#StopStopping

[Originally published via Facebook]

An Open Letter to My Sisters:

First, if you’re receiving this, it means I respect you tremendously.  I may not always agree with you or understand where you’re coming from, but I respect you.  Some of you I’ve known for over 40 years (wow).  Others, I’ve not yet met in person.  I feel the need to connect with all of you in this moment.

Forgive me while I take a walk down memory lane – one that some of you walked with me.  In the late 1980s/early 1990s, we were fighters.  Losing abortion rights was a real threat.  It was still pretty shameful and dangerous to be gay or bisexual.  No one, not even me, dared accept transsexuals.  Polyamory … no way!  Even access to birth control was at risk.  Our opponents wanted us dead.  Literally, dead.  In many respects, we still hated ourselves.

That didn’t stop us.  We marched.  We congregated.  We celebrated the strength of women.  We honored the women who came before us.  Tremendously, we honored them.  I know it wasn’t just us because we’d show up for these rallies and there would be tens of thousands of women marching and shouting and sweating and … fighting.  It wasn’t just us.  Right?  It wasn’t just us…

We graduated.  We grew up.  We got jobs.  We got married.  We had children.

We stopped.

I don’t know about you, but I was comfortable.  I got a great education, a great job, I had a great partner, a great house in a great suburb … my family was intact.  George Bush was embarrassing but, in hindsight, he was tolerable domestically despite the global atrocities his regime ignited.  I even registered as a Republican … once.

We stopped.

Abortion rights were secure.  Women were making a whopping 77 cents on a man’s dollar.  My friends were lawyers and doctors and professors and engineers and generally kick ass women.  Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi were California stalwarts.  I personally was kicking ass.  I bought things and more things and more things.  I invited y’all over to see my things.

We stopped.

9/11 happened. Anita Hill. The Iraq War.  Afghanistan.  Bosnia. Syria.  Rodney King.  OJ Simpson.  People hunted animals to extinction for their tusks.  Police brutality reigned.  Women continued to be circumcised and raped in Africa.  Tibetan Buddhists continued to be exiled.  Dozens of police departments stopped processing rape kits.  All of this happened on our watch.  In fairness, we had a Starbucks on every corner and a smart phone in every hand.  We were distracted.

We stopped.

My sisters.  Can we please stop stopping?  Can we please, despite our differences, care enough simply to empower women … to empower leadership?  Can we be artists and writers and politicians and healers and mothers and aunties and poor and rich and healthy and not and … together?  Can we try?

Stay tuned, my sisters.  Opportunities are coming.  I will call on all of you in days to come.  Please stop stopping with me.  I love you all.   ~Jennifer … Jenny … Jen (whatever you called me)

Copyright 2016, Jennifer Anderson, All rights reserved.

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