As you can probably tell from all the reposts, I’m really disappointed in myself for not starting this project sooner this year or coming up with a better plan for year two. For those of you still reading, I’d love to hear your feedback for next year and how I can do this better/differently.
Part of my truth is that I’m exhausted. Exhausted from reading the news every day, exhausted from feeling keenly aware of microaggressions in my own life and not knowing what the fuck to do about them. Sure, I gave my Lyft driver one star last night for asking me where my boyfriend was, but did I do any more action on that besides send an angry midnight tweet? Also last night, did I speak up when the strangers I met at a holiday party made two casually racist statements in a 10 minute conversation? Especially when the woman in question has a career in law enforcement? I feel I don’t even have the right to be upset over this because I failed. The world is going to shit because I’m not doing my part.
I’m still going to finish this project this year. I can’t wallow in my own failure. I can revisit these organizations and reread the work that they’re doing and be inspired to do a better job. Mainly this year, I just want to thank them. Because they are doing harder work than I’ve ever done in my life and they have to be 18,000x more exhausted than I ever have been.
Red State: Louisiana
Focus: Women’s Rights
Created by and for women of color, WWAV is a social justice non-profit that addresses issues faced by women within our community and region. Major areas of focus include Sex Worker Rights, Drug Policy Reform, HIV Positive Women’s Advocacy, and Reproductive Justice outreach.
I knew I wanted to find a women’s rights organization in Louisiana after reading an article from late November in which a female state legislator had to point out that it’s offensive to have boob and vagina joke cakes (with accompanying Ron Burgundy level comments) in the break room at the State House (go figure). I was overjoyed to find one as focused as Women With a Vision. This is just one organization in Louisiana whose core work addresses so many of the issues I’m highlighting this month:
- Women’s Health Education, Promotion & Advocacy
- Harm Reduction, Overdose Prevention & Drug Policy Reform
- HIV/AIDS & STI Prevention & Education
- Gender-Based Violence Prevention
- Sex Worker Advocacy
- LGBTQ Advocacy
- Civic Engagement
And of course the biggest drive behind this project was my belief that true change can come from within communities, the best solutions from people who have borne witness to problems firsthand. WWAV does all that and reading the vision, goodness, isn’t this what we all want:
We envision an environment in which there is no war against women’s bodies, in which women have spaces to come together and share their stories, in which women are empowered to make decisions concerning their own bodies and lives, and in which women have the necessary support to realize their hopes, dreams, and full potential.