Stand Up for Women, Stand Up for Justice

Roxanne Barber gets personal about why standing up for women is so important; supporting organizations that support women; joining sister marches all over New Mexico for the Women’s March on Washington; getting the Girl Scouts out of the inauguration ceremony.

Guest Blog from Roxanne Barber, Co-founder of Retake Our Democracy

stand_up_for_women-ngps2252_copy_1024x1024After the results of the November election, it’s become clear that we Americans need to listen to each other more closely, to learn from each other, to understand each other. It’s difficult for most people to understand and empathize with experiences they’ve never had. But if we listen with open minds and open hearts we can begin to heal much of what’s wrong in this country.

I’m reaching out with the hope of helping people understand why women’s rights are so important. It may help to hear some of the difficult experiences I’ve had as a woman. As a young girl, I was sexually molested by my grandfather. I was afraid, ashamed, and never told anyone. As a teen, I was raped late one night in a campground. Again, out of fear and shame, I was silent. As a young woman, I was sexually harassed in the workplace: groped and kissed against my will, and targeted with inappropriate sexual comments. I never spoke up for fear of losing my job. I was often told “Smile, baby,” by men on the street and called “bitch” if I didn’t. To retaliate when we divorced, my first husband moved away and never paid child support. In the workplace, I’ve experienced gender discrimination more times than I can say. Through all of this, I never complained, I never stood up for myself.

For women of my generation, these kinds of experiences were normalized. “Boys will be boys!” You were expected to “be a good sport” and play along. You learned to develop a thick skin, to laugh it off, to walk away in silence, to never ask for help. But the shame and humiliation of those experiences has a lasting impact. With no outlet, anger and helplessness are turned inward. As a result, I’ve struggled with depression my entire life, depression that often sapped my hope, sapped my power. And prolonged my silence.

I’m not telling my story because I think what happened to me is unique. I’m telling my story because it is the story of millions of women in this country and around the world. I’m telling my story because I want to encourage other women to tell their stories, to end the silence, to ask for help. I want women to speak out against their abusers, their harassers, their oppressors. I want not just men but everyone to know that the things that happened to me may have happened to your mothers, your sisters, your wives, your daughters, your girlfriends. These stories need to be told so that everyone understands how important it is to stand up for women.

I feel a wave of anger and shame when I witness anyone disparaging women or girls. I can no longer suppress that anger and shame. We all need to speak out, to stand up together. Stand up to end emotional and physical abuse against women, stand up for equal pay, stand up for reproductive rights, stand up for affordable childcare, stand up to protect the women and girls in our lives. As long as we are silent, we are complicit. We not only accept the behavior with our silence, we encourage it.

By listening to each others’ stories with open hearts and open minds, we can truly learn from each other. We can find what we have in common and diminish what divides us. By supporting each other regardless of gender, race, culture, religion, or politics, we grow and evolve as individuals and as a society. Let’s reach out and listen to girls and women who need our support, who may need us to find their courage, to tell their stories.

In gratitude for all who are standing up for justice everywhere,

jennifermaravillas-ourbodiesourminds-2-1I’ll hope you’ll join hundreds of thousands of people this Saturday, Jan. 21, for the Women’s March on Washington. For details about sister marches in New Mexico, see the links near the bottom of this post.

After the march, what can you do to support women and girls? Support an organization that serves women and girls. There are too many to name here, but below are a dozen. Click on the names to learn, to volunteer, to donate:

  1. Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women: CSVANW was created to provide support to other Native advocates working in domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking and sex trafficking in New Mexico’s tribal communities. Their single goal: to eliminate violence against Native women and children.
  2. Crossroads for Women: Crossroads for Women provides comprehensive, integrated services that support successful reentry, sustainable recovery and secure futures for New Mexico women working toward health and self-sufficiency.
  3. EqualityNM: Our mission is to be a trusted partner, and to uplift the voices and leadership of our community in creating a reality of equity, full access, and sustainable wellness for LGBTQ New Mexicans. We envision a world in which oppression is obsolete and all aspects of identity are honored.
  4. Esperanza Shelter: Esperanza of Greater Santa Fe empowers people to live violence-free lives through protection, prevention, awareness and education. Our philosophy is to empower all clients to consistently experience safety, respect, equality, self-determination and compassion.
  5. Girls Inc. of Santa Fe: We provide girls throughout Santa Fe with life-changing experiences and real solutions to the unique issues girls face. Girls Inc. gives girls the tools and support they need to succeed.
  6. National Organization for Women: NOW’s purpose is to take action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.
  7. New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Our mission is to lead a coordinated and effective response to domestic violence throughout the state. Our vision: a world free of violence and oppression.
  8. New Mexico Community Foundation: NMCF creates ripples of positive change across New Mexico that helps children, families and communities thrive. We focus on important matters that most impact community needs and priorities, particularly in relation to our most vulnerable community members.
  9. We believe that when women are economically secure, safe and healthy, then families, and whole communities, are economically secure, safe and healthy
  10. Planned Parenthood: Planned Parenthood believes in the fundamental right of each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility, regardless of the individual’s income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence.
  11. Tewa Women United: The mission of TWU is to provide safe spaces of Indigenous women to uncover the power, strength, and skills they possess to become positive forces for social change in their families and communities.
  12. Young Women United: YWU leads community organizing and policy initiatives by and for self-identified women and people of color in New Mexico, and works so that all people have access to the resources, information, and education needed to make thoughtful decisions about their own bodies and lives.

Join the Women’s March on Washington, Saturday, Jan. 21
Albuquerque, Deming, Fort Sumner, Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Truth or Consequences

Women’s March on Washington, Albuquerque, NM
11am-2pm: Albuquerque Civic Plaza.
Click this link for info and to sign up.

Women’s March on Washington, Deming, NM
Noon: Leyendecker Plaza Park, Spruce and Gold Corner, Deming
Click this link for info and to sign up.

Women’s March on Washington, Fort Sumner, NM
10 a.m.: Dallas Park, 1099 Sumner Ave., Fort Sumner
Click this link for info and to sign up.

Women’s March on Washington, Las Cruces, NM
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Southwest Environmental Center, 275 Main St., Downtown Mall, Las Cruces.
Click this link for info and to sign up.

Women’s March on Washington, Santa Fe, NM
11 am – 12 pm: March to the Roundhouse
Starting Location: North side of the Bataan Building on W. De Vargas St., between Galisteo St. and Don Gaspar Ave. (Please gather on the grassy areas and sidewalks at 10:30am; keep parking areas clear.) If you want to march with Retake Our Democracy, please meet at 10:30 at the Saveur parking lot, corner of Galisteo, Cerrillos, and Montezuma, a block from the Bataan Building.
12 pm – 2 pm: Rally at the Roundhouse
Location: New Mexico State Capitol – 490 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501
(south-east side of the Capitol Building) For a list of speakers, click here.

Women’s March on Washington, Truth or Consequences, NM
Noon: Healing Waters Plaza, Mims St., Truth or Consequences
Click this link for info and to sign up.

Call Girl Scouts USA to Urge Them to Back Out of the Inauguration Ceremony!
Call Girl Scouts USA at 1-800-478-7248 to ask them to reconsider participating in Trump’s inauguration. Girls Scouts say they are participating because “it has been a tradition.” Please share this info with friends and family, especially with those who are or have been Girl Scouts. Click here to read an article about this from Jezebel.

Categories: Actions, Activist Organizations, Activists Websites, Justice, Women and Girls, Women's Rights

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7 replies

  1. If we are going to continue to evolve as a progressive society then we must include Women as full participants in our democratic “experiment.” If we exclude any segment of our population from all the opportunities available to men then what exactly is that? Answer: a outdated Patriarchal White Male dominant society, with “the better half” of our population excluded. We need to fully support all women in order to achieve a fully balanced and more truly functional society and government in order to best deal with the enormous challenges facing the Human Species in the near and foreseen future. Will our species evolve and thrive? That is the question of our time. I certainly do hope so.

    • Thank you, Mark, for your comments. It’s hard to believe the things we’re still fighting for after all these years! And it just got a lot worse. I have a feeling that we won’t just be marching in the Women’s March tomorrow — we’ll be marching for the next four years. It’s a scary time. Thank goodness, there are a lot more men aware of why women’s right are important than there were when I was growing up. Thanks again for your words. Roxanne

  2. HI Roxanne,

    Thank you, thank you for your insightful and open comments. They reverberated with my own history as I’m sure they will with most women, and sadly, many girls. I am coming to the Women’s March and would be pleased to march with Retake Our Democracy. I wrote Paul yesterday that I would be happy to work the March and Rally but have not received a reply (my back is healed!). Is there parking at Saveur? I am calling Girl Scouts right now.

    In solidarity,

    Tish Gallarda

    • Hi Tish, I didn’t see your email, so please resend if there is something you wanted to respond to.

    • Thanks, Tish. Roxanne here. I appreciate your note. Yes, changing our culture is going to be a long, tough process. These behaviors are so deeply part of who men are, they don’t understand why they’re wrong. And now with Trump, those bad behaviors get reinforced! We’ve got so much work to do, and women’s rights are just a piece of it.But I do believe that speaking out and listening to each other will help us take a big step forward. See you at the march on Saturday!

  3. Excellent!! I am sure this article resonates with women of any age; young and older alike. There are very few who have not faced discrimination against them just for being female. As a champion for women and women’s rights from the time I found my voice, which was early in life (thank you Mom and Dad for raising me to be a strong and independent female when that was not the norm) I will continue to stand up against any President, man or organization or movement that wants to diminish me and other women. Till my last breath I will fight against those actions!

    • Thank you, Susan. After all this time, it’s hard to believe we’ve taken such an enormous step backwards. Not just with women’s rights, but everyone’s rights, including our planet. We are going to be doing a hell of a lot of marching over the next four years! Roxanne

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