“I have talked so much in the past few days that sometimes I feel like I might have used up all my words and I’ll never speak again. And then I hear someone say something really stupid and I can barely keep myself from snapping in two.” Emma González from Harpers Bazaar. February 26th, 2018.
Our topic for today is “Your Favorite Childhood Hero”. For some inexplicable reason I wrote on this topic back in January of this year. I must admit though that being off a month or two is not all that unusual for me these days. So I’ll just chalk it up to the vapors of early dementia perhaps and rather write on my current heroine.
That would be the 18-year-old dynamic self-identified bisexual woman of Cuban heritage, Emma González. The opening quote of this piece is from an article Emma wrote for Harper’s Bazaar in late February of this year just a few short weeks after the deadly shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland Florida where she is a student.
That this woman is someone to be paid attention to and emulated was further cemented yesterday at the Washington D.C. March For Our Lives. She held the podium for a few short minutes and the last four of which were in total silence with tears rolling down her cheeks. Leading over 800,000 thousand Americans in 2018 in four minutes of reflective silence is powerful medicine indeed that must be reckoned with.
There were many moving and heart-wrenching speeches yesterday, including a few here in Denver. I’ll admit it may be a sign of my own poorly evolved sense of “identity politics” but the fact that Emma identifies as bisexual has me attracted to her and her bravery even more strongly – no apologies.
The vile and psychotic vitriol being directed her way from the slimy corners of right wing nutville is only further proof for me that she is totally right-on in calling bullshit. Attempts to photo-shop her tearing up a copy of the Constitution is so desperate as to be truly pathetic. It is a doctored photo taken by Teen Vogue where Emma is holding and then tearing up a shooting range target. It is hard to pull off this crap in this day and age of instant response and in particular trying to smear a woman with 1.44 million twitter followers as of March 23rd, 2018.
I attended and participated in Denver’s March For Our Lives yesterday in Denver. As with the recent Women’s and Immigrant Rights Marches I have found these events to be very invigorating and they do seem to be prompting me to get off my ass a bit more. Yesterday’s event in particular seemed to be a great example of “intersectionality” finally becoming part of the overall progressive movement though much work needs to occur for this to become an actualized reality.
Intersectionality is a relatively new concept to me, admittedly a bit late to get on the bus here, and I think to many since it has yet to make it into my spell check. It is defined though as: “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage: through an awareness of intersectionality, we can better acknowledge and ground the differences among us.” Credit for this concept and analysis goes to a woman named Kimberle Crenshaw an African American civil rights activist and academic who developed it in the late 1980’s. She is currently a professor at UCLA.
I have been impressed with many of the MSD High School student activists urging the mainstream press to talk with kids of color from urban areas where gun violence is endemic and a 24/7 daily fact of life. The intersectionality of race, class, gender and so often gun violence is so striking as to be beyond doubt.
The diversity of people and their often-poignant signs at yesterday’s march were ample evidence of the reality and power of intersectionality. Let me close with my favorite sign from yesterday as proof positive that we are all in this together. A woman a few feet ahead of me in the march was carrying a sign that read: “If I put a gun in my uterus will you regulate it then”.
That women’s reproductive rights and health are so ardently regulated and guns are not is truly bullshit.