Speak Out: How I Am Helping Make My Country Great, and How My Country is Making Me Greater

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When I started this blog, Gracefully Global, I meant it as an evolving study on how to be a traveler, gracefully.  That is, to cherish and respect the cultures that we come upon as we learn about and interact with the world through our traveling ways.  Somehow, the political turmoil of this month has felt like a big slap in the face for many of us who value other cultures and exploration, no matter what our political identity.  In the face of the daily barrage of political news and the persistently changing landscape of our government, I almost feel like I should be cutting up my passport and never leaving my house again.

Luckily my passport is still intact, as, surprisingly, I’ve experienced some major positives as an outcome of the events over the last few weeks that I never would have seen coming.  Two positives, in particular, are keeping me motivated and steadfast in my beliefs and in working to maintain my optimism for whats to come.  So I’d like to share them with you.

I feel connected.

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Marching together and writing postcards together! The fight continues. 🙂

The fact that I am writing this post now is a testament to the higher engagement I’ve experienced online and in person over the last few weeks, connecting with friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike.  Not to say all of the connections have been positive, but they have all certainly been illuminating.  Life somehow feels more interesting when you delve down a bit deeper to what makes each other tick, doesn’t it?  And with connection, and a deeper understanding, it seems the sky is the limit on what could happen next.

The standout occasion for this connectedness was, of course, the women’s march, an incredible wash of positive energy, and a unique, historical moment of togetherness.  Peaceful and optimistic, women of all shapes, sizes, ages, religions, politics, you name it.  We were all there, and even better, we all seem to agree on the quality of this experience.  I made a video about our experience at the San Diego march.

And the connectedness continues.  I read a Vogue article about advocacy that I immediately trivialized as being too “beginner” in its advice.  But really, it was perfect.  It suggested that we organize groups of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to work together on political advocacy goals.  I don’t know why I originally thought of the article as overly simplistic.  A few hours saturated with of frustrating political news later was all it took to change that thought, as I was fired up and the Vogue article suddenly seemed genius.  I reached out to some friends, and we’ve already had our first meeting!

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My college roomie holding up her stack of postcards.

The friends that agreed to participate in these meetings are the women from each of my life’s major adventures that have stood out as the no-nonsense, powerful, empathetic, energetic, intelligent people that made life feel better.  We met in a cozy, neighborhood café in San Diego.  There were a few new faces, friends of friends, who I was thrilled to welcome.  We enjoyed our food, and rolled up our sleeves and started writing Women’s March postcards to our political representatives.  We cracked jokes and strategised.  Laughed and shouted (the café staff were really patient with us, thankfully).  It was exactly what we needed, after starting the evening feeling rather helpless and overwhelmed, politically, and each leaving that evening with a stack of postcards covered in the ink of our thoughts and concerns, and addressed to each of our political representatives. If meeting together these ten times for the 10 Actions/100 Days movement serves only to give me a bellyache from a good laugh and some updates from my favorite people, then so be it.  That would still be a win in my book.  And, ironically, the action for the current 10 Days is forming huddles, just as we have done, which we realized on the night of our meeting.

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Writing postcards to our political reps!

The other equally significant outcome of this rollercoaster of a month is something that I never saw coming:

I feel comfortable calling myself a feminist again.  

As much as I’ve changed as a person over the last few decades, I’m realizing that I really haven’t changed that much.  I’m still that gal that took gender studies my freshman year of college, and started making my own t-shirts in the first versions of Photoshop with whatever deep feminist theory was on my mind at the time.  Which I wore to the annual feminist theatre production I produced at UCSD.  As I’ve increased in age, I’ve learned to “tone in down.”

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My beloved godmother. Let’s just say, this wasn’t even close to being her first march.

I can’t put my finger on exactly what caused my current change of heart. I surmise that Hillary, Pantsuit Nation, and our participation in the largest protest on American soil – a women’s march – has something to do with it.  I hope that feminism can now achieve for politics what it once was criticized for not achieving for itself: bringing together women of every background, united in our quest for ethically minded government leadership.

That’s the lemonade I’ve managed to squeeze so far, and I’m expecting a lot more of it to come.  So I hope to have many other positives to share, soon, as well as more reports from our meetings!  In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you.  Have you felt more connected, more feminist, or anything else that is personally positive?  Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

I wrote this piece to join others in the WordPress hosted conversation, Speak Out.

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My wonderful friend Lindsay, who made the trip to Washington.

 

28 responses to “Speak Out: How I Am Helping Make My Country Great, and How My Country is Making Me Greater

  1. An amazing story Peggy.
    I don’t ever think we should underestimate the power of one or a few.
    I love a quote that goes along the lines of ‘if you think one doesn’t matter, remember the power of that one mosquito in your bedroom.’
    Keep inspiring us all Peggy.
    🌹🌹from Di

  2. Love this post Peggy and so glad that living in Italy you are still being a strong advocate! It would be so easy to push it all away. Yes I too am a huge advocate and always have been. I’m glad that our voice seems to be making a difference! Keep speaking out!

    • Thank you Nicole!! :)) Today it doesn’t feel like our voice makes a difference, but I guess that’s where the next elections come in. If our reps aren’t willing to hear our concerns and reflect them in their votes, then we’ll have to find new reps that do. 😉 I’m actually in San Diego for the winter break! I don’t have any tours to lead in Italy over the winter, so it works out perfectly because I can spend time with family and be warm in Southern CA during the winter. I’m excited – I have a group both in San Diego and in my small hometown of El Centro. And a friend of mine started a non-profit that helps young people run for office. Lots of positive things happening. What are you up to with your advocacy other than your great work on your blog?

      • Wow that is awesome you can be at home! I am still working a lot with ONE.org (I advocate with the women and girls initiative) and also I set up a separate email account for all the other organizations as I was starting to get overwhelmed. Climate is very important as is human rights. I am hoping that this muslim ban stuff gets overturned because it would really send a strong message that our voices matter and we will stand up and fight! Would love to learn more of the non-profit your friend started. Will you write about it?

      • Hi Nicole! Thanks for this update, and PLEASE forgive my slow response. For some reason I am the slowest with my blog responses, and I need to fix that! One.org…I will check them out. Thanks for that. I agree – climate and humanitarian issues are so important. Honestly, I get overwhelmed too. So many important causes and not enough time. I will send you a tweet from my friend’s org. They are doing great on twitter, so I actually check in with them everyday because they keep me motivated about the potential for change. 🙂 https://www.runforsomething.net/

  3. What an inspiring post and initiative! I work in the field that related to the refugees and immigrants. The march has inspired and encouraged us to stay stronger and maintain the solidarity among each other. Every single act does matter. Thank you!

    • Oh I’m so glad to hear that…Keep up your wonderful work, and know that there are many people behind you! My work is trying to help those people find their voice so they can make it known that they support what you’re doing when you need it most.

  4. First of all….will you take a look at that face!…Perfection! The wild feminist in your pic (the little one!) Adorable. And I never use that word!

    What I find interesting is how the word ‘feminist’ has been dragged through the mud so much over the decades it is now spat at women as a slur. Not even sure how it happened. How it was allowed so many interpretations that nobody seems to remember what it stands for. In any case I’m glad that you have taken it up again and used it to do great things. What a great story.
    I don’t know where you live in the US (and for now I won’t browse your blog as I would normally to preserve the old eyes!) but I’d like to introduce you to this lady who is going on much the same journey as you… just to say hi and The Ed sent you…I dunno, could be good, even as just a new blog friend.

    https://inthewrongboots.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/personal-challenge-1-activism-in-the-wake-of-a-trump-presidency/comment-page-1/#comment-846

    • I just read her post and commented! Looking forward to following her, thanks so much for that. More and more in these days I’m appreciating connecting with progressive women. Thanks too for your thoughts about feminism…I agree, it is really a huge bummer what the word has become. But I’m optimistic that things are changing! I’m looking forward to the women’s strike on March 8! 🙂 Anyway, I’m glad you are looking out for your eyes. Please continue to get healthy!

      • Don’t be a stranger so I can keep up with your story. I’m really interested in where it takes you. I don’t even try to keep up with email notifications as there’s too many!

      • Ok!! I have the same problem, though…I travel for a living, and I can never seem to keep up with my blog when I’m on the road. Even though it is the most gratifying of my platforms. I am getting a bit better working it into my routine, though, so I’m hoping to be better about staying in touch. 🙂

      • Ha! I know right! – I have my ways though!

        When my eyes are 100% I’ll come and rifle through your blog as I have many questions such as: assuming that lovely little creature is your daughter how do you cope with her and constant travel?..Just lots of things that a simple browse would answer – plus I love looking at people’s travels pics. Lol, I’ll get there.

      • I hope your eyes get better soon so you can go back to your curious ways! :)) No, she isn’t my daughter, but isn’t she a love? She was just with a woman in the women’s march. I love how this has been bringing us all together! :))

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