What Does it Really Mean to Believe Women?

What Does it Really Mean to Believe Women?

Over the past year or so we have seen what some have called a “reckoning” with a mainstream focus on the #metoo movement. We have seen some powerful men lose their jobs, or even get arrested, for the sexual violence and misconduct that they have perpetrated. In September, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez, Julie Swetnick, and at least one other woman who remained anonymous came forward with credible allegations of sexual violence at the hands of then Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. And just last week the documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, aired highlighting horrific and ongoing violence that the artist has perpetrated against numerous girls and women. Throughout this time, we have talked about the importance of believing women. We have marched, protested, and demanded that Sentors look at us. At the same time, though, we have largely centered white women.Lest we forget that Tarana Burke, a Black woman, created #MeToo through the work she has done with victims of sexual violence in Black and Brown communities for over 20 years, and R. Kelly’s downloads increased during the airing of the documentary highlighting his abuse of Black girls and women.

So I’m left to wonder, what does it really mean to believe women?

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Moving From either/or To both/and

Moving From either/or To both/and

After staring at my blank computer screen for two days, yesterday I decided to make a video instead of writing a blog. I have been thinking a lot lately about embracing a “both/and” life and I wanted to share some thoughts. Sometimes writing is hard! So first, I’d love to hear from y’all. Do you like the videos or are blogs better? A combination, maybe?

I spent most of my life living in a very black or white, good or bad mindset. It wasn’t until I found out that my Mom had cancer — on my son’s first birthday! — that my mindset started to shift. Over the next 6-9 months every day felt bittersweet.

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Doing Picture Day Differently This Year

Doing Picture Day Differently This Year

I tried something new today. It’s picture day at my kids’ school – you know, the day that I am supposed to make sure my kids look as cute and innocent as possible so their 2nd and 3rd grade faces can be memorialized forever?! Yeah, that day. Except this year I did something different. This year I let them choose their own outfits. And no, my 7 & 8-year olds don’t dress any better than yours. In fact, they are probably more likely to have clothes with holes or stains on them. Yikes!

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From Soccer Mom to Activist

From Soccer Mom to Activist

I have always had an interest in politics. I grew up with parents who consciously talked to my sister and me about current events and issues around civil rights. We voted with our parents and watched the State of the Union as a family. I have been a Democrat since before I really even knew what that meant! Now, as an adult I take my kids with me when I vote - something we’ll be doing again on Thursday! I tell them who I am voting for and why, encouraging them to understand the importance of civic engagement. Admittedly, I was one of the people who was completely shocked by the election of Donald Trump. I realized afterwards that I had placed myself into a beautiful echo chamber of liberalism and hadn’t even seen the alternative coming.

Talking to my children the morning after the election was so hard. I had told them about both candidates and why I was opting to vote for Hillary Clinton. They knew that Donald Trump was mean; that he spoke disrespectfully about people with disabilities, people of color, Muslim people, and about women. My boys looked at me that morning and asked me how he was elected president when he was so unkind, so disrespectful... It was hard to find words of hope for them.

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White Women, We Need to Talk About Being Uncomfortable

White Women, We Need to Talk About Being Uncomfortable

I was pregnant and gave birth – twice – I know what it means to be uncomfortable. Braxton Hicks contractions, bladder kicks, 24 hours of labor, Pitocin… I mean, I know discomfort! Many of us do. Hell, we wear bras in the summer. And Spanx! And heels! WE know discomfort. But somehow when it comes to Whiteness and racism we become suddenly unable to be uncomfortable. We’ve gotta talk about this.

Before you close out of this and stop reading, hear me out. I am a white woman. I am a Spanx and high heel wearing, fashion over comfort, sweating in my strapless bra in the summer kind of uncomfortable white woman. I’m also a white woman who has cried in the midst of an uncomfortable conversation willing for it to end and for me to be taken care of. I’ve been defensive, squirmy, quiet, and kept my head down in the midst of uncomfortable conversations when I didn’t know what else to do or say. I have avoided giving feedback or addressing a concern out of fear for how it will be received – and how I would be perceived. I am you. My intention isn’t to attack or shame you – I am you. Instead, it is my goal to share with you some things that I’ve learned about the impacts of these reactions and how I think we can do better.

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