into my twenties and I’ll admit it’s taken me many more years to actually apply this concept to my life. Some days I am better at it than others.
Now as a teacher and a mother, I feel a responsibility to help my children and students be self aware of their role within their communities. So my husband and I are trying out small ways we make change. Recently, I read about a family that discussed their "highs, lows, and an act of kindness" at the dinner table. Dinner in our home had become pretty chaotic, a stepping stone on the way to bath and a dreaded drawn-out bedtime, so we immediately tried it out and it’s made a huge difference not only in our dinner conversation but also our daily actions. Some days I volunteer my time or donate materials and other days I just try to send a nice email to someone, smile or refrain from honking in traffic unless fully warranted (which as a former New Yorker takes a lot of restraint). Knowing that my family will ask me at the end of the day what I did to change someone else’s certainly helps me follow through on the commitment. If you are looking for ways to explain social movements or protests to your children and the upcoming March on Washington you might want to check out some of these picture books about change within America.
You’re sitting or standing there, and from their mouth comes an outpouring of every painful thing that has become endorsed by our government, our media, and our people. They’re saying something that stings, something about you or the people you love, something that you know is wrong.
I know you’re angry. I know you feel frustrated, tired by the idea of having to explain that everyone deserves freedom and respect. You don’t understand what is so fundamentally wrong with this person that they could think that taking away someone’s basic human rights is acceptable. You want to walk away, to escape those words. You want to scream.
Immediately after the election results came out, I was left reeling. It was as though some part of me had been ripped out, some veil of idealistic innocence torn away from my eyes. Perhaps it was the universal childhood belief that “good” always triumphs over “evil,” endlessly perpetuated by fairytales and TV cartoons. Although I hate to reduce politics and people to concepts so absolute, the numb feeling in my gut on November 9th allowed for no grey areas. The fear and anger Trump inspired in Americans made him worse than any supervillain. Unlike TV supervillains, however, Trump was undeniably real.Read more
“Respect Yourself. Protect Yourself”
As a gynecologist, mom, and author of “The Gyne’s Guide for College Women,” these are the goals that I’ve worked so hard to instill in the young women that I see daily. Now that it is 2017, these goals have not changed, but the ways to pursue them must be adjusted to the new adversities we may face this year. My feminist resolution is to empower more young women to take control of their lives and in turn, respect and protect themselves.
Wake up and make a difference. Wake up and change someone’s mind. Wake up and redefy.
I vividly remember shaking and nervously holding the mic and my crumpled piece of paper with my notes as I made the opening speech of my first Youth Interfaith event in July of 2015. Since then, I’ve learned so much and have come across an exciting, growing, and amazing journey.