I know politics may not be your thing but let me introduce you to Senator Stephanie Flowers. Senator Flowers gave a passionate speech about Arkansas’ “stand your ground law” on March 8, 2019, and that speech went viral! Her passion, presence, and in your face, truth has set Women’s History Month on fire, and I’m going to tell you why? But before we get into that let’s dive into the making of Women’s History Month.
I know it's hard for some of our younger generations to imagine a time when women weren’t celebrated. With movements like black girl magic, black girls rock, and prominent role models like Michelle Obama, Viola Davis, Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi, Regina King, Marsai Martin, and countless others you could easily believe that it has always been this way, but that is not true.
Check your history y’all. Not too long ago women did not have basic rights like the right to own property, claim money earned, or the right to vote. Holding elected positions was also a no go. We must never forget that on a national level woman had no legal right to vote until 1920! It would take 60 years for women to turn out to the polls in the same numbers as men.
Prior to 1980 we have a rich history, and a long lineage of courageous women like Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and countless others who fearlessly led a movement for women and women of color. Those community, state, and national efforts provided the necessary fuel to shine a light on women’s rights and our contributions to society. Without those efforts there would be no National Women’s History Project, no Women's History week, or Women's History month.
From that lineage The National Women's History Project (NWHP) was born. The NWHP is non-profit organization based out of Santa Rosa, CA. The NWHP honors and preserves women's history. Their grassroots efforts created national impact when former President Jimmy Carter established March 2-8, 1980 as National Women's History week. Pleased but not satisfied, the NWHP continued by leading a coalition that successfully lobbied Congress to designate March as Women's History Month in 1987.
With that brief history lesson here’s why Senator Flowers is our auntie, our fighter, our voice in politics during this moment in Women’s History.
When Senator Flower shared her concerns about the “stand your ground law” during the Senate committee debate the Committee Chair asked Senator Flowers to stop talking. She replied, “What are you going to do, shoot me?” Silence is a common theme when others do not want to hear the truth. I’m sure others wanted Senator Flowers to stop talking but she didn’t. She continued, and because of her fearlessness, I am left with a renewed sense of purpose and gratitude, with the way she stood her ground, no pun intended.
FEARLESS WHILE SHARING HER FEARS
Senator Flowers spoke candidly about her personal fears and fears about her son and little black boys and girls. She told the Senate committee, “You don’t have to worry about your children. … I worry about my son, and I worry about other little black boys and girls. And people coming into my neighborhood, into my city, saying they have open-carry rights walking down in front of my doggone office in front of the courthouse.” Her candor and vulnerability caused us all to sit up and pay attention because we could relate.
SERVICE TO OTHERS
Senator Flowers is no stranger to serving others whether it’s in the justice system or politics. She is a practicing attorney who served in the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2004. In 2010 she was elected to the Senate. In her position as Senator, mother, and an African-American female Senator Flowers boldly stood up for herself and black boys and girls who are adversary affected by laws like “stand your ground”. When challenged she simply said you will not silence me.
Yes, we have come a long way. But we still have work to do. Now is the time that we must use our greatest power, our voice because silence is no longer an option or a request that we can grant when so much is at stake.