A Women’s History Month blog from EBASE ED Kate O’Hara.
Since my daughter was born five years ago, I’ve become increasingly aware that the issues of low-wage workers are women’s issues. From equal and decent pay to affordable childcare to paid family leave to predictable schedules, there is an unequal distribution of resources and support for low-wage women and mothers – the overwhelming majority of whom are people of color.
However, I have been lucky enough to work with so many fierce women warriors and mothers who are standing up and shifting our economy into something which values everyone’s identity, dignity, and contributions.
Young moms like Urban Peace Movement leader Rayna Smith, who lost her mom to gun violence, is raising her two year old daughter in a community of youth activists committed to peace and justice.
Fearless women like fast food worker Guadalupe Salazar, who has courageously stood up against nasty bosses despite the risk of retaliation and deportations.
Bold leaders like ironworker Joyce Guy, who broke the mold on your typical construction worker, and helped build the Bay Bridge. She now supports local workers access good-paying construction careers through the West Oakland Job Resource Center.
Experienced fighters like Communities for a Better Environment leader Esther Goolsby, who reminds me that organizing is as much about our connection with each other as it is about achieving the task at hand.
Like these women, I know that fighting for justice is like caring for kids: it is a marathon and not a sprint. Being an organizer has made me a better parent and being a mom has made a better organizer. I can juggle more tasks into fewer hours. Dealing with developers was good prep for negotiating with a toddler. And tracking kids’ potty training resembles tracking turn out for actions (although I drew the line at using oversized butcher papers for this.)
But more important than that, the reality is that both care-taking and organizing are rooted in an intense love for those around us. Both push me to be present, to listen well, to meet others where they are, and to keep my heart soft.
As a feminist, I believe in the radical idea that women are people, and that we all deserve a quality of life, dignity on the job, and respect in the community. I’m thankful this Women’s History Month to honor a powerful legacy of women warriors who are creating a world in which we can all live and thrive.
EBASE Executive Director