TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year, the Silence Breakers, is yet another piece of evidence that a massive cultural shift is taking place. And every facet of our society must take notice, alter their long-held way of doing things, and evolve along with the times. And no doubt the #metoo movement has taken a decidedly political turn. November’s recent elections showed what we as Progressive Democrats have long known: traditional candidates running on traditional platforms are no longer working.
2017 opened with millions of women protesting Trump’s inauguration. At the time, many attributed the Women’s March as privileged white women pouting that their candidate had lost. But while few of us identified squarely with that sentiment, our commonality was that we were simultaneously angry and unable to sit still. We had to do something. The year proceeded like a slasher movie, not only with pictures of white men at large conference tables deciding women’s reproductive rights, but with our own California tech and entertainment industries stripped to their misogynistic and racist foundations. Every day, we’re asking ourselves: is this who we are? Today, Time Magazine tells the story of courageous women who harnessed their anger to speak out against a culture that makes women, particularly women of color, less-than.
Progressives, as the party of people over profits, are on the right track. Women are stepping up to run for office in unprecedented numbers – some from right here within our own Club. We’re lucky enough to be operating in a community that is teeming with progressive activism. As exemplified by SLO’s Mayor and City Council, by groups like Women’s March SLO and RACE Matters, by organizations like NAACP and The Queer Crowd, the climate has never been more primed to welcome new voices into the conversation, more teed up to support change, or more ready to embrace a new wave of leadership.
Ai-jen Poo, activist and Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, recently spoke at a Nation’s Magazine forum on women’s activism. She explained how women are the bridge builders among all of the fluid identities in our communities. Women, by nature, reach into every aspect of society and culture, and are therefore natural leaders. So to those among us who are not ready to speak out or step up, who may still be awakening in their own way, there is a place in this movement for you.
It is time to not only seek out, engage, and listen to the voices of those who have long been silenced, but to elevate these voices into positions of power.
As even Megyn Kelly posited to TIME, “What if we…spoke our truth in our strongest voices and insisted that those around us did better? What if that worked to change reality right now?” Let’s do it. Let’s leverage this moment to elect more women into office.