Feminism. It was always something at the back of my mind, but never considered myself an "activist" by any means.
That is, until 8 November 2016.
I remember like it was yesterday. I was working my first job late at night at Anthropologie, right in Rockefeller Center. MSNBC, CNN, and all the major news outlets had turned the Rockefeller Center into an outdoor newsroom, announcing each state's poll numbers right as they were counted.
Whoever was working closest to the window of the store had a view, we took turns announcing updates on our walkies.
By the time I got home, the final states were still being counted. I ran to turn on the television to watch. My feet were still bleeding from running around in heels all day, but I didn't have time to clean up, my eyes were glued.
Needless to say it was a night our generation will never forget. I woke up the next morning, bloodstains still covering my feet, eyes sticky with dried tears.
But here's the thing; tears won't get you anywhere. Action will.
On 21 January 2017, before sunrise, I was on a bus to Washington.
Between November and January, I had read, researched, watched, listened, and done just about any other thing I could to educate myself on the monster who (I honestly still couldn't quite believe) was about to occupy the White House. In the process, I became an extremely angry feminist.
With that anger, I marched. And with each step closer to Capitol Hill, I screamed louder and louder as if oxygen was slowly escaping the planet and the only way I could feel my lungs anymore was to make each sound rumble greater than the last.
As I marched, I watched the river of pink hats flow in rhythm. My chest burned with fire as I carried my piece of the flame, ignited by the light of women of all ages from all corners of the world standing by my side.
But as we moved in unison, I realized another pattern. Under all of those pink hats, was white skin.
THREE YEARS THREE MONTHS AND FOUR DAYS LATER
I am ashamed to say that I didn't think much again about that observation until 25 May 2020. Three years, three months, and four days after the Women's March on Washington. The day George Floyd was murdered by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The following weeks have gone down as some of the most powerful protests in our nation's history. During those weeks I found myself in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where many of the largest protests took place. Protests in which, for the first time, I didn't lead. I followed. I listened. I stood behind Black boys and girls younger than me as they cried from a place deep within them that I will never understand.
I repeated their chants. Tears streaming down my face. And just like the tears that flowed in 2016, the next day came action.
Reading. Watching. Listening. Sharing voices that are not mine. Asking questions.
The last few months have seen so much work. Work which is far from done. But one question in particular I keep raising to myself:
How could I have ever called myself a feminist, having left Black womxn out?
If i've learned anything over the last few months, it's that I can't. So, the work to do better, BE better, continues.