I recently received the March issue of The Atlantic in the mail. Cover story: Four people (two men, two women) writing on topics in Black history.
For the March issue.
Let’s be clear: I am not saying that the history of Prince Hall or the 1965 Voting Rights Act aren’t important. Absolutely not. The “Inheritance” project The Atlantic recently launched is also critically important. And there are eleven other months of the year in which they could talk about it. (I’d totally be up for a March focus on the civil rights movement, using the recent publication of The Three Mothers as a jumping off point to re-examine, re-surface, recognize, and elevate the role of women in the movement.)
But MARCH IS WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH, and there’s been some pretty historic shit going down lately.
Just off the top of my head:
Less than a month ago, after 244 years, the US inaugurated our VERY FIRST woman Vice President, Kamala Harris. Fun fact: She’s also our first Black *Vice* President. Fun additional fact: She’s also our first South Asian Vice President. Her story seems pretty historic to me.
We’re about to have our first First Nations woman in a Cabinet position when Deb Haaland is confirmed next week (Goddess willing). A First Nations woman will be running the Department of the Interior. Her story also seems pretty historic to me.
Speaking of First Nations women, they were integral to organizing the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access pipeline. They started work FIVE YEARS ago, and things looked pretty fucking bleak under both Obama and TrumPutin, but guess what just happened? President Biden shut down the Keystone Pipeline, and he’s being strongly pressured by the Standing Rock folks and the many, many allies their work has gathered to them to do the same for Dakota Access. That would be a great story to tell.
Speaking of organizing, the New South is a thing, and it’s women who are creating it. I’d love to see a piece on the tireless organizing work of Black women in Georgia (Stacey Adams, LaTosha Brown, et. al.), and what’s happened in Virginia, where Representatives Elaine Luria, Abigail Spanberger, and Jennifer Wexton all flipped previously red seats in the House of Representatives in 2018 – and got re-elected in 2020. Women did ALL that (plus flipping BOTH houses of the Virginia state legislature in 2019, which has had ENORMOUS positive results for residents of the Commonwealth). That’s a hell of a story.
You know who else had a MAJOR impact on the 2020 elections? First Nations women in Arizona, who organized Navajo Nation and helped deliver the state to Biden/Harris AND give us two critically important Democratic Senators. It’s because of them that Madam Vice President Harris is getting to cast all those tasty deciding votes in the Senate.
Speaking of Congress, has anyone else noticed all the amazing “workhorse” Democratic women who’ve been elected to the House of Representatives lately and who aren’t always show-ponying their way into the spotlight? Women like Lauren Underwood, Lucy McBath, Val Demings, Stacey Plaskett, Katie Porter, and Ayanna Pressley? I’d love to learn more about any/all of them. And these are just the ladies who’ve been elected LATELY. Not for nothing, I’m ALWAYS up for a piece on Maxine Waters, Marcia Fudge, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Eleanor Holmes Norton, or NANCY PELOSI.
Speaking of historical elections, although we still have significant work to do at the national level, trans women have made huge strides winning state and local races. Women like Danica Roem, Sarah McBride, Taylor Small, Stephanie Byers (in KANSAS! KANSAS, Y’ALL!), Brianna Titone, and Lisa Bunker. I’d also love to hear their stories.
There’s also a terrific next gen of activists, well, “coming up” isn’t really the right way to describe them. They’ve come up and are leading already, shining young women like Amariyanna Copeny (aka “Little Miss Flint”), Emma Gonzalez, Amanda Gorman, and Stasha Rhodes.
Speaking of artists, I would love a graphic novel style piece about/from Gabby Rivera on creating art as a queer boriqua (in part because I think she’s terrific and would love to see her and her work getting wider recognition). I would also love to see a “how I did it” style story about the incredible work Shonda Rhimes and Ava DuVernay have done to build the creative ecosystems they wanted to see around themselves – and the vision they had to even see it as a possibility in the first place.
Related to my post about this year’s (and every year’s) Oscar nominees and #OscarsSoMale, I would love to see Alison Bechdel (originator of the Bechdel-Wallace Test in her iconic comic Dykes to Watch Out For) do a graphic novel style treatment of why, in the year 2021, it is STILL the case that men’s stories are “universal” and “important,” and women’s stories are fluffy “chick flicks” and “chick lit.”
What about women in STEM making moves lately? Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett’s work at NIH was critical to the development of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. That’s pretty historic. So is “Astronaut Abby,” Abigail Harrison, founder of The Mars Generation. I think that would be a cool story for women’s history month. Or what about Emily Graslie? She’s no longer doing The Brain Scoop, but as Chief Curiosity Correspondent for the Field Museum from 2013-2020, she profoundly changed the entire field of science communications. That’s a great story, too. So is the story of Kimberly Bryant, who founded Black Girls Code.
I recently read an article about how the roots of QAnon lie in Pizzagate, and sure, that’s true. But the roots of Pizzagate lie in #YourSlipIsShowing, which was the “dry run” for Gamergate only months later. It’s been seven years, and, as you may recall, the QAnon maniacs and their fellow travelers recently tried to overthrow the government. Something tells me that Shafiqah Hudson, I’Nasah Crockett, Anita Sarkeesian, and Brianna Wu might have something important to say in this moment in our history.
I’m guessing Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, and the women who’ve been organizing #TimesUp might have something to say now, too, particularly in light of the fact that nearly all the pandemic job losses have happened to women, WILDLY disproportionately Black and Latina women.
Or they could’ve just gone to one of the many outstanding nonfiction women authors I’ve read IN THE PAST SIX MONTHS to ask if they had any ideas for pieces for WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: Soraya Chemaly, Brittney Cooper, Isabel Wilkerson, Rebecca Solnit, Jessica Valenti, Rachel Louise Snyder, Kate Manne, and Ijeoma Oluo, just to name a few.
But nah. I guess no women have stories worth telling.
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