I recently said that I know for sure that when my grandchildren ask me what I stood for to secure their future, I’ll be able to hold my head up high and look them in the eye and know that I took a stand, every day, in my years of conscious awareness, to stand for a future world that would be a safe place for them to live in.
Today I stand for non-violence. I actively volunteer for women’s rights organisations and groups that stand for an end to gender based violence. I’ve always been for peace and for human rights. In a society where the word feminism is considered suspect and something of the past, I became a feminist in my teens, always aware that women deserve to be treated equally to men. I’ve stood for human rights, dignity, respect, fairness and potential.
I always wonder if what I do is enough to secure this future? If I’m raising my two children to be sufficiently respect these fundamentals as they make their way in the world. They are boy children and so I speak to them about abuse, I talk to them about self respect and the respect of another. I behave in an empowered way and give them a role model of a strong, self sufficient African woman.
When they were babies, I would read them stories penned by African authors about African children. And I actively sourced story books written by non-African writers about black children, about mixed race couples, about a world where not everyone was a princess or a prince with blonde hair and blue eyes. Where the women and girls in the stories where not waiting to be rescued by males as they sat around as damsels in distress.
I wanted them to see themselves reflected in the world. I knew that we couldn’t escape the racially and culturally biased fairy tales because they are an institution at pre-schools and I knew their pre-school teachers would read these to them. I was never under any illusion that the prevalence of female teachers would not plant stereotypical seeds in their little minds. And I stood for giving them a diverse view of the world - a view that would allow them to challenge the stereotypes from their own reality.
And I still do that today, because we have social problems that can’t be addressed through paying lip service to issues like abuse only when there is a celebrity or high profile person involved. Women in abusive relationships get killed every day. I want my children and grand children to know every life is important and every human being deserves to be treated fairly. And that it starts with taking a stand on important issues, deciding what value and worth you have and then giving that to the world.
I know my blogs are always around the same theme, and I’ll stand up and say, you can never say it enough, you can never live it enough and you can never embody it enough. Because it’s all about us as a people and the life of respect, dignity and self worth we choose to create for ourselves as well as all those who live in this world. So my invitation to you is to be brave, be courageous, and be the person you want to see in others. Take a stand! What do you stand for?