I woke up yesterday in a mood. Taking the day off would have been too much of a hassle, so I crawled out of bed, put on my favorite red dress, and shuffled to the subway.
On the train, I tried to count the number of women in red as they, too, made their way to jobs they couldn’t easily abandon. I thought of all the women whose jobs were essential and yet didn’t pay well, or didn’t allow them enough time away to take care of themselves or their loved ones. I thought of my own work that would just double if I chose to strike.
I was pleased to see that men as well as women were sporting the vivid color of the day when I arrived to the office. One of my ‘work wives’ texted our group to see if anyone wanted to grab coffee before we settled into our desks and routines. At first I was resolute. I replied that I wanted to avoid spending money, along with the black fist emoji. Solidarity.
She didn’t see my text, so she came by my desk and asked again. I buckled immediately. So much for solidarity! But I am only human. In that moment, freshly brewed coffee and a breakfast wrap sounded way better than the instant coffee and oatmeal packets I have stashed in my desk. But on our way to get our usual morning coffees, I briefly wondered if I would have broke as easily if I had lived during the Montgomery bus boycotts.
Montgomery was also on the forefront of Women’s March on Washington co-chair, Linda Sarsour’s, mind as well. I know this because spent my lunch hour at the Women’s Rally near Central Park. Ms. Sarsour reminded us of that particular boycott and other instances throughout history when those who had the most to lose were often on the front lines.
She reminded the swelling crowd that protesting never was and never will be convenient. She assured us that every little action matters to the movement as a whole. But I couldn’t help thinking that I should be doing more as I watched her and other protesters being arrested later on.
But I’ve been through this internal struggle before, and I know civil disobedience just isn’t my thing. I’m too afraid of what would become of my Black body after it’s thrown in the back of a cop car.
So I choose to resist in other ways. I speak up. At work, I advocated for more women on an upcoming panel I’m helping to plan. It took a while, but yesterday we secured two more women panelists. Now the male panelists don’t outnumber them so drastically.
I create. I share my story so that it may heal and uplift other Black women. I empower other women writers to perfect their craft by editing. I consume and share as much media by Black and brown artists as I can. Solidarity.
My activism isn’t perfect. It’s not civil disobedience. It’s not strikes. My activism is empowerment. My activism is speaking up for what’s right. It’s helping other women find their voices to do the same. And my activism is not limited to one day.