Roll Up Your Sleeves

The International Women’s Day has come and gone. Symbolic commemorations were held. Some aligned with patriarchy and capitalism, while others took to social media with memes of respect and women’s victories worldwide.

It all seemed curious at this particular moment in time. With much of the media warning us of socialism, it is forgotten that the first International Women’s Day was born on the heels of a socialist workers uprising. It was an eleven-week strike led by 20,000 women during the brutal winter of 1909. Young strikers, many of whom were immigrants, faced opposition from manufacturers, police and the courts. Their struggle continued for five years, inspired movements around the world and gave birth to the day we honor, March 8, 1910.

Today, women cry “misogyny” over Elizabeth Warren’s presidential withdrawal yet remain unaware that Tulsi Gabbard is still in the race.  They act oblivious to the Democratic National Committee’s exclusion of Tulsi. It is even more telling that women of color, who are taking the lead to educate and rally people towards justice and inclusion, are ignored or chastised for their strength. And yes I am thinking of Nina Turner, AOC, Omar, Pressley and Tlaib to name a few.

And in the patriarchal and whitewashed commemorations of women’s day, how many remembered or taught about the murdered and missing indigenous women or highlighted the efforts of those trying to end human trafficking?

How many acknowledged or are aware of the efforts of Mexican women trying to end the rise of femicide in their country? Or recognized the 80,000 who marched in MexicoCity on that day?

Perhaps it is time we leave the ivory towers of patriarchy and the comforts of capitalism to be more inclusive, to be more human, and to be more effective.

Roll up your sleeves, there is work to do.

 

photo of some of the women who participated in the 1909 shirtwaist strike, compliments of wikipedia

 

Rethinking Genocide

Dominant cultures share common threads. They forcibly and systematically destroy cultures and peoples who are different. They do this by killing and torturing, separating children from families, forcing indoctrination on the young, and by the rape and murder of women and girls. They do it with swift first strikes and then gradually through police tactics, court injustice, social crimes and environmental destruction. The governments of these dominant cultures carry on the atrocities for generations. Education and religion are used to maintain the status quo and to create an illusion that “all is as it should be.”

Since WWII we have termed this cultural and human destruction as genocide. In 1948, the Untied Nations created the legal definition of what was then coined the “crime of crimes”.

Ideas take time to take hold. This week dominant culture took a blow with the release of Canada’s National Inquiry into the epidemic of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls.  Exhaustive studies and final conclusions prepared by professional Indigenous women were presented to the Canadian government.

Within the findings is the declaration that the Canadian government by omission and commission engaged in the genocide of Indigenous people.

As one survivor put it, “You can’t un-hear the truth.”

Here are a few words from the final damning report: “These violations amount to nothing less than the deliberate, often covert campaign of genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA [two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual] people.”

Humankind must find a way to end the perpetuation of violence on Indigenous peoples.  Dominant cultures everywhere must grapple with the racist and sexist attitudes that are upheld throughout their systems and policies. The United States has developed an institutionalized apathy that needs to be challenged.

Kudos to all who are fighting this inhuman disease however you are called to do so.

 

For more on the report and its findings and to give credit for the photo used visit Eagle Feather News.

On Soundcloud. Thanks to WDRT for airing “Consider This.”

Kiss Patriarchy Good-by

Traditionally February 14th has been set aside for love. The history of Valentine’s Day is uncertain, originating with pagan fertility rites and morphing into a celebration of Valentine, the Christian saint of romance.

Since 1992, this day has been held in commemoration of indigenous murdered and missing women and children. Beginning in Vancouver, marches to honor and remember lost sisters, mothers, friends and aunts now happen throughout Canada, Minnesota, Colorado and North and South Dakota.

In past years, I have participated in these walks. The heartbreak of loss juxtaposed with the resilience to end this nightmare is powerful. The attempt to un-silence an epidemic that has endured since the coming of Columbus has largely been lost to the dominant culture. Our inability to hear and respond has added to the tragedy.

Yet as the cries for justice, protection, and awareness have multiplied, so too have the accounts of rape, sex trafficking, child abuse and femicide in our society and throughout the world.

Recent admissions by Pope Francis on the sexual abuse of nuns by priests, and the most recent study of child abuse within the ranks of the Southern Baptist Convention is ripping the scab off the silenced truth. The abuse of women and children is a direct result of patriarchy. And unless and until we acknowledge that truth, we will be incapable of changing it.

We have been quietly secretive, allowing the systematic and intentional degradation of women and children. We have refused to stop the spread of the cancer within our culture. It has been upheld in our courts, our churches and temples, our military, our medicine, our politics and our schools.

We have taught our sons to cover their tracks and we have taught our daughters to hide their shame. It is beyond time to end this grotesque relationship. Kiss the abusive nature of patriarchy good-by. It hurts everyone.