Real Concerns in Individual Communities
WHAT IS THE REAL CONCERN FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS!!!!
WHAT ARE YOU DOING THAT YOU WANT OTHERS TO START DOING!!!!
WE NEED A CHANGE .........WHEN????????
From Phoenix, Arizona:
1. In my community many real concerns exist for women and girls.
I do believe many women in the United States have trouble recognizing the value in themselves. Constant images, commercials, videos, magazines show them an idealistic image of who they should be/what they should look like. The emotional unbalance caused by this leads to detrimental concepts of self-image.
This may not seem like a very important issue...but it is...
the first group of women who seemed very active, balanced, and at peace with themselves - that I encountered after moving back to Arizona - was within the yoga community.
I practiced yoga for three years before becoming certified. What I experienced as a student was surrendering into myself, letting go of constant bombardment of who I should be, what I should look like, where my life should be, how much money I should make. I was not deeply submersed in these things - but I did recognize them at least as partial influences. Just as we may learn things unknowingly from our parents that may not serve of us adults. I also witnessed the transformation in the women who came to practice at least twice a week. They were seeking mindfulness, they were seeking balance, they were seeking the quiet of themselves.
A problem I recognize with this, here and probably in many places, is that the women who as though they would benefit from the peace of practicing yoga simply could not afford it.
I think young girls and women would benefit profoundly by being introduced to breathing, poses, workshops that teach them to journey inward and bring forth their natural beauty and being.
We need a change here, now. I offer my living room and yoga sessions to women in my life. I voluntarily teach restorative classes. On Friday I will begin the annual Social Worker's Summit in Phoenix with an hour-long class to help center them and prepare to spend a day communicating.
This is one small thing...but I do wish someone had taught me yoga when I was 12! My voice probably would have been louder, I would have been healthier, and I would have cultivated a sense of peace and truth about who I am.
Lesbian invisibility exists in my community, it exists in many place the world over. Our history has been eroticized or erased, it seems. I have made it a point to educate myself about gender, lesbian issues, transgender issues and how they affect my community. I have spoken to several transgender women in my community who have lost their jobs because of their gender. I speak to more and more lesbians who do not seem to have had strong mentors, who have trouble raising their voices and saying who they are with their own families, and live sheltered within their own communities. I would love to see a community center dedicated to women/girls who are lesbian/bisexual/transgender/queer. I do not want to exclude the male population from this, but there is so much focus on gay men and so little on lesbians. For example, at the Human Rights Campaigne Lecture, a woman raised her hand and asked, "Where are the women? Where are the links for bisexual women? Where are the links for lesbians? Even though HRC is attempting huge strides, the predominant representations we see are of middle-class, Caucasian, gay men."
During the 1970's Women's Movement, there was so much segregation even between women. Instead of being a full-women's movement, it became a movement that couldn't deal with lesbian issues, even though lesbians are women, or women of color, as though their issues were unimportant as well. I know there were major leaps for civil rights during this time in the United States, but still so much segregation. What I am saying is that I want to focus on these demographics who had been discluded, because I've followed the essays written by women during these movements and their essays progressing through the following thirty years - there is still a very long way to go!
I'm starting small because I want to work more intimately with people. I can stand on large platforms and speak loudly - but there is something wonderful to me about small groups that I have the time to connect with. I teach my first workshop in two days for a drop-in center through 1 in 10 in Phoenix. I want to teach them the source of the oppression we face in this community. Religion and politics are of the same thread here, I can see how the religious perspectives trickle into political agenda and deny women a multitude of resources from health care to the sexual education of their chidlren, from immigrant womens' protection and health services to equality and the lack of the right to partnerships for couples - both heterosexual and homosexual.
So...small groups. It starts on Thursday with an hour-long documentary that delves into the academically studied scriptures within the Bible which are often used to propagandize the demonization of homosexuality. I know watching it made me understand things I hadn't before, helped me to cultivate tolerance, and motivated me to be a compassionate activist even more.
Change occurs every moment, with every breath, in every action, with every word spoken.
And I want others to join these efforts and I offer that opportunity by engaging with them about the issues and taking the time to listen to how they have been effected as well.
I want to hear responses from you all about what your communities need and how you need to get started or have already started!