I did not march yesterday.
The pain in my heart and body was palpable. From the moment on November 8th when it became clear Trump was going to be president, the trauma in my body became visceral. The fight or flight, the disaster scenario, the panic, the anxiety – every symptom I had endured since the day I was raped – was yet again awakened. My PTSD kept me from feeling safe enough to march.
Yesterday, millions of men and women who were able – marched for peace. They marched for equality. They marched for me. They marched for you.
As I sit here and watch the videos of the many women of color speaking yesterday, I am overwhelmed with emotion. For my whole life I have felt alone with these views. I have been silenced by my family, silenced by our administration, silenced by my education, silenced by rape, silenced by my heritage and white passing skin.
Today, because of your courage and your ability to get out there and march – I feel safe again. I feel hope. Your job is not over, my job is not over, there is more work to do, and it starts with decolonizing our minds.
So let’s break down a little of what happened yesterday and how you can educate yourself to be a part of the solution in the long term.
Angela Davis, activist called for “an inclusive and Intersectional Feminism” – What did she mean?
For the past thirty some years, feminism has been critiqued by women of color for pushing agendas that only benefited upper middle class white women and ignoring the plights of the most marginalized women in our country. Women of color, immigrants, mothers, trans women, LGTBQ women. This conversation has mostly been silenced, oppressed, and delegitimized within the media, within our education system, within the patriarchy.
This movement started by women of color was called intersectionality. Intersectionality said the needs of a white woman were different then the needs of a black woman, and the needs of a black woman would be different from a black woman with a disability. Therefore, we needed to have a critical mindset around the different intersections of oppression. It has been followed by many different iterations of feminism, black feminism, womanism, decolonial worldviews, Latina feminism, Borderlands Epistemology, third wave feminism, ecofeminism and many others.
So when Angela Davis says we need an inclusive and intersectional feminism – what she means is that it is time for the white woman to become an ally. For her to be concerned with not only her plights but the plights of the sisters around her without privilege. Bell Hooks, the famous black queer feminist said it was women who undermined the feminism movement. Not men. We forgot to uphold one another. Some of us gained privileges (the ability to work in corporate America, changed our social economic status) and forgot to help our sisters still living in the margins, in poverty, or in abusive relationships, or as single mothers, or in access to education/healthcare, low socio-economic status, or held down by the color of their skin.
But today, we get a fresh start at feminism. Today, we can choose to decolonize our minds and becomes allies to one another. We can start to LISTEN CLOSELY to the most marginalized women and take on their plights.
Because until we heal the plights of those most marginalized voices – we will never be able to dismantle the patriarchy.
Thank you to all intersections of feminism for continuing to be loud voices even when you continue to be silenced.
Information on Chimine Nicole:
Chimine has spent her life as an activist to end violence against woman. As a teenager she was raped by a serial rapist whom later received a 107 years to life sentence. Since becoming a mother in 2013, Chimine has been working on her PhD from California Institute of Integral Studies looking at the relationship between patriarchy, rape culture, intergenerational violence and breastfeeding. Her current work at Mental Health Systems is creating a “mother-centered” approach to curriculum to help mothers heal trauma through bonding with their children. She has received the Valor Award from Community Service Programs as well as been honored by the D.A. in Orange Country at the first annual Victim Rights Walk for her tireless contribution to the welfare of women and children.