“I will not just live my life. I will not just spend my life. I will invest my life.” -Helen Keller-
In celebrating women’s history this month, there are countless of great women who’ve made significant impacts in our society. During Biblical times and throughout the middle ages, women were considered inferior to men. Their main role and responsibility consisted of taking care of the family, doing house chores, raising the children among other tasks. Although women were considered inferior, second class citizens, looking back in history, there are plenty of examples of women rising above their male counterparts and making a great and positive impact within their community. Women fought for the right to vote, to own property, obtain an education and fought to receive equal opportunities as their male counter parts.
Today we are inspired by their tenacity, courage, confidence and ability to move our world to a better direction. Harriet Tubman in the mid 1800’s led hundreds of slaves to freedom via an underground railroad despite the dangerous risks associated with her endeavor. In her words, “I had reasoned this out of my mind, there were two things I had the right to: liberty and death. If I should not have one, I would have the other, for no man should take me alive.” Lucretia C. Mott was an American women’s rights activist, abolitionist and minister. As a result of her views and stance concerning anti-slavery she often received physical threats, which only fueled her determination and courage to stand for what she believed was right. She helped formed the Free Religious Association in 1867 and articulated, “The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because in the degradation of women the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source.” Helen Keller, one of the world’s most renowned humanitarian who overcame the adversity of being blind and deaf. Her life was dedicated to advocacy and activism which opened doors for people with disabilities. She was a vehicle of hope to those who had disabilities and to all who dare to dream and succeed. In her words, “I will not just live my life. I will not just spend my life. I will invest my life.”
Madam C. J. Walker was a great African American woman of commerce who started a business selling cosmetic and hair products. According to the book, “Her Story: A timeline of the Women Who Changed America”, by Charlotte S. Waiman and Jill S. Tietjen, she is identified as the first self made African American female millionaire. Another admirable woman, Sojourner Truth was a civil rights’ and women’s rights activist. As a child she was sold into slavery, but despite her harsh challenges she triumph and became a women’s advocate and poet. In her poem, “A’int I A Woman?,” she expressed, “…And ain’t I a woman? That little man in black there say a woman can’t have as much rights as a man cause Christ wasn’t a woman…. If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down, all alone together women ought to be able to turn it right side up again.”
Ladies, it’s our time! There is countless number of women from all facets of life and backgrounds, who have struggled, fought, persevered and triumph above the obstacles that were set before them, yet they were able to empower and transform the world. For the remaining period of this month I implore you to look deep within yourself and think about how you’re going to leave a lasting impression on your community, better yet this world. If the women above could do it, so can you. There is nothing stopping you. The world is awaiting your lasting contribution.