By, Joy Rose
Last week Mindy Stokes sent me a link to an MP3 radio broadcast of her The Clothesline Project, which brings awareness and voice to the virtually taboo topic of domestic violence. Whether praising Eve Ensler’s work, or citing other feisty feminists like dear ole’Gloria, one thing is clear – there is still much work to be done.
March is Women’s History Month and March 8th was International Women’s Day, a time for hope, activism and personal empowerment. Since 82% of the female population will go on to have children, events like these must also mark the value and importance of mothers and the work they do.
Exhibits like Alexia Nye Jackson’s, ‘Mother The Job‘, encourage us to actively evaluate the hidden costs of parenting, and ask questions like; how do we, as a nation, provide health care, maternity leave, paid parental leave, breast feeding and childcare at the workplace? Dylan Bocanegra’s work, newly mounted in the M.O.M. lobby, focuses on mother activists like Maria Shriver and Elizabeth Taylor.
Promoting the health, wellbeing, information, education and connection for individuals and collectives around the area of mother studies and family, benefits everyone. To that end, ongoing groups, researchers, activists, artists, thought-leaders, social change-makers, like Jill Starishevsky write books that empower our children to know and understand the phrase ‘My Body Belongs To Me‘. Jill is a child abuse and sex crimes prosecutor in the Bronx, NY, and is doing her best every day to inform and educate families on their rights, and children on how to be self-aware enough to protect themselves from these crimes.
Women in business and the newly formed Women’s High NETwork have been gathering at the Museum Of Motherhood (M.O.M.), in New York City each month for incubator groups focused on personal, financial and social good. This month we move to Donnetta Campbell’s ‘Wings Of Change‘ event in Stamford on the evening of March 29th. (Some seats are still available if you want to mingle with a business-savvy, movers and shakers in the Connecticut/New York area). I’ll even be speaking that day, on the subject of the ‘Value Of A Woman’ in the afternoon.
At the M.O.M. space we talk about hyper-local activism, working with people like owner/Gymboree Franchisee, Debra Whitefield and Barry Hanson, about the importance of exercise and body-arts awareness from a young age. Their commitment to teaching children how to interact through healthful activities reverberates throughout communities in Manhattan, Long Island and more. Their model for engagement permeates the museum, as children and families engage in dialogue, interactive play and education, before toddling off to the Gymboree space around the corner on First Avenue and Eighty Fourth St., where activities progress to a higher level of coordination and music-play from infancy on.
Learning to understand our bodies and minds in healthy ways from an early age, helps to empower us as adults. As we move through March and celebrate women in history, with events like Amy Simon’s play ‘She’s History‘, coming to the Museum Of MotherhoodTheatre on Saturday, March 31st, let’s take time to acknowledge the people who are making history in their own ways, by doing good work everyday. I am personally grateful to each of them.