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LadyFest GR 2017 is about dialogue and action

This Saturday, May 20 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Public Library Main Branch we will convene a series of pressing dialogues about the issues impacting the lives of women and girls locally and nationally.

LadyFest GR May 20 11AM-3PM

Free event at the Grand Rapids Public Library Main Branch on Library Street.

For the longest time, social justice work felt like a calling. I felt compelled to tell my story to further debunk the myth that domestic violence looked the same and that the bruises that once covered my body were because of my own actions and not the actions of my abuser. I felt compelled to voice my anger at institutions that explicitly stated they would protect me and failed at every major turning point in a period where I was most vulnerable. I was angered that my story was not an anomaly, but the rule. I was intimately aware of how many women die at the hands of men who, more often than not, are not held accountable for their actions. I was devastated by the reality that when black women fight, we are murdered without recourse. I felt emptiness when stumbling upon the idea that The Handmaids Tale was less of a dystopian fiction and resonated because it felt more like a reflection of a present day reality.

I AM PISSED because we see a social landscape that reduces women to cattle value in certain spaces and the object of particular abuse in others. I see mothers in Grand Rapids stand up as their children are targeted by police ask the government to hold that which it controls accountable with no response. I see women keep their heads down for the sake of survival working within institutions where their decision to speak up sparks a domino effect leading to their miraculous unemployment and a financial violence aimed at teaching them a lesson.

I see girls being socialized to respect authority without being taught the critical elements that prevent those with power from leveraging the right to abuse them. I see women being penalized for bringing life into the world through an evolution of family leave and healthcare policies that further dictate the choices women make in how they live a life.

I AM TIRED of the reality that to be a mother is a privilege reserved for people that can afford childcare, people that do not identify as LGBTQ, people that are not the recipients of systemic violence because of race or immigration status or religious belief.

I AM READY to fight back against intolerance so pervasive it endangers the most innocent among us. I am ready to arm girls with the information they need to fight back and the tools and resources they need to do it.

I WILL RESIST all calls to cooperate with mandates that legalize oppression. I will resist the desire to quit fighting and instead build a circle where the drum can be passed so our words are not lost and our resistance does not miss a beat.

These are the commitments I’ve made to myself, my kitchen table and the girls whose lives are affected by any decision I make to not act in lieu of this commitment.

In 2013, I established women reVamped as a space for the narratives of women and girls to be shared and elevated because we believe their stories are important and more often than not, forgotten. Since then we have convened women and girls for crucial conversations about issues impacting their lives across the country and now we move to more actively motivating women to stand up and act.

This Saturday, May 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Public Library Main Branch we will convene a series of pressing dialogues about the issues impacting the lives of women and girls locally and nationally. As we officially debut LadyFest Grand Rapids since our decision to take it over, we intend to make this the first of many actions we take to ensure that society does not move backwards as it relates to issues directly impacting the lives of women and girls. For more information regarding LadyFest, check out our website and follow us on Facebook.

LadyFest GR 2017 is free and open to the public.

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