Last night when the world was tucked away in bed, I lay in awe. I now live in a time where my daughter could see a beautiful, intelligent African and South Asian American woman, speak at a Vice Presidential Debate. My daughter could see someone who looks like her.
It wasn’t her ethnicity alone that made the night memorable; it was what she said that stole the show for me. (I’ll give props to the fly, though. Best walk on roll ever.)
“Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking.”
There it was. Hundreds of years of oppression, racism, and strife. To finally be heard on a stage in a bid for one of the highest honors/positions in our country.
The women who were sold and placed on a boat. The immigrant women of a myriad of ethnicities who came by ship or plane. The women who worked the fields. The women who worked the home. The women who worked the factories. The women who had no voice. The women who had no vote.
The women who sat on a bus, who were arrested, who picketed, who shattered glass ceilings. The women who slowly but steadily started using their voice.
The women who believed in their daughters and granddaughters. Who modeled work ethic, resilience, intelligence and hope. The women who didn’t speak with words but spoke by the sweat of their brow.
Because of these women who fought to be heard in the workplace, their home, their community. Because of the women who used written words, spoken words, musical words, art that spoke for them, we heard for the first-time last night:
“Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking.” And she was heard.
Today, many of us do have a voice. But many women still don’t. From the Dalit woman in India to the sex workers in Cambodia. The young girls not allowed to have an education to the elderly women in nursing homes alone and afraid because of Covid. The women who are still seen as second class. The single mother who cleans your home or bags your groceries. The woman who is trapped in an abusive relationship. The woman who is shamed for her body being too big or too small.
The women who are afraid to raise their voice in fear of retribution, name calling, or being seen as a “b***”.
These women still have a voice that needs to be heard.
We- who have a voice-need to speak on their behalf. To model. To give hope.
We who have a voice need to-
Do the work.
Move the needle.
Cast the vote.
As the first African American and South Asian American, Kamala Harris spoke the words countless women before her worked so hard to say-
And the world heard.
Stacy Pederson is a Funny Motivational Speaker who has almost died a bunch.