We Have Been Here, We Are Here, and We Will Stay Here

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Photo and graphic by Micaela Adams

Photo and graphic by Micaela Adams

By Heather Jones

Women. To be honest, this is sometimes a loaded word. Men. To be honest again, this can sometimes be a loaded word … but not usually like the word women. Women are the bearers of life, but yet we are sometimes not seen in the life of the world. Not truly. But we are here.

Freedom is almost always a loaded word. People died trying to get it and people have died trying to defend it. And yet, we are all still here.

Women worked tirelessly throughout the course of history to earn our freedom—freedom to just be ourselves and freedom to participate in the world. Courageous women stood up and said “We have been here. We are here. We will stay here.”

Whether identified in history textbooks or not, they brought us to 2015. They made each and every living woman on Earth freer to be her true self than ever before. We must build on this legacy to stay here.

The constant vigilance of women like Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Ida B. Wells, Septima P. Clark, and Rosa Parks brought us here. They fought for our right to vote, to gain access to education, to teach people to read, and to throw off the ties that bind us.

To a greater extent than ever before, we can be and do what we choose. We can and we will. We are here.

Many women in my life helped me to realize the gift of womanhood: my mother, my two grandmothers, my aunts, my female cousins, and countless faithful friends and mentors. We support and love each other by pushing each other to be the best version of ourselves possible—the essence of freedom.

The plethora of amazing women who we see every day astounds me.

By addressing issues of great importance every time that she appears on MSNBC, my hero Melissa Harris-Perry challenges us all to look beyond ourselves. In her book, Sister Citizen, she encourages all of us to see Black women as unique individuals and to abandon the historical tropes that define them. And that matters.

A force to be reckoned with in the literary world, Chimimanda Ngozi-Adichie practices storytelling at its finest. Within a month, I devoured all three of her novels, lost in the beauty of the worlds that she created. She inspired me to improve my own writing. And that matters.

With a constant flow of positivity in her music, India Arie makes my life better. I can turn to her for joy whenever I need a pick me up in life. She makes me believe we can all be ‘Better People’. And that matters.

Through her amazing lens of humor and honesty, Luvvie Ajayi brightens my world. She makes me laugh regularly, motivates me to be more active in my social justice walk, and brings things to light that need to be discussed. And that matters.

By taking an idea and turning it into a movement — Because of Them We Can — that we can all be proud, Eunique Jones-Gibson moved me to do something great with my talents. And that matters.

These women do amazing things with the freedoms that others fought and bled to achieve. What will you do with your freedom? Find your passions and support your fellow women around the world.

I will continue working on my writing, talking with people about issues related to social justice and systemic racism, and remaining faithful to the people who I love. In your own way, join me.

Our awesomeness depends on it.

We have Been Here. We Are Here. We Will Stay Here. And that matters.

Beyonce – I Was Here
Direct Link: http://youtu.be/rLLzkLO8Sh4