Celebrating Women ~ Lead, Love & Create Change
It’s Women’s History Month and March 8 is International Women’s Day. People around the world are standing in solidarity for women’s equality.
March 8 is also my Mama’s birthday so I celebrated this day long before I knew that it had international status. The fact that it’s my Mama’s birthday makes it pretty easy for me to acknowledge how important women are to our very existence. A verse from a Yoruba Sacred text says,
Give respect to women then. Indeed, it is woman who brought us into being. Before we became recognized as human beings.
On this day, I’m remembering that ordinary women create extraordinary change. This year I’m extending my gratitude to the women of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted from December 1955 – December 1956. For one year, Blacks refused to accept the inhumanity of riding segregated buses. Most of them relied on buses to get to work. Thus, their refusal speaks to their commitment to a greater vision.
Most of us know about the courageous Ms. Rosa Parks, an iconic warrior for justice in this effort. Many of us don’t know about Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, President of the Women’s Political Council; Claudette Colvin, a teenager who was arrested for refusing to relinquish her seat for a White passenger in March of 1955; and the many women domestic workers who were essential in spearheading and coordinating this effort.
This group of ordinary women used their exceptional leadership ability for the good of many.
A group of women moved the needle toward political, legal and social change.
A group of women very much like my mother and my grandmothers stood for every person’s right to be treated with dignity and respect.
This was one of many times in history when Black women created change that uplifted human rights. The American Civil Rights movement is full of examples. Historians have ventured to answer the question, “Why were Black women so involved in the movement?”
Answers to this question can help us all grow in our roles as leaders and change agents. In their book, Shining Thread of Hope: The History Of Black Women In America, Hine and Thompson reviewed four qualities of Black women active in the Civil Rights movement. Life In 4-Part Harmony action steps that we can implement to energize our leadership abilities are listed following each quality.
Quality: Black women believed that everyone had a right to freedom, dignity, joy, opportunity for growth, and free and clear access to explore and experience the good life has to offer.
Truth Action Steps: Define your values. Connect your goals and activities to your values and make a commitment to stand for human dignity in your work.
Quality: Black women were skilled organizers with a long history of involvement in church and community work.
Order Action Steps: Map out your steps. Organize your resources. Plan for the most efficient use of your resources.
Quality: Black women worked cooperatively with each other.
Balance Action Steps: Recognize when it’s time to replenish or supplement your resources, including your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy. Know when to ask for help and when to offer help. Identify how your strengths and challenges may work in a complementary way with other’s strengths and challenges.
Quality: Black women were not concerned about who got credit for bus desegregation or other outcomes that supported justice for all.
Reciprocity Action Steps: Work for the good of the whole. Recognize that when your team, family, customers or others in your network benefit, you win too. Create change that outlives you.
Like the women of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, we can lead with our hearts and let our love for humanity ignite the flame that sustains us as agents of change. Like my mother and your mother, we can create the space and open the way for others to be their best in the world.
The Living Source is dedicated to uplifting women who uplift their purpose, families, communities and the world. If you need support, contact us. We are here to help you sustain the energy and focus you need to leave the world better than when you found it.
Click this link to download your free copy of our EBook, “Plug In To The Power Of You”. You get a checklist to take your energy pulse and strategies to develop a plan for bringing your best to what matters most to you.
© Sandra Y. Lewis