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A Brief Note on The Gender of Justice

Part Two:


If women could not be kept under man's control, then they must be punished more extensively than a man. The 1913 Muncy Act of Pennsylvania dictated a mandatory and exclusive sentencing provision for women convicted of a crime, to be imprisoned for more time than a man convicted of the same crime. Most women received indeterminate sentencing under this rule, that led to the long-term incarceration of women.


The constitutionality of the Muncy Act wasn't called into question until 1966 when Jane Daniels was charged with burglary, aggravated robbery, carrying a concealed deadly weapon and possession of a firearm. She was convicted and Judge Stern sentenced her to 1–4 years in prison on May 3, 1966. However, on June 3, he vacated his own sentence and resentenced her under the Muncy Act to an indefinite term of imprisonment.


She appealed, claiming a violation of the 14th Amendment, under the equal protection clause. The Muncy Act definitively provided a distinction between males and females when it came to sentencing, but the appellate court did not agree, and her appeal was denied.



Ironically The Muncy Act was repealed in1968, due to its violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.[2]

As we recognize the benefits, historical significance, and impact of women in our communities, across our nation and in the world at large, may we also remember the long, often winding, and difficult road it has been and continues to be, toward freedom.


[1] https://casetext.com/case/com-v-daniels-59

[2] https://law.justia.com/cases/pennsylvania/supreme-court/1968/430-pa-642-0.html

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The Gender of Justice

Outside any courthouse you can find a blindfolded lady constructed in concrete, proudly holding the scales of righteousness, the sword of swiftness all while proclaiming justice is blind. A courtroom, the final stop on the road to the truth, promises equal treatment under the law.


It fails to mention this is reserved for men only, more specifically straight white men. The very law of the land, written by and for men, to protect men. The subjugation of women isn't merely a side effect, it's the whole damn point.


Monotonous statutes penned over centuries to ensure man's control. From the Comstock Act of 1873, to forced procreation, the law has a long history of infringing upon women. With over 120 laws introduced across the nation this year alone attacking the LGBTQ community, it's not surprising that many are aimed at stripping the right of Trans people to simply exist.[1] After all, we mustn't allow the indoctrination of our children to include the acceptance, and love of those deemed immoral by those in charge.


The more one investigates the decades of the women's liberation movement, the more you will find yourself face to face with the present. Like seriously, is there a cosmic mirror we are unaware of?


In this multi-part series, we peel back the layers of a deep truth long suppressed from the history books. Stories of women that are often twisted and reshaped to fit the narrative of those in charge for no other reason than for them to remain in power.


Let's get started, after all there is a lot to unpack and only a month to talk about it. We wouldn't want the celebration of women to outshine the perpetual legacy of old white men ruling over them. Speaking of men ruling over women…


Part One:


In 1873, Anthony Comstock celebrated congress passing the 'Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use'. While the statute didn't offer a definition of 'obscene', it sought to suppress the dissemination of, and possession of, information and/or instruments it deemed 'immoral', 'obscene', and 'indecent'. From pamphlets, books, pictures and drawings, the moral compass of the country was headed to hell and mankind was at stake.


Of course, no law would be complete if a woman wasn't specifically subject to his wrath, thus the inclusion of anything pertaining to contraception and abortion, even if written by a physician, was quickly added as a misdemeanor offense. Congress agreed women could not be trusted with such knowledge and designated Comstock himself as a special agent, giving him the power to arrest anyone he deemed in violation of the act.[2]


Resolved to prevent what he determined a crime and the inevitable corruption of children, Comstock set out to reset the moral compass of America. Setting his sights on Ezra Heywood, he would make an example of this threatening feminist, who studied women's role in society. When Heywood published Cupids Yokes, in which he asserted women should have the right to control their own bodies, Comstock swooped in and arrested him for making obscene observations. He even went so far as to arrest another man for mailing him a copy of this vile compilation.


Comstock more vehemently sought to enforce another aspect of the act, which included birth control and began arresting physicians for supplying written materials explaining pregnancy and how to prevent it. How dare women control the size of their families, even if they are poor- it wasn't their place and Comstock was making it his.


President Theodore Roosevelt tended to agree, when he penned a venomous letter in 1906 to a reverend in Nebraska for merely suggesting one purposely limit their family size. Roosevelt compared its immorality to that of prostitution and theft, proclaiming anyone disagreeing with him lacked intelligence and character. Accusing the reverend of blasphemy that would lead to the total destruction of the human race, Roosevelt made clear his position on women and their right to autonomy. He wasn't alone then, nor now.[3]


The United States and its Supreme Court continues to obliterate the perceived rights of women, reminding us at every turn, we were never part of the founding father's intention. When women are not full citizens of a country built on the ideal of freedom, it says more about what actual democracy is, not what its suppose to be.


The white man's discovery of a faraway land, to the creation of an idyllic world has never been about equality. The road from 1619 to 2023 is a long and winding one, and honestly no one could cover it all in a mere thirty days. We invite you to peek behind the wall of containment and perhaps break a few bricks with us. Join us as we shine a light in a few dark corners hidden in the halls of congress, illuminating the elusiveness of actual justice.

[1] https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/over-120-bills-restricting-lgbtq-rights-introduced-nationwide-2023-so-far
[2] https://www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/1038/comstock-act-of-1873#:~:text=The%20Comstock%20Act%20of%201873,picture%2C%20drawing%2C%20or%20advertisement.

[3] https://www.sethkaller.com/item/1965-21123.99-President-Theodore-Roosevelt-Condemns-Abortion,-Birth-Control,-and-Family-Planning&from=12#:~:text=In%20an%20article%20published%20five,1911%2C%20763%2D69).

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Freedom's Wildfire

Freedom's Wildfire


2022 rolled in as the elusive hands of time clicked into place, marking another trip around the sun. We crawled out of the soot, shook off the gritty remnants of a year gone by and exchanged our grievances for resolutions we had no intentions of keeping.


Although much of this past year felt like we were standing still, waiting for the perpetual ball to drop, we welcomed back a life moving forward as the world reopened. Our shared experience in the fragility of our own mortality somehow left our communities and our country evermore divided and seemingly on fire.


The politics of a free world came crashing into our lives, whether invited or not. Democracy; the land, the myth, the legend. The Great Experiment of our forefathers unraveling to the beat of journalistic sensationalism and the evolutionary human need to survive, and of course, be right.


Being right morphed into something no longer recognizable. It was no longer about truth and provable details as a world of 'alternate facts' became the petri dish of discourse and conspiracy. A mob mentality spun out of control, leading mankind down a dismal and burning path of consequence over integrity as people pledged their allegiance to a man, over their country. Disregarding the very flag that allowed them a choice, they coveted a golden idol as though the world they dreamt of were literally in his hands.


Over 1.1 million people in the United States died from COVID[1], and in true American tradition, the masses took to the airwaves to discredit a man who simply stated the facts. A scientist with nothing to gain and everything to lose relayed his expertise and like a bucket of water to a growing flame, it all went up in smoke.


Coming out of a pandemic hibernation felt more like climbing out of a cave, our eyes squinting as we struggled to see clearly. A collective celebration of survival and triumph would have to wait; after all there were more intensifying things in need of our attention.


Taking a giant step backward in time, the white-washing, mansplaining patriarchy and its supremacy flipped the vernacular of its supposed enemy and used it to justify the banning of books and the teaching of actual history simply because it did not fit their personal narratives. Snatching up the word 'woke' from black culture and using it as the blade to a sword designed to instill fear, aging white men and naïve millennials coddled it like a newborn. Bending and twisting its definition into something fictional, they raised it into an empirical threat, warning the masses that because of it whiteness was on the brink of extinction.


From supply chain issues to rising grocery costs to the unrelenting climb of oil prices, everyone scrambled to point the finger and blame anyone, except the real cause. Greed. A true American pastime, greed built this country and its powerhouse legacies. It continues to rule over Congress, political parties, corporate entities and even our neighbors.


We learned an election, like a single strike of a match, can conjure an unyielding blaze that will destroy everything in its path. Leaving the 'every man for himself' mentality to fester, down to the last dollar and the paper it's printed on, it becomes the fueling ember to the holy grail of survival.


The Supreme Court of the United States, once the respected and honored last word on the interpretation of our sacred Constitution, cast itself into the limelight of politics. Sailing across the bench and into the pockets of those in power, they tossed out precedents like breadcrumbs to an overgrown trail. Quoting the defender of marital exemption in cases of rape, the Supreme Court of the United States used the words of Chief Justice Matthew Hale, of the King's Bench, to justify stripping women of their autonomy. American women stood stunned at the border of equality watching our bodies again become the property of men as though the 1600's had somehow reemerged through a smoke-filled mirror.


The twenty-four-hour news cycle moving at the rapidity of quickly tapping fingers, even the speed of light cannot compete with an ever-changing gossip and rumor mill being dispersed through technology.  Everyone's wrong, everyone's right, and everyone claims to be winning. Our failure to recognize that two wrongs never equal a right, no matter who benefits from it, has cloaked an entire country in an interminable wildfire.


The masses demand freedom while simultaneously sacrificing the same for others, like pawns on a chessboard. Each wielding and threatening free-will like it belongs to them, and them alone. Demanding less government, while supporting its interference into the lives of those deemed unworthy, becomes the juxtaposition of a more perfect union. Our collective right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness remains an oozing ulcer that continues to hold our world hostage and our planet tilted on its axis.


Yet in the ash, rising above the smoldering shrapnel of an invasion, we watch a tiny country stand united in its desire to remain a democracy. No one could have predicted an unlikely leader, freely elected by a people, would one day arm each of them and stand fervently beside them in the war-torn streets where their homes once stood. Together and steadfast they continue to sacrifice their very lives to keep hold of that very precious ideal that Americans have long taken for granted.


A combined allegiance to a country, to a flag, has long carved the messy details of a history steeped in righteousness and wickedness. The virtue of society resting concurrently and unsteadily on the shoulders of integrity and dishonesty. Whether or not the change it brings has been for the greater good or a greater power remains to be seen.  


When you light the yule log and greet the new year ahead of us, may you remember all those before you and all those with you along this ever-winding road. And may we all wake in the morning to the warmth of family and find freedom still outside our front doors.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/covid-cases.html

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It's Never Been About Life

An unprecedented leak from the United States Supreme Court has women across the country panicking, certain their right to retain control over their own bodies will be decimated in the very near future. A woman's right to decide whether to bear children has a very dark and ominous history in America, and it began long before the infamous landmark decision in Roe v. Wade.


While criminalizing abortion across the country, government contradictions ran as rampant as they do today. In 1847 doctors came together and created the American Medical Association, which became the male-dominated authority on all medical practices. Phasing out the services of midwives and nurses was only the beginning in a long tradition of making decisions for women about their own healthcare.


This group of men believed they should have the power to decide when an abortion was necessary and forged ahead with a campaign to criminalize abortion that would last until the 1973 Roe v Wade decision was handed down.[1]


Working to prohibit and outlaw abortion, the country simultaneously executed other ways in which to prevent a woman from making her own decisions when it came to reproduction. Certain only they could define 'life' and 'liberty', it was imperative men keep control over procreation.


Laws preventing the issuance of marriage licenses to anyone thought to be an imbecile, an epileptic or mentally impaired were implemented in 1905. The state of Indiana passed the first legislation legalizing sterilization in 1907, mandating the sterilization of all criminals, idiots, rapists and imbeciles in custody of the state institutions. Until its complete repeal in 1974[2] over 2500 individuals had been involuntarily sterilized, with 52% being women.[3] 


Other states soon joined and in 1909 the addition of sterilization laws in California, Washington State and Connecticut were executed.[4] While the implementation of forced sterilization was gaining ground, the push to criminalize abortion sent the practice underground. Resulting in the death of nearly 2,700 women in 1930 alone.


The ongoing death toll from back-alley abortions motivated Planned Parenthood to create the first of its kind conference on abortion, in 1955. Although conference attendees overwhelming called for abortion laws to be rewritten to preserve the lives of woman, not much changed.


Even though the introduction of Thalidomide in the 1950's – 1960's, to pregnant women resulted in severe birth defects, a woman still could not get a legal abortion in the United States.


In 1966 nine physicians were sued for performing abortions on women who had been exposed to Rubella, a disease known to cause devastating birth defects. The formation of NARAL ( National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws) in 1969, spearheaded a nationwide effort to legalize abortion and repeal abortion ban laws.


This campaign led to the complete repeal of abortion bans in four states and abortion laws being rewritten in 13 more. Keeping in step with preferred attributes, these amendments would allow for abortion in specific cases, including risk to the woman, rape, incest, and what was deemed fetal abnormalities.[5]


Cherry-picking preferred traits of the human race had been common practice long before Adolf Hitler rose to power. In 1882 the United States passed immigration laws to prevent the entry of 'undesirables.'[6] In 1883, Francis Galton coined the term 'eugenics' as a way to control, repair and improve the human race. In 1892, Dr. Isaac Kerlin brought forth his ideology insisting sterilization as a cure for idiotic conditions.[7]


The American Breeder's Association created a committee on eugenics in 1906. Do not let the name fool you; this had nothing to do with animals. The committee's purpose was to examine the use of selective breeding to minimize what it deemed as inferior humans.[8]


Though the policy makers demand that women give birth contradicted its long desire for the perfect race, The Eugenics Board of the United States encouraged the passing of Law 116 in 1937. The law was written to encourage the institutionalization of population control in Puerto Rico.[9] This U.S policy promoted the permanent sterilization of women, in lieu of providing access to safe, legal and reversible contraception. After all, forcing one to give birth doesn't equate caring about and for a human with an undesirable ethnicity.


By 1937 every state in the Union had sterilization laws in effect.[10]  It's important to note that the United States led the world in forced sterilizations, prior to the Nazi's issuing the Nuremberg Race Laws in 1935. All in all, over 30,000 people were forcibly sterilized in the United States between 1907 and 1939.[11]


Fast forwarding through the tragic and shameful history of eugenics in the United States, you will find that some states began repealing their laws in 1965, starting with North Dakota. With 1,049 individuals sterilized, 62% of them women, ranked North Dakota 12th overall in sterilization.[12]


North Carolina's Eugenics Board reviewed petitions from both government and private agencies seeking approval to sterilize poor, unwed and/or mentally disabled women, children and men. This led to over 7,600 individuals sterilized between 1930–1970.[13] In 2011, North Carolina formed the Office of Justice for Sterilization Abuse to assist in the identification of victims. It was discovered that 65% of them were black women, even though only 25% of the state's female population was black.[14]


The United States instituted sterilization in Puerto Rico, citing overpopulation as the cause of poverty. Targeting poor women, 37% of the island's childbearing population had been sterilized by 1976. Much of this movement was instigated and encouraged by Clarence Gamble, the president of the Pennsylvania Birth Control Federation, who maintained that a reduction in the birth rate of African Americans was the solution to poverty.[15] Moreover, the phrase 'Mississippi Appendectomy' was coined due to the prevalence of forced or coerced sterilization among the Black population in the south.[16]


Not surprisingly, Native American women were also extensively sterilized throughout the 20th Century. The Indian Health Services began providing what it called 'family planning services' in 1965. Under the control of the U.S Public Health Services, over 3,400 Native Americans were sterilized between 1973 and 1976 alone.[17]


Just as a woman's right to decide when to start a family, has never been hers, outlawing abortion has never been about the sanctity of life. The government, aka large group of white men, have worked tirelessly long before this countries inception to limit power among women and minorities.


Though losing the abortion ban battle in 1973, the legalization of sterilization practices continued well into 2010. In 1978, the ACLU took a case on behalf of 5 women against American Cyanamide for pressuring them to undergo sterilization in order to keep their jobs. The company claimed it had introduced new policy that would shift female workers from certain areas of the lead pigment factory, to protect the unborn.[18] None of these women were pregnant at the time.


The case highlighted evidence that lead exposure of men could also harm a fetus, yet men were not being excluded from any jobs. Joan Bertin, the attorney with the women's project at the ACLU, insisted the idea of protecting women against their will wasn't new, and it should never come at the cost of equality.[19]


Insisting undesirable effects on the unborn trumped a woman's right to choose an occupation, was not reserved for American Cyanamide alone. Du Pont chemical transferred all of its female employees out of areas working with Teflon in 1981, due to a 3M rat study showing chemical C8 used in Teflon production caused significant eye defects in a pregnant rat study and didn't disclose to the women their reasoning.[20]


As much as we would like to believe that this type of barbaric policy is a practice in our country's distance past, it is not. Between the years of 2006 and 2010, 148 female inmates in two of California's prisons were sterilized. Women with multiple children were particularly pressured to comply.[21]


While the anti-abortion crowd would like us to believe all existing and 'potential' life is sacred, they continue to refuse healthcare for all, feeding the poor, and supporting fair, inclusive public education. Their love of 'life' quickly creeps back into the shadows the moment LGBTQ+ and minorities demand the same rights they have been freely given their entire lives.


While the calculating troglodytes of our government work to legislate their definition of morality, you can be certain they will continue to find other ways to keep women in check and white men in power.


From privacy to voting rights, the teaching of history to the banning of books, we must ask ourselves what 'choice' really means.


A government dripping in repudiation of its own history certainly should not control any individual's reproductive freedom or right to sovereign autonomy.

[1] https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/issues/abortion/abortion-central-history-reproductive-health-care-america/historical-abortion-law-timeline-1850-today
[2] https://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/timeline/54fb158acc8b722e04000002

[3] https://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/timeline/53234888132156674b00024e

[4] https://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/timeline/543d5ab028f51f0000000003

[5] https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/issues/abortion/abortion-central-history-reproductive-health-care-america/historical-abortion-law-timeline-1850-today

[6] https://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/timeline/51509af7a4209be523000007

[7] https://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/timeline/51509e79a4209be52300000c

[8] https://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/timeline/532886fb132156674b00029d

[9] http://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/connections/530ba18176f0db569b00001b

[10] https://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/timeline/5501b984cc8b722e04000012

[11] https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2019/10/on-indigenous-peoples-day-recalling-forced-sterilizations-of-native-american-women/

[12] https://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/timeline/54fb1502cc8b722e04000001

[13] https://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/book-excerpts/health-article/forced-sterilization/

[14] https://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/NC/NC.html

[15] http://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/connections/530ba18176f0db569b00001b

[16] https://www.guttmacher.org/journals/psrh/2000/03/forum-black-women-and-pill

[17] https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2019/10/on-indigenous-peoples-day-recalling-forced-sterilizations-of-native-american-women/

[18] https://www.aclu.org/other/about-aclu-womens-rights-project

[19] https://www.aclu.org/other/about-aclu-womens-rights-project

[20] https://theintercept.com/2015/08/11/dupont-chemistry-deception/

[21] https://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/2013/07/cir-prison-investigation-opens-another-chapter-on-sterilization-of-women-in-u-s/


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Words Matter

Revisiting a year no one could have imagined and contemplating things completely unexpected, I find the world presently in a past somehow forgotten. Squandered in the vernacular of an obsolete time, it is difficult to articulate what is new and what is old.


2020 has been an ongoing demonstration of all things iniquitous. The abhorrence seeping into the crevices, cloaking everything in its darkness, while the insidious turmoil pervading our lives leaves us gasping for oxygen in a world without air.


Abruptly uprooted, lives are rearranged as the masses flail about searching for a life raft, unaware we were never drowning in the first place. Storms come and go, after all its the only way for life to push itself forward and further from the shores of sameness.


Standing on the beach may be the perfect backdrop for partaking in colorful beverages adorned with umbrellas, but it quickly becomes indolent as our idle spirits crave the unknown beyond the horizon. Imbalance crashing upon the rocky coast, the world searches for the beacon in a darkness it never saw coming. In the cacophony of chaos, purpose is often lost in translation. The mightiest of all weapons, dialogue becomes the penetrating fusillade, cutting the hardest of stones and melting the softest of hearts.


Though few things can reach beyond turmoil and unrest, it is our words that travel the furthest. Across the globe, mankind wrapped itself in the banners of righteousness, demanding justice, the call to arms and claims of superiority echoing forth the long simmering animosity generated through our ancestors and passed on as though part of our DNA.


Through our ability to express thoughts and ideals, language can become the catalyst to affect change or the keepers of stagnation. Philosophers once walked upon the land, stringing together manifestations of wisdom, imparting ideologies and explanations of the unanswered questions enveloping the universe. Feeding the hunger inside each of us to make sense of the unexplainable.


I suspect their contributions were not appreciated until long after their stories ended. From the tongue of Socrates, to Voltaire and Diogenes, it is clear people turned a silenced ear toward the truths they did not wish to hear. Basking in a self-imposed ignorance, humans throughout history gravitate near the hamster wheel. Predictability chosen over fear, the longing for improvement cast aside in favor of placation.


Advancements in technology rapidly feed false narratives, confusing the masses, and leaving truth behind, lying in a heap at the foot of a dumpster we call the internet. The world literally at our fingertips, words became the accomplice in the dumbing down of a society previously hungry for knowledge.


Whether it is wise words, words of comfort, or words to live by, we often find ourselves seeking retribution, explanations, and absolution. Politics to religion, life's many mysteries drum loudly in each of us. From a long walk to purgatory, to a difficult climb to heaven, we lean on prose to ease our discontentment.


The dichotomy of values and morals crowding the airwaves, leaving the very essence of what it means to be human in the middle of a revolution between troglodyte and millennial. Sacrificing truth and lies equally to the hyperbole of the day.


Standing alongside our convictions, rising against the social media machine of false information, we found the words to bring us together while apart. A trying and bizarre year on a multitude of levels, 2020 found inspiration in surprising and unusual ways.


Watching speech equally build up and tear down a society, it was redundantly clear that what we say matters. The volley of political correctness against basic kindness set the stage for a long overdue intermission. The entire world forced into a simultaneous timeout; reflection could no longer be avoided.


The upheaval and torment loudly broadcast in every medium possible, words alone could not deter the longing for equality nor the ideology of freedom's existence. The reverberation of the loudest voices in the room could not break the spirit of the human need to be with humans.


Through the fog of divisiveness, and the solitude of isolation we sought togetherness. Creativity pouring into the heartbeat of the living, progress infiltrating our veins, we became experts at Zoom and video chat apps, devouring them like the nectar of life. Streaming concerts, movies, talk show interviews and Tik Tok content, we found joy and laughter cracking open the night.


Homeschool fails and victories led to long overdue appreciation for the teachers raising our children. Job loss and boredom led to new innovations and entrepreneurship. Single-minded survival fell away to unprecedented gratitude for the frontline workers willingly sacrificing everything for strangers. Hoarding basic necessities no longer vital as the term 'essential' shifted our realities.


Our families, neighbors, and our planet became points of deliberation as we each considered what was truly important. Suddenly acutely aware of the mass waste and disposability around us, we became a collaboration of revisionist. Learning and relearning to take only what we need and leave the rest.


Lifting us out of perdition, our generosity and humanity will again lead us to the resurrection as we mend friendships and familial ties. Moving the world forward steadily, our resilience will take precedence over battles fought and never won. Holding tight to hope's hand we search for common ground in a shared unprecedented loss.


Regardless of the presumed rhetoric, humans will always be more alike than different. We will inevitably rise from the proverbial ashes and set upon a pristine path of righteousness. Coated in a semblance of the familiar, we will again prompt history to repeat itself while proclaiming it all fresh and new.


Standing on the cusp of tomorrow, marinating in yesterday, we continue to do the same things over and over, all the while expecting a different outcome. Humans become the hamster as time writes a history, we will one day erase, declaring its many falsehoods to hide our shame.


In this time of contemplation may we strive for compassion over cruelty and love over hate. Mindful of their impact, may we choose our words carefully. Commencing upon the coming year, may we find gentleness in our reflection and thoughtfulness in our humanity. Benevolent in our mercy and generous in our understanding, may we each walk with grace by our side, goodness in our intentions, and decency in our hearts.


As 2020 comes to a close and the dust of dissent settles, may we use our words to rejoice in our freedoms, protect one another, and implement the promise of brighter days along this ever winding road.

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A Woman Like Me

I grew up in a world where most people looked like me. I watched the world change while women evolved and did extraordinary things. These women also looked like me.

I admired Barbara Walters sitting next to Hugh Downs co-anchoring the news and looked forward to her numerous one on one interviews for the infamous Barbara Walters Specials. Geraldine Ferraro was the selected VP choice of Walter Mondale while I was in high school. The excitement around the historic moment left me disappointed that I wasn't old enough to vote, and equally frustrated when they lost.

Seeing women doing the same jobs as men, I felt empowered and believed through them, that I too could do anything.

Growing up during the ending run of the second wave feminist movement, my young and naïve mind believed we had won. We had won some long hard-fought battle against the patriarchy and women were finally equal, after all the television and magazine world seemed to be packed full of brilliant, strong & intelligent women rattling the cages of oppression and ringing in feminism.

Gloria Steinman was a household name, and Ms. magazine was often found on our coffee table. Comedian's like Lily Tomlin and Joan Rivers were in the mainstream, Dolly Parton left Porter Wagoner and struck out on her own to an unprecedented success. Stevie Nicks was leading Fleetwood Mac in sold out venues, Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed to the Supreme Court and Madeleine Albright became Secretary of State. While these women were few and far between, I believed nothing was impossible.

These women weren't my heroes, they were my possible and they all looked like me.

I was a white kid living in the projects, on the outskirts of hope and opportunity, and I always knew I could and would get out. The young women of color around me, didn't have this multitude of successful women that looked like them. They didn't have this ingrained expectation of success to fill their pores with possibilities and triumph.

It's not that women of color haven't done extraordinary things or found insurmountable success throughout the history of the world, they indeed have. Unfortunately, you have to look hard to find them. Stories written down, yet not repeated get lost in the winds of change. History tends to linger in the stories that are told and taught in our schools, our movie theaters, around our dinner tables and on the nightly news.

If the stories of Harriet Tubman, Madame C.J. Walker, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vauhn, Mary Jackson, and Shirley Chisholm aren't taught to the next generation, they disappear into the background noise and someone calls it progress.

While poet Maya Angelou's autobiography, 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings', spoke to all women and young girls, her oration of 'On the Pulse of Morning', during President Clinton's inauguration was unprecedented, and little black and brown girls were paying attention.

Oprah Winfrey rose to the top with the admiration of most women. Like many others, her story and success weren't without hard work and sacrifice, and she soon became a long-awaited example that success doesn't have to be measured by color or gender alone.

Tarana Burke hatched the #metoo hashtag to show young survivors of sexual assault they were not alone. It has grown to a national movement for women of all colors and socioeconomic position, the fact a black woman sits at the helm isn't lost on black and brown girls, who are disproportionately affected by sexual violence.

From memoir writer to editor, New York Time's bestseller Roxane Gay has not gone unnoticed among women eagerly searching for representation in the often pale waters of publishing success.

The rise of film maker Ava Duvernay for her incredible work behind 'When They See Us', and Pulitzer winning journalism of Nikole Hannah-Jones for her groundbreaking '1619 Project', women of color are finding true to life inspiration in women like them.

The nomination and successful election of America's first female Vice President has broken a multitude of barriers simultaneously. Kamala Harris isn't just the first female, she's the first black, the first Indian, the first bi-racial Vice President of the United States. While this is exciting for all women, for little black and brown girls looking for role models that look like them, it's so much more.

Representation matters. Seeing yourself in others doesn't just sew empathy or understanding, it can weave ambition and determination into your DNA. It can mirror a future never imagined.

Held up high, by the many women who have carved a path in the hardest of stone, Kamala is that mirror. Every little girl and young woman, from every walk of life and every color can now see themselves where they once never dared to dream.


A Woman Like Me also posted to medium.com


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The Muddy Waters of a Right to Life

America was leading the way in eugenics long before Adolf Hitler came to power. The forced sterilization and refusal to provide access to safe, legal contraception is just another dark layer of America's continued war on women, hidden in the shadows of the past. 

Follow the link for 'Op-Eds' to read my latest or copy/paste the link below.



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