Last night, Oprah gave a powerful and eloquent acceptance speech for her lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes. If you didn't get a chance to see it or hear it, you can read it here.
Her speech gave words to what so many women and some men have been feeling at this moment in time. Furthermore, for me, it is an affirmation that cultures, countries, and consciousness, grow, evolve, and enlighten themselves from within, on a spiral pattern, always revisiting what has come before, but from a different perspective and point in time.
Oprah began by recounting her childhood experience of sitting on the linoleum floor at home, watching Sidney Poitier, the first black man to win an Oscar, take the stage and accept his award. She emphasized the effect it had on her as a young black girl. She remarked that she too represents a first, being the first black woman to win the Golden Globe's lifetime achievement award. She wanted to share the evening with all the young girls, not unlike herself, that were now watching her accept the award. This is life come full circle. Yet, as the circle moves forward in time, it becomes a spiral. The circle cannot close because it can never return to exactly the same spot, as time moves on. Yet, one moment can align with a previous one that came so many years before. The spiral keeps turning. Her speech, this moment, was a perfect, poetic alignment.
Oprah went on to praise the efforts of the free press to uncover the truth, keeping us from falling victim, " To tyrants and victims and secrets and lies." Yet, at the heart of her message was the power of speaking one's truth. She invoked all women, including Recy Taylor, that have been victimized by living, ". . . too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. And for too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up."
Oprah praised and thanked all the women who have endured abuse and assault for so many years in an oppressive culture, as well as those who recently have had the courage to speak out and begin, once again, to bend our culture further towards justice and equality for women.
In closing, Oprah noted, "So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again. Thank you.”
This last year has been frightening for women, not only because of the agonizing birth of the #metoo movement but because of the direct political assault on women's rights and health. Women in 2017 had to fight, once again, to assert that women have a right to control their own bodies and their healthcare. From the assault on Planned Parenthood and the vital services they provide to underserved women, to the assault on women's healthcare, through the proposed exclusions of insured birth control, pregnancy, and postpartum care, women saw an all male congressional panel try to restrict their freedoms, potentially damage their health, and the health of our children.
As women, we are living in a time that has the most potential for change since the second wave of feminism in the 1960's-1970's. We have come full circle, we have come back around on the spiral to the fight for our fundamental rights as human beings, to control our own bodies and lives, and pursue our own dreams, and goals. If we are to make the next leap forward for women, for our culture, and for humanity, we must all join the fight.
We must be unyielding in our demand for equality.
We must hold our truths aloft in the bright light of day that they cannot not be forgotten or denied.
We must hold our truths aloft in the darkness as a light to guide one another onward.
If we are not vigilant, if we do not continue our activism, if we tire, if we do not keep pushing, truth-telling, marching, demanding, organizing, and VOTING, this alignment with those who have come before us, who sacrificed so much to bring us to this moment in time, could be lost.
Rise, Rise and keep Rising in the fight for the equitable, peaceful future of humanity. United we cannot fail. There is so much to be done. We must finally claim and use our power for good. Women control much of the spending power in the US " . . . private wealth in the United States is expected to grow from some $14 trillion today to $22 trillion by 2020, and 50% of it will be in the hands of women." 1 Let's unite and make decisions of how, where, and why we spend our money, for the greater good.
Women’s leadership has been growing in politics as well. Alexis Abramson Ph.D., a gerontologist writes in her article “Women Over 50 Are Shaping America’s Political Destiny," ' . . . that women over fifty in American play a powerful role in politics because of their mature worldview: . . .they have lived enough to understand what really matters, and along the way they have known injustice and struggle. They have a well- developed view of the big picture and their motives and aspirations are seldom selfish. They are dedicated to making the world a better place for their children and their fellow man.. . . Female American voters over the age of 50 are a force to be reckoned with and the political powers-that-be should not underestimate their influence." 2
Abramson goes on to write, "According to the New York Times, women bankrolled political campaigns in 2016 more than ever before. Women as a group have taken control of over $39.6 trillion of the world’s wealth. Their purchasing power is formidable and growing. By 2030, women in North America alone are expected to stand in control of $33.5 trillion." Let's help more women run for political office, elect more women, and work to create a healthy, sustainable world for everyone.
Look! There is hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. That light is you.
1. Silverstein, Michael J., and Kate Sayre. "The Female Economy." Harvard Business ReviewSeptember (2009): n. pag. Https://hbr.org/2009/09/the-female-economy. Web.
2. Abramson, Alexis. “Women Over 50 Are Shaping America's Political Destiny.” Huffington Post, 12 Nov. 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com/alexis-abramson-phd/women-over-50-are-