To celebrate International Women’s Day is to celebrate the women of Northeastern North Carolina, as well. Neither their poverty or geography separates them from this event. They stand with women from across the world to draw attention to their human rights advances, as well as remind the world atrocities against women still exist, and call for an end to such acts.
Around the world, there is a movement championing the rights of women in the full context of who she is. There are proclamations, resolutions and legislation spanning the globe in support of her. They are calling for countries to acknowledge her rights and demonstrate it in public and private policy. Gender preference has been used as a tool to devise constructs that devalue and shame. The challenge the world faces when it comes to women, is how to repurpose the role of women, so nations will have little need to cast their authority so wide, that it hurt women.
It is not only knowing that women have significant obstacles to overcome, that continues to be hazardous. It is determining the course of action she is willing to take so other women are not obstructed. Her determination is transformed by a broaden objective. Self-determination is not just swag in boasting about her needs and the need, to be. It is to be. It is found in little girls who will face the turbulence living can bring if strides are not made to change the world-view of her. Women must be willing to speak. She cannot remain voiceless. The shallow wells from which she draws her existence, must be challenged by a call to plunge in its deepest entry so her daughters and other daughters will not have to.
At the penning of this address, I am reminded of the significant gains made by women and people of color in America. There are a number of women who have made great strides and have crossed the political and economic divide. Their voices no longer hollow, resonates in some of the most chief places of power, yet, there are needs she still has; compatible wages to her male counterpart, the right to leadership, scholarship and the right to harmonious living, with appropriate health care and the right to be respected. I’m reminded of how some very basic rights is built into the American constitution.It acknowledges the humanity of all humanity, and how the freedom to vote, learn and make a decent living is a right of every American citizen.
Then I’m reminded that even in this great democracy, life happens. There are events that crowds sensibility and the controls of your life are handed over to a decision that changes everything, forever. So is the case in American poverty.
The social and economic well-being of women in northeastern North Carolina is in constant flux. With each piece of legislation from Raleigh to Washington, she holds her breath with deep regret. It is not as is being told that she enjoys a life of subsidies and seeks no other support but it. Women in poverty face a life of hearing voices tell her she is a taker. She is labeled a consumer and not a producer. Misunderstood is that she wishes to be, more than anything, within this democracy, everything afforded her by the lives of many, so such a right can be had.
The truth is simply this; she accepts what she sees as inevitable. With no political or economic power, she looks for places of advocacy, and finds none. The silence around her needs create a culture of voicelessness. The voice she once had is now buried in old suitcases full of pictures from grade school or senior prom when her aspirations were being forged or at its peak. On the other hand, it can be found buried in her memories after becoming a teen mom, incarcerated or becoming addicted to drugs or prostitution. Women struggle with real everyday issues that are compounded by tradition and culture. It bombards her sense of life and survival, and so she surrenders to subsidies and listens to the condemnations – both of which, defines her wrongly and unfairly pronounces who she was not created to be.
In all women, there is a hidden chamber of ambition, value and service. She guards these quarters in hopes that her truest nature will be unveiled and revealed to those who have no respect for who she is, and no faith in who she can become. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, pray that the women of the world will be able to live in peace, be elected to govern fairly and procure hope for future generations of girls that is free of prejudice, free of poverty and full of possibility.