As I reflect back on these two years since the birth of Powergirldance, I recognize my Mother, Patricia, as my most powerful source of inspiration and strength. I have memories of my feminist Mom in the mid 70's, being outspoken on many fronts, including civil rights and a woman's right to choose, but most notably in the arena of women (or lack thereof) in politics. I remember her favorite t-shirt, it was bright yellow and had the words emblazoned on the front- A woman's place is in the House... and on the back- and the Senate.
These were controversial words back then considering women couldn't obtain credit cards in their own names or attend ivy league universities.
As a single mother of three and very little college education, my Mom, an artist by hobby, started her own business as a fabric artist and supplemented her start up by taking up a job as a teacher's assistant. These were unsettling times for us, her not having a steady income and at times not having quite enough to pay rent or provide us with a warm meal. Nevertheless, she enthusiastically encouraged all three of us to pursue our interests and when I wanted to take up ballet, she found the means to support me, driving me to ballet classes and rehearsals sometimes upwards to six days a week. For this sacrifice, I am tremendously grateful to her for helping me pursue what would become my amazing career onstage with Pacific Northwest Ballet and the opportunity to travel the world. Not only did she allow me to dream big, but she strongly modeled what it would take to make it through the toughest of times, providing invaluable lessons in fortitude, grit and perseverance, gifts that only the toughest of obstacles can provide us.
On this Mother's Day, I wonder what my Mom would've thought about the #MeToo Movement that culminated this year. I am curious as to what her story (stories) were? A big supporter of Anita Hill back in 1991, I can only imagine how proud she would have been witnessing all of us women, coming together, demanding respect and equality collectively. Similar to the sewing of one of her intricate quilts, our experiences as young girls and women weave a feminine textile in which we are all a part, moving forward, generating the chain piecing with an unspoken understanding that there would be no continuum without the thread and the fabric preceding us. My Mom, one of those vibrant threads, would be delighted with the rising up of women and girls in this era of #MeToo and the Resistance, hopeful in knowing that this generation of young girls is AWAKE as they contribute to the onerous textile for future female generations.
Other than the #MeToo Movement, 2017 was a BIG year for women... the Women's March became the largest single day protest in US history, "Nevertheless she persisted" became a catchphrase, Viola Davis became the first black actress to win an Oscar, Emmy AND Tony, the 'Fearless Girl' statue showed her bold self on Wall Street as a message protesting companies to place women on their board of directors and 'Wonder Woman' became the highest grossing film ever. As of today, there are currently 84 women in the House and 107 in Congress. Just this past Tuesday in the primary congressional districts, women won 63 percent of the vote, Democrats and Republicans combined. I think it's about time for all of us men and women to be sporting a bright t-shirt that reads, A woman's place is in the House, the Senate (and on the back) AND the Presidency. I know my Mom is wearing it somewhere.