I've spent hours reading researching women's history looking for my first featured Tuesday Tribute. Good news is I have lots of material for future posts. As I was reading historical accounts of famous women’s lives and the reform movements they were fighting so hard to create, I realized that for every one woman whose name is now at least recognized if not honored, there have been thousands of women who stood with her to make her efforts possible. These are the protesters, the canvassers, the volunteers, the ones who sit up late at night addressing envelopes (pre internet!) They are the ones who sewed, by hand the banners that called for women's suffrage; they are the women and girls who walked out of the sweatshops, knowing the possibility of homelessness and starvation lie ahead, to demand fair and safe labor practices. They are the women who burned to death or died jumping out of windows in the infamous Triangle Factory fire, while their bosses safely escaped making no effort to save the women. In Africa they speak out against non-consensual female circumcision and forced marriage. In Afghanistan they maintain the safe houses and shelters and tend to the need of the women and girls who come to them seeking refuge. They are the women young and old who spent two weeks sleeping on the cold marble floor of the state Capitol in Madison Wisconsin last month. We see a face in the crowd in photographs or videos, but we don't know their names. We don't know the details of their lives. Maybe one has a baby at home that she will tend to throughout the night after a day of walking through the streets. Maybe another survived polio and every step towards Justice painful and labored. Look at the others; maybe this one goes home to a husband who disagrees with the "crazy idea" that women should have the right to vote and run for office. And maybe he conveys that message with his fists, trying to beat the will out of her one gut wrenching, ear ringing punch at a time; and the next day she gets out of bed aching and sore, arranges her hair and scarf to hide the bruises and heads out for another day to march for her rights; for all of our rights.
For every invisible girl and woman who sacrificed, suffered and died to protect our rights I ask we take a moment of reflection to honor her legacy.