For several months the phrase “Just a Girl” has been floating in and around my brain, and around my website. I don’t know why it’s been there, but it’s been there and I have to tell you I fucking hate that word “Just”. Women are not “Just” anything. Women are the bringers of life. Without women humanity wouldn’t exist.
From the beginning of time women have been lucky enough to be born into an amazing sisterhood. We may not all agree, we may have different political views or whatever but we women are connected in a way that men can never understand. We are blessed like that. Even if we do not always recognize it.
When a woman sees another woman crying on the street, she will inevitably ask if you are okay, she will offer you a handkerchief perhaps a hug, maybe she might suggest some tea and a talk. It’s just the way we are – now granted not all women would stop but most of us I like to think would. Because we as women all have had those moments when we look up at the sky and say fuck it and let the tears fall…at least once in our life times we’ve all done this.
The other day I reached out to seven of my favorite women, and asked them each to nominate 1 woman that they happen to find particularly inspiring, wise, strong, or kind. I asked them to nominate a woman that they feel are changing their corner of the world, one mission, one inspiring task at a time.
Several women were nominated, including women I know personally. As I was sewing the seeds of this project I began to cry a little bit, because some of these women have done amazing things that very few people know about. I would like to introduce you to some of these women today. I have created some artwork to honor these women, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did making it. I will over time add to this post because there are so many women who are doing amazing things today.
I’d like to note that this is not the final piece of this project, but instead just one small part.
Bora Kisongo is a stunningly beautiful woman inside and out. She was nominated because she tweeted this quote out the day that we started this project. That very phrase reminds me that as a woman no truer words could ever have been said. For most of us we are the bringers of life. We are in a very real and tangible way, as women a part of the circle of life. No matter how far science gets it will never match the power of a woman. So for that Ms. Kisongo I thank you so very much for reminding us how amazing women are with only thirteen words.
Barinder Rasode has been a family friend for more years than I can count. When a young woman named Maple Batalia was brutally murdered by her abusive boyfriend Barinder took up the mic almost as loudly as Ms. Batalia’s mother. Barinder is only one of the founding members of an organization called “She Talks.” She Talks is an event that happens across the lower mainland bringing women from all walks of life together. Having been to a more than a few events I admire the women who have the courage to get up on stage and share their stories – I’ve cried, I’ve laughed….I’ve even had to quietly escape because these women and the strength that they display can be overwhelming. Yet Barinder and the rest of the Amazing She Talks team stands strong refusing to hide in fear and shame any longer. Barinder on a personal note, thank you for all that you do. For never giving up and for always standing for those who cannot stand for themselves.
I met Jen several years ago – and I can’t even remember how I met her. I do remember however that the youth group she works with came to my office to speak with my youth. The group in question is of course “Youth 4 a change” it’s an LGBTQ Support group. But more than that it’s a group of youth who are now training the next generation of LGTBQ youth on how to host conversations on LGTBQ safety in the workplace. These youth are tirelessly inspiring each other and their communities to create safe spaces through education and activism. Jen is someone I often call “mom”. When the world seems like it’s closing in and I feel like I’m going to break down she’s whom I call. She’s been there at three am while I was stuck in the snow with no way to get home. Not only does Jen work with At Risk Youth, she’s a professor, mother, friend, lesbian wife, bad ass, and she also one of the founding members of SheTalks an amazing organization that helps women learn to raise their voices, and share their stories.
Michelle Li is kinda sorta famous. If you live in Seattle you might know her from King5 news. If you don’t know Michelle you should know how hard it was to find a photo of her where she wasn’t smiling. Michelle was nominated because of her kindness. Michelle isn’t just a reporter, or even a brand. She’s a woman, a teacher, an inspiration, a mother and a friend. If you follow her on Twitter she’ll engage with you and converse. Michelle refuses to not be kind. She lives her life as if the world where what it should be to show it what it can be, and if you’ve read anything in my blog you know how much I think that matters. So thank you Michelle Li, for all that you do.
Kim Rhodes (and no Kim it wasn’t me who nominated you so hush it woman) is amazing. Nevermind that it’s because of her I chose to go and have my breasts checked, but more importantly because she’s one half of the “Wayward AF” creative team. WAF reminds women all over the globe that we are not alone. That we stand together, work together, and teach each other. She also happens to kill aliens, zombies and vampires while simultaneously traveling through time and saving the world on a weekly basis. When she’s not busy doing that she’s raising husband and children while reminding hollywood that she’s the only female character to survive Supernatural on a regular basis. Her’s is the only character that’s a woman who hasn’t been killed. (Yet! Don’t even think about it Kripke – We WILL revolt) So Kim, for all that you do…We thank you.
Jonquil Hallgate is my mom and she’s insane. I love her more than life. She’s my best friend, my confidant and another of my life long hero’s. When I was 18 years old my mom ended up in a wheelchair due to anklinglosingspondelitus. Which basically means that she has arthritis of the spine. Most people would have given up. Instead it is in spite of the chair that Jonquil was able to find her voice and her life mission. Jonquil began volunteering with the homeless and impoverished of Surrey, British Columbia. She became an advocate for those who could not speak for themselves. If you ask anyone who is homeless or who has ever needed her help, they will tell you she’s simply known as “mom”. I love you mom and I am so proud of the woman you are…even if you drive me nuts. For all that you have done, will do, and continue to do every day, we thank you. I love you.
Created by a woman known only as “Kate” Whores of Yore is changing the world one tweet at atme. I love this woman. For centuries women have been taught and told to be ashamed of their bodies, of their sexuality. We have been taught that boobs are not for feeding our babies, but instead something to be ashamed of. We’ve been taught that everything about our naked form is sexual – we as women have been sexualized by men. Whores of Yore, tells you to fuck that noise. She is amazing in her strength and her desire to change the way that men and women look at sex,and sexuality. She proudly shares 15th, 16th, 17th and soon generations of pornography. Proving that humans are sexual creatures and rather than be ashamed of that we should embrace it, revel in it, and enjoy the hell out of it. So for everything you do, we thank you Kate. We love you.
Rachel Thompson. Many of you know this woman and if you don’t you should. She’s a social media rockstar. She doesn’t make videos but she is changing lives. Every Tuesday Rachel helps to host #SexualAbuseChat. Now I admit I’ve stayed away from this chat because it can be triggering, however I’ve also met some amazing women through Rachel. I’ve been inspired, I’ve been schooled, I’ve been proud and happy and sad and heart broken and loved because Rachel helped me. She helped me to find my voice and she didn’t even know she was doing it. I am lucky enough to call her friend, even though she’s kinda famous and even though she’s super popular she’s always there when I need to talk. When I need to rant and when I feel like giving up. She is the true definition of friend, hero, rockstar and big sister. Rachel I know I’m not the only one who thinks this about you because I didn’t nominate you. So thank you. For all that you have done for me and others around the globe, we thank you.
Not by any means last, nor least is the beautiful and amazing Nigerian Canadian Poet Titilope Sonuga. Her voice brings me to a time long forgotten. With a sound of well aged whiskey and melted butter mixed with the tiniest drop of toffee Titilope reminds us how powerful the female spirit is. Her poetry takes me back to Nigeria, to Africa. It washes over me, like sinking into an ocean of comfort. When I hear her voice speak, when I hear her words I feel within me a rising power that I had long ago forgotten existed. Her voice is the reminder that all women are connected. That we will fight to take back our night, that we will connect with each other no matter our race, our color, our size, our nationality, our orientation. She takes pride in being a woman and she reminds me on a daily basis just thinking about her words how special the female spirit, the female connection truly is. By the end of this project you will understand how much of her existance, of her soul, inspired this entire project. So I thank you from the bottom of my heart, for raising your voice, sharing it with the world. For taking up the fight to inspire young women. I see great things in your future and I hope that one day I can hug you close and say thank you in person. For all that you do, we thank you.
As I stated above this project is by no means complete not yet, but it’s getting there. I just want to say thank you to everyone who nominated these ladies (and the others that I’ve not yet had a chance to add.) There are more coming. It is truly exciting to see all these women, most of whom have never met or spoken to each other before. Just amazing women doing amazing work, in all corners of the globe.
Now it’s your turn!
I want to read stories about women. I am now in my 30s and again because of the abuse I suffered it took me a very long time to meet other women who understood me, or women who were even willing to understand me.
So I took it upon myself to create “Just A Girl” a project devoted to sharing stories of amazing women who although maybe not famous, are doing phenomenal things in their communities that are leaving behind life long legacies.
So here’s what I’m asking you to do now. Write a post or create a piece of art showcasing the women in your lives that are helping to make the world a better place.
They might not be members of the U.N. and they may not be celebrities, but the work they are doing matters.
Blost post must be at minimum 500-1000 words.
Blog Tags MUST include “Sisterhood Sunday” and “#JustAgirl”
Use the basic WWWWWH! “Who” “What” “Where” “When” “Why” and “How”.
Who are they? What are they doing that is inspiring? Where are they from? When do they did they start? Why are they motivated to do the work they do? How do they do it?
All of these things are important when telling a good story, especially when it’s about a real person.
Try if you are able to add a photo of the person you’re writing about but please keep personal details out if possible.
Good luck! I cannot wait to see what you all come up with for #SisterhoodSunday
With all my love,