I will say this about the pandemic, it sure has presented me with many opportunities of reflection. ❤️
Recently, I looked back on the last 5 years of my life and remembered with fondness the speech I gave at the Corvallis, Oregon Women’s March.
I wanted to share it with you here along with the video so that if you were in need of a little righteous fury, I could provide you with an outlet.
Here is the speech so you can read along:
A day ago, a week ago, a month ago, a year ago I was wracked with an anger so deep, so large, so righteous in its fury it made my body shudder with its power and made my stomach heave and roil with nausea and fear. In 2016, I wrote a letter to America so powerful that I threw up after I wrote it. I had this image in my head of myself as Gollum rising from the dark depths of the election sewage to systematically destroy anyone who had let such an atrocious farce of an election take place in this glorious democracy that I was raised to hold so dear.
My sadness was palpable.
I was worried about what would happen under the current administration.
It is worse than I thought it would be.
I am broken. I am on fire. I am shrivelled, I am revolutionary. I am devastated, triggered, charred, broken, silenced, shamed, saddened, heartbroken, shocked, disgusted, scared, horrified, traumatized.
I am desperately seeking solace in a world that has been torn apart. I look at every person on the street and want to ask them what part they played in electing a fascist tyrant to power.
I want to lash out kick, claw, beat, and rail on every single person who has betrayed my own freedoms.
I want this anger to go away. It isn’t productive. It changes nothing. It just keeps me stuck. I want that fiery badass wise woman in me to rise from the ashes and do something big and radical and crazy. And yet, there she sits, waiting – wings wrapped around my body shrouding me from the sledgehammer of hate and total annihilation.
How do I inspire and lead and take up my banner when all I want to do is hang my head in abject disbelief that this nation chose fascism over prosperity. Despair over hope. Chose to believe lies over integrity.
Today I am surrounded by some of the most badass inspiring women all throughout the nation, raising hell and laying the foundation for a revolution in every space that we inhabit.
The matriarchy is rising and each day as I am sitting in my office surrounded by the feminist icons that inspire me to greatness I plot the revolution, blessed to be surrounded by trees and birds, the sun and the rain, righteous fury and epic ideas.
Today…one year after the collective march that set the world on fire…I offer you some Graceful Revolution:
The rigidity with which the feminist movement responds to marginalization is why we are here in 2018. We must expand our willingness to speak with women face to face, to hold their experiences as reality, and find our commonalities instead of exploiting our differences.
When women are told they are wrong they stop engaging in advocacy and taking action because they are afraid of being criticized. We must hold our sister's hands and thank her for speaking her truth instead of railing against her for having a position that doesn't quite ring true for us. Our pathway on our journey to revolutionary womanhood is complicated and we don’t always get it right.
Pitting women against other women is critical to the survival of the patriarchy. There is no resisterhood without the sisterhood. Loving compassion for ourselves and others is the foundation upon which we make a change in our communities. Our unwillingness to engage in difficult and complicated conversations with our own friends, people who we know personally or professionally, does not create change in our communities. If we are here to march for justice, then we must sit in the uncomfortableness of complicated conversation.
If we are here to march for charity, then we must bear witness to the sorrow and difficulties that poverty and oppression are presenting to our neighbors here in our own backyard.
Love is power.
Vulnerability is power.
Fierce expression of your truth is power.
Resistance is a marathon, not a sprint.
We rise in opposition of oppression. We seek opportunities to listen and learn from people whose experiences are different from our own. We give ourselves permission to be imperfect activists because it is likely we will screw up and get it wrong over and over again but we must rise to the occasion because if we don’t, who will?
I believe in a new brand of advocacy where we humble ourselves to our shortcomings and engage in acts of graceful revolution that bring light to the true reality of people’s lives. I believe that if we engage people in their own spaces, teach individuals to look at injustice as moments that touch their own lives if we give them the knowledge of the power structure and give them the tools to infiltrate its membrane, then change will take place in America.
This is the graceful revolution.
STILL WE MARCH.
STILL WE ENGAGE.
STILL WE RESIST.
STILL WE PERSIST.
STILL WE INSIST.
STILL WE RISE.
Thank you for having me! MARCH ON!
Dr. Melissa Bird