Believing in the full social, political, and economic quality of women, which is what the dictionary says "feminism" means, is enough to make a revolution in itself.
- Gloria Steinem
Some people think about joining revolutions. Others start them. And American women, it seems, are ready to ignite enough revolutionary flames -- large and small -- to set the whole world on fire.
On Saturday, April 28th, the Unite Women March, will take place in every state across America. This incredible event is happening because two extraordinarily ordinary working women got mad about a lot of things, especially how women are being treated in this country. Instead of just complaining on the phone to each other and letting their passions fade away right there, they started something that is no less than revolutionary.
Karen Teegarden from Michigan and Desiree Jordan from New York, women who first connected in 2008 on President Obama's Facebook page and then met at the Jon Stewart "Regain Your Sanity Rally," decided that the craziness had to stop.
In a recent interview, Karen told me:
The evening of February 18th we (she and Desiree Jordan) spoke and vented about the personhood amendment, trans-vaginal ultrasounds and candidates threatening to ban contraception.
We were astonished that no one was taking to the streets.
As we were hanging up, Desi said "we should do it... build it and they will come". An hour later, I did it. I created a Facebook group "Organizing Against The War On Women". I posted it to my wall and messaged Desi with the link and asked her to do the same. The rest is herstory.
And now women ARE taking to the streets... in droves. In a recent article, I wrote that something really changed this spring. Women started to become more vocal about their deep dissatisfaction with the blatant inequities that exist between men and women. And we are threatening to demonstrate our might with votes this fall. Leaders started to listen, vying for our attention. But, that's not enough. We want to be heard loud and clear, and we want true action, not empty promises. We want America to know that "enough is enough."
When I asked Desiree Jordan what caused her to move her anger to action, and co-found UniteWomen.org, she said this:
If I had to pinpoint the moment in time when this movement sparked inside me, I would say, it was the moment that Sandra Fluke was denied a basic right to do what I consider to be intrinsically American and exercise her right to free speech. I have two daughters, and the shock of the message to that brave young woman -- you are not equipped to testify on health issues that concern all American women -- caused something deep inside me to snap. Not a crazy "snap" like a dry twig sort of snap, but it was more like a quiet resolute kind of "snap".
In that moment, I was so offended, incensed, and insulted as an American woman, that I made up my mind in that minute that I had to do something... anything... to get my voice heard.
So I called Karen. I said many things that night, but all I know is I relayed to Karen that if it meant that the only thing we could do was create that Facebook page, then I would have done something to support what I believed to be the "core American values" and basic human rights -- dignity, respect and equality.
Within days the Facebook page had gone viral, and now UniteWomen.org is being viewed as the glue that is bringing women -- regardless of race, religion, political orientation, age or economic status -- together to tell our government and leaders that we have had enough of being used and abused for everyone's political gain except our own.
Two mad women, a chance meeting, a phone call, a Facebook page and a little bit of hope, is all it took to get this revolutionary ball rolling. While Karen and Desiree may have ignited the spark, we can support them -- and each other -- by joining the Unite Women March and Rally on Saturday, April 28th. For many women, the simple act of showing up to have their voices heard will be downright rebellious, if not revolutionary, and I plan to be among them as one of the speakers at the event in New York City. Join me, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, actress Martha Plimpton, activist Shelby Knox and many others as we take to the streets and say "enough is enough!"
Click here to find the location of the Unite Women March in your state.
* * *
Barbara Hannah Grufferman is the President of Best of Everything Media, Inc., author of "The Best of Everything After 50", a guide to positive aging, and is at work on her second book, "Fifty Rules" which will be published in late 2012. Visit www.bestofeverythingafter50.com for more tips on living your best life after 50. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.