Yesterday morning in my first waking moments, the bitter taste of fear filled my mouth first. Then I remembered why. I went through the day in shock, feeling that this was a huge blow to so many causes I care immensely about, that our work got bleaker and more difficult in one night. I was fearful of how this would affect me personally. As many of you know, I am a member of the LGBTQ community, and I wondered if I would even be able to legally marry my partner next year when on our wedding date. I wondered what would happen to my Muslim friends, many of whom were staying hidden and quiet yesterday. I wondered what would happen to those who weren’t born in the US. I felt palpable fear.
This whole election has been a triggering one for me, bringing up feelings about my own sexual assault that haven’t risen to the surface in years. I, along with thousands of others, found my voice and shared my story of sexual assault. I imagined my story giving courage to someone else who hadn’t yet spoken up. I felt a growing momentum behind the message that rape culture had to change, that sexual assault was not ok. I knew it was an uphill battle, but it has always been an uphill battle. We’re used to that.
Yesterday, I allowed myself time to grieve. And today, when I woke up, I said to my partner: Today is the day we spread love on our table and invite the world in again. Today is the day we meet fear with hope. Today, we embrace each other – most especially the disenfranchised among us: people of color, women, native people, LGBTQ people, disabled people, our Muslim brothers and sisters, our immigrant neighbors and friends. People who have already faced huge challenges. People who are battle-weary and worn. Today is the day we wrap our arms around each other and say that we will not give up and we will never stop fighting for them.
Today is the day we choose hope. Because we have chosen hope in the face of the most foreboding of circumstances before. We will overcome. We’ve been overcoming for decades and we will continue to fight for making the world a better place through our programs and our work in our communities, through the lives our organizations touch. Because tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that and for years to come, we must do everything we can to help love win. I believe in us. I believe that as Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
We are given the chance today to choose hope over fear. I don’t know what the world ahead of us looks like. But even with the icicles of gnawing fear within my heart, I will not let fear win. Today, I choose hope. Today I choose love. Today I choose to be the change I want to see. Together, we can make this world a beautiful and inviting place for other women and girls. In Girlforce, we will continue to work for equity and justice, we will continue sharing our stories and amplifying the voices of others, we will continue making a safe space, we will continue lifting each other up and making each other better. And our voices will grow to a roar: We are Girlforce, and we will not be silent. Take heart, Girlforce Warriors, we’ve got this.
posted by Joni Martin