I recently had the opportunity to hear Ruthie Foster live for the first time. She played an amazing show. (Seriously, if she comes to your town, go see her. Also, woman drummer, so that’s awesome, too.) Of course, we demanded an encore, and she knew just what to serve up. She’d set Dr. Maya Angelou’s well-known poem, Phenomenal Woman, to music, so she concluded with that. It brought the house down (and cleverly ensured her a standing ovation).
So on this second Friday of Black History Month, I wanted to dedicate Ruthie Foster’s lovely and powerful song to all the women of #TheResistance. Because, as you know (as usual), the majority of the work of the #TheResistance is being done by women.
This is for the black women who, no matter how cute DeRay is in his puffy vest or how many times he goes on Jimmy Fallon or Stephen Colbert, are the mothers, organizers, and foot soldiers of Black Lives Matter.
This is for Latinas fighting for the Dreamers and fighting against ICE’s Gesatpo-like and possibly illegal raids.
This is for women with disabilities who put their bodies on the line to defend the Affordable Care Act this summer and who continue to do so to fight to protect Medicaid.
This is for the mothers who fought to save CHIP.
This is for Muslim women who keep showing up every time so-called (for now) President Trump tries to enforce one of his unconstitutional Muslim bans.
This is for rich and powerful women in entertainment and the media who used their privilege to bring attention to #MeToo – and then turned around and used that power and privilege to start the Time’s Up movement to combat harassment for working class women.
This is for lesbians showing up to dance their protest outside Mike Pence’s and Javanka’s houses in DC.
This is for working class women who fought the #GOPTaxScam, understanding that a bill that gives them an additional $1.50 a week and gives over 90% of its benefits to the top 1% is bullshit.
This is for young women fighting to protect access to their Constitutionally-protected right to reproductive health care and to keep Planned Parenthood, in many locations the only affordable option for sexual and reproductive health care, open and funded.
This is for the millions of women who’ve marched for these issues, and for Science and Climate Change and Truth and Release The Taxes and the myriad other issues where they’ve raised their voices and their fists.
And this is for middle class white women, who’ve worked as allies on all of the above and more in the past year. (Yes, plenty of white women are still making the faulty calculation that it serves their interests better to align themselves with patriarchy and white supremacy. But I’m done lying down and pretending like it’s all middle class white women all the time, and not speaking out when people make us a punching bag for whatever their current beef is. I’ve been in the trenches for 30 goddamn years, so as Robin Morgan would say, “Goodbye to all of that.”)
As Hecate pointed out yesterday, we’ve now been doing this work for a year, and there’s no end in sight. And I’d like to leave you with a verse from the christian bible.
(Let’s not forget that, despite their perversion of much of what it contains, the bible is wisdom literature and there is some good stuff in there. Remember, the actual Jesus was a brown-skinned radical.)
Galatians 6:9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
A full transcription of Dr. Angelou’s full poem, Phenomenal Woman, can be found here.
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