Have we time-traveled back a century when child labor was a thing? That’s what I first thought when I heard that a food sanitation company was being sued for illegally employing over 100 children ages 13 – 17. The kids cleaned razor-sharp saws with caustic chemicals while working overnight shifts at 13 meat processing facilities in eight states including Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Tennessee and Texas.
When asked about the women who inspire them, our ADR Advisors share a range of iconic women and personal inspirations. Some of the Advisors have chosen personal mentors, others have opted for historic figures and some chose both. My own choice is Margaret Mead, (see quote above) a pioneer in cultural anthropology also known for her research on sexual conventions in Western society.
Reading about the various influencers, I have no doubt that you’ll begin to generate a list of women who shaped your own lives. Feel free to share in the Comments!
As a Black woman, whose family moved up from the Chicago slums to ‘the projects’, I was navigating the intersectionality of race, gender, and poverty in the USA. A historical iconic woman that inspired me would be Harriet Tubman, born a slave. I admire her because not only did she believe in human dignity and rights, but she also acted on her beliefs and principles.
Harriet Tubman understood that she and the others who were enslaved were human beings and not chattel. I had the honor to visit the Harriet Tubman House in Auburn, NY. Her modest home gives witness to her tremendous courage. She had seizures and narcolepsy, i.e., traumatic brain injury, from being hit in the head when an overseer threw a heavy metal weight at a slave.Harriet Tubman could be recognized during Women’s History Month, Disability Pride and Heritage Month and Black History Month.
Psst, readers, please read my quote and let it sink in before we start this narrative:
“One of the most difficult challenges in having a disability, or being of a certain age, race, gender, religion, etc., is that too often people see it and not you!”
Admit it or not, we all hold unconscious biases, including yours truly. We’re hard-wired that way. However, among the perspective altering vicissitudes in life are those instances that unearth our unhidden biases sometimes – correction, most of the time – to our discomfort.
Carlos: Angela, we’ve been friends and diversity colleagues for thirty-five years.It will be interesting to reflect on how the conversation about gender has changed over those decades.
Angela: Yes, but today we’ll only be able to look at a tiny slice of that huge topic. Let’s begin with language.When we first started working together, we used the term gender to distinguish women from men.Now we recognize greater complexities and fluidity, with terms like gender identity and non-binary.
My three granddaughters are, respectively, age 12, 5 and 3. They are also Black and beautiful. I start with that as a link that to what I’m about to write about; something personal, very personal.
You see, I’m ticked off to report that we have still another addition to the umpteenth volume of our “You can’t make this stuff up folks” collection, our chronicles of the asinine. Our latest entry comes from Caldwell, New Jersey courtesy of some “racially nearsighted” dude by the name of Gordon Lawshe.
In 1926, Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, an African-American historian, writer, and educator, created Negro History Week to honor the contributions of people of African descent in the U.S. He founded the Association for the Study of Negro (now African-American) Life and History in 1915 and the Journal of Negro History in 1916. Born in 1875 to former enslaved people in New Canton, Virginia, the Harvard-educated Woodson chose February for Negro History Week because the birthdays of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln fall then. He wrote, “What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race, hate, and religious prejudice.” Dr. Woodson contributed to our understanding that a better knowledge of history is critical for people in the African diaspora to achieve greater pride, self-determination and collective progress.Negro History Week itself changed. About fifty years later, near the close of the Black Power period (early 1970s), the celebration was renamed Black History Week and later expanded to Black History Month in 1976.
Honoring Black History Month often comes with events that tell African American history through arts and culture, which resonate across cultural boundaries. For example: the National Center for Civil and Human Rights will display jazz music that “inspires movements, evokes revolution, and lightens troubled spirits.”
Corporate celebrations may elevate Black artists, creators, entrepreneurs through storytelling, content and products. But as memorable as these celebrations are, they may be considered once-a-year, check-the-box events.
How do they hate us? Let me count the ways. There’s Holocaust denial, Nazi memes, attacks by Supremacists, far-right conspiracies,and victimization appropriations. Ironically, Russia which was the source of a favorite Nazi propaganda, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, recently joined that list. Russia’s Foreign Minister, furious with their isolation and Ukraine support, compared Western leaders to Hitler who “wanted a ‘final solution’ to the Jewish question.”
That’s the harrowing question that survivors of Tyre Nichols, a lanky 145 pound 29-year-old late – I repeat, late – father of a 4-year-old must answer. The other critical question is when will this senseless wiping out of Black people in America come to an end? Unfortunately, the answer to the latter question answers itself. You cannot erase history, can you?
So here we go again with another exhausting chapter in the convoluted history of race in the good ole USA. As the late civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer famously said, “we’re sick and tired of being sick and tired!”