Change will begin with One
Change is harder than we let on, here in America. We speak like we are the movers and shakers, as if our nation is the end all, be all, of them all. At times, especially when reviewing the courageous and radical revolution that separated us from England, we Americans can feel pride. We can feel, for a tenuous moment, that we can gather strength from the overwhelming bravado of our fabled “forefathers.”
But wait. It all comes crushing down, on me at least, when I remember that I am woman. That my rights and my worth were considered laughable at this nation’s inception. Perhaps even in current day do my rights, even as a “privileged” white woman, remain laughable behind the closed doors of our reigning leaders. And how this can tremble change, how that perplexing saying “one person CAN make a difference” can shudder so deeply in my bones. I must find a strapping bone to stand on, and a burly lung from which to scream.
And in that way, with my straining vocal cords, can I make a difference.
All that said, my barriers are in some ways, internal. Cultivating self-worth and a belief in my voice must occur. My main passion lies within my unswerving belief that “low SES (socioeconomic status)” women and men deserve equal access to health care, reproductive education, and education. I am sick of reading more and more about the brutal clamor toward obstruction of these rights. Of outrageous vilifying of the “welfare mother” (read: crack addict) or the “ethnic man” (read: violent offender). The boys I work with live and breathe these kinds of stereotypes; they are the products of parents who were denied services, or unable to attain a basic access to “higher” education. My long-term, lifelong goal is to shatter the gender and racial roles that this “liberated” American society loves to shove down our throats. I want to see the young men I work with presented with the same opportunities that their white, middle-class counterparts enjoy without question. I want to site with my own child as she grows and rest assured that she will be exposed to realistic and fair portraits of women and men in the media.
Many more barriers loom than just my sheepish internal reluctance. Challenging gender and racial stereotypes is nothing new, and I often worry that I will be just another white lady fighting for something that no one will support. That I will raise awareness in others, but it will be a begrudging thing, a sham that will leave as quickly as I do. This is where my gratitude for PulseWire emerges. I hope that I can connect with women all over the globe. That my one will be joined by so many others, and we will work together. My timid passion will be strengthened by the overflowing passion of every member of this online community.
Together we will stand, and I will be more than one person, making a difference.