Finding our Voice Again

With attendance numbers topping three million, the inaugural Women’s March held in January of 2017 was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. Celebrating the power of women, this peaceful movement grew quickly to advocate legislation and policies for all human rights. This year, the marches took place again throughout the world and closer to home in Kalamazoo.  Friends, sisters, grandmothers and daughters; all ages of women finding their voice again after too long.

Most young women today have little understanding of the battles their mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers fought throughout history in an attempt for equal footing, or even just a step in the right direction for equal rights. While quite young, I had the pleasure of seeing feminism explode wide open with the actions of activists like Gloria Steinem. But somewhere along the way, the movement lost its way—pushed aside to make room for Barbie dolls and castles in the girls’ toy aisle at the department store.

And then our country became politically polarized to an extreme not seen in decades.

If nothing else, the rise of extremist viewpoints also gave a voice to a segment of the population that thought status quo was good enough. Women are again standing up and finding their voice.

H and SAnd girl, this time the world is listening.

Change often comes when the voice of many find a common cause. The #MeToo movement started with the courageous stand taken by a group of women in Hollywood—a change that has grown to include all occupations and situations involving sexual harassment. While the Time’s Up movement has resulted in career casualties and will no doubt bring more, it is the unavoidable consequence of a swinging pendulum that will bring real change for young women today and tomorrow.

During the telecast of this year’s Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey received the annual Cecil B. Demille Award for lifetime achievement. She gave a powerful acceptance speech, and wrapped up with the following…

…I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again.”

~~ Heidi McCrary





Why I Will Still Visit North Carolina

(And every other state that has done something stupid)

North Carolina is making news recently for enacting a law that includes a mandate that transgender people must use public restrooms that correspond to their gender at birth – and known in the media as the Bathroom Law.

Along with the social media frenzy that has justifiably jumped on the law for being discriminatory, unwarranted and simply wrong, celebrities, including Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Michael Moore have cancelled appearances in the state. Many more powerful business leaders have followed suit, calling for a boycott of the state.

While I understand the passion behind taking such a stance, I am not a fan of boycotting as a way of showing political strength or outrage. While I certainly do not agree with the Bathroom Law, I can’t imagine avoiding the state because of a law I do not agree with. I would much rather stand in protest with those in the state who disagree (And there are many), rather than stand across the state line, shaking my head.

Can you really look at the state you’re living in and say all is right with the world? In Michigan, Governor Snyder is currently trying to distance himself from the catastrophe in the city of Flint where his own staff members created an ugly water crisis that resulted in the entire city’s water being contaminated with heavy dosages of lead. It is a horrible situation resulting in many people calling for the governor’s impeachment.

While our current governing body does not reflect my political or moral beliefs, I am relieved that the nation is not singling Michigan out as a state to avoid when planning this year’s summer vacation. And I don’t believe Michael Moore has talked about leaving our great state. What’s the difference, Michael?

Michigan is a beautiful state with unfortunately, real problems – problems that cannot be fixed by moving away and staying away. So while I understand the passion behind the current boycotting of North Carolina, I would rather see people stand beside those in the state who are fighting for people’s rights, and fighting for positive change. Along with many beautiful people, I hear that North Carolina has some pretty awesome parks and brew pubs. Maybe I need to change my vacation plans…

 Heidi McCrary / Author