March 12th, 2019
Thinking for Ourselves
Making Good Trouble
Detroit joined thousands of communities across the globe celebrating International Women’s Day last weekend. Nine years ago, Grace Lee Boggs and the Boggs Center joined Cindy Estrada of the UAW to reinvigorate local celebrations.
Kim Sherobbi welcomed about 150 women and men to the event, this year emphasizing Love, Purpose and Power. She reminded us of the intention of the gathering as a place where “women of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds come to create peaceful, nurturing, and healthy spaces where everyone can live, connect and grow.”
In remembrance of Grace, who died in 2015, the gathering watched a video clip with Grace talking to a group of students about Detroit. She explained that people are “already reimagining everything. Bringing the neighbor back into the hood” with ”love, fellowship, caring for one another.” She emphasized it is” our right, our duty to shake the world with a new dream …Not only to grow our souls for our own sakes, but for the sake of all living things.”
Ashley Scales of the UAW gave a powerful perspective on the role of the union to support women and to develop the community. She said we needed to “Go beyond jobs…and understand importance of fighting for everyone.” “At the end of day,” she said, “We are all we have.”
She reminded the gathering of the words of Walter Reuther explaining, “We can’t make gains at bargaining table and then go home to suffering at the kitchen table.”
She asked us to think about how it has always been the bonds of community and labor that have moved our country forward. “Women of labor and of civil rights, have and are unapologetically shaking world for new dream.”
She concluded by pointing to the emerging efforts to fight against greed and self-interest, from fights for a living wage, to teachers strikes, and women elected to congress on progressive platforms. Quoting John L. Lewis, Ms. Scales said, “We need to make good trouble.” She said, “Well behaved women don’t make history, we don’t change things being polite.” She asked each of us to think about “What is it you can do to make our communities better?
Raziya Curtis of the Healing Support Network began the session on Love saying, “We are collectively responsible for each other’s health and well-being.” Love is simple, love is expansive, love is infectious…when go in spirit of love, we can change intentions.” She offered ways for us to practice love in our communities and families so that we might come to “see ourselves in each other.”
Tiffany Ruff shared her journey from incarceration to becoming an activist. She explained how critical having a vision of where we want to go is to finding and developing our own sense of purpose.
Cindy Estrada brought the discussions to a close talking about power. She challenged all of us to do more and to think more deeply about the relationships between the community and labor.
She talked of her own beginnings as an organizer, working with Dolores Huerta and farm workers. There she saw how women were able to come together for a common purpose and demand dignity. Often undocumented and fearful, facing harassment and corruption, women confronted power. She said, “It’s not that women lost fear, but by coming together, we find the power to act.”
“Women are in a critical moment where we need to think about our purpose. We have to figure out who we are going to be, how we are going to move forward. For me this means we need to get quiet, listening to that voice inside of each of us, where we are not fixing and blaming others, but asking what is my purpose, what do I want to do in the next phase of life? This is the power within us.”
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