The gorgeous Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour was everyone’s valentine last night at Busboys and Poets. Her talk was one of the most uplifting experiences I’ve had in a very long time, and what makes it even better is that she made time to speak to all of us afterwards.
Somehow, my friend Kelly and I ended up on the stage directly behind her, and we were able to hear every word and feel every emotion. She turned around once and apologized for having her back to us, but I was so engrossed in her words, I truly didn’t even notice. That apology speaks to her character though, and you can tell that she truly does care about EVERY HUMAN BEING.
Founder and CEO of Busboys and Poets, Andy Shallal started the evening by stating that President Donald Trump served as a catalyst for this surge of positive change in our country. It was a beautiful analogy comparing our nation’s current state to Chemistry, in which a catalyst is dropped into a substance, and things begin to crystallize. His words couldn’t be more true, as the change literally began less than a day after Presidential Inauguration. As Linda stated at the Mpower Love event, “Agent Orange, you’re going to be on watch from day one.”
All kinds of topics arose as Linda spoke, and each one was of equal importance. Much like the Women’s March on Washington, Linda’s speech addressed multiple issues. She reminded us in activist and womanist Audre Lorde’s words, “We do not live single issue lives.” Many people commented that the causes women were fighting for that day were “too scattered,” but the march was for WOMEN. Women come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and all live for a unique passion all their own. As Linda shared with us last night, “You can’t talk about reproductive rights if you can’t talk about race and class.” With that being said, if we are fighting for women’s rights, we are also fighting for everything they love. Therefore, we come together to demand support for all things women represent.
Now that we know President Trump’s campaign was not all talk, we see firsthand that fascism is here. We see that these changes have already been implemented or currently in progress, and the next step for us is to love and protect one another. Linda made a very gentle suggestion that really made me think: “How can you protect your neighbor if you don’t know who they are, if you don’t know what their names are? Introduce yourself, let them know you see them.” A big part of the problem is all of the people that see something awful happening, and look the other way. I may not always have the answer, but I try my best to be available to help. I am the perfect balance of introvert and extrovert (I’ve got Psychology Today quiz results to prove it!) so I may not always be the person to reach out first. Hearing Linda share that advice made me want to be more open, so that people can see my heart. I want people to know that I have never been someone to follow the masses or believe something just because someone told me. I always seek the information that is true, I seek out what is right. I started last night by simply smiling at strangers. I will continue by staying on the path I am…hosting events to raise awareness, and continuing with my photo books. I have found my niche, and now I can use my gifts to “plug-in.”
Just as Linda shared, I like to “organize from a place of hope and evolution.” With every event I plan, every photograph I take, every makeover I complete, and every blog entry I write, I strive to gently raise awareness. I want people to know their worth, and find their strengths so that we can fight back. With consistency, organization, creativity, and above all LOVE, we can totally create a positive change. In the meantime, I plan to stand my ground and stand up for what’s right; which is treating every human being with love and respect.
We were all placed exactly where we were supposed to be by a force much greater than us, and we all belong here. xo
Peace and Blessings,