If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.
- Zora Neale Hurston
When Freya Comes to Call
by Sheree Mack
Friday, she parks her chariot,
pulled by two black cats,
behind my Suzuki Splash,
and knocks at my door.
What will the neighbours think?
She stands there in all her glory;
long blond hair streaming over
a falcon-feathered cloak, wearing
nothing except an amber necklace.
Not even goosebumps.
She's sex on legs.
I daren't take her into the house.
Albert's in. He might not be able
to contain himself. So I keep it short.
What ya want?
Looking into her blue eyes, I recognise.
I'm pulled in. I hold my ground.
What ya want?
She smiles. All broad and teeth.
Not so much smug, more like
the cat that's had the cream,
cake and caviar.
I want you to be all of your parts, she says.
I notice number 22's blinds twitch.
What ya mean?
This Goddess might be able
to work her magic on men
but I'm not having it.
Then she touches me, gently.
Electricity surges through
her finger tips into me,
into my being.
A fire is lit inside my gut;
a mounting force.
I have to grab the doorframe
to steady myself.
I pull back. She's too much.
Too bold. Too in your face.
Be whole, she says. Open up to
your power. Breathe.
Her words echo within
my breathing, opening parts
I'd closed down and closed
off and kept in the dark.
Heat rises from my core.
Fiery light filters through my cracks.
All the time she holds my gaze.
And I hold hers. We're connected
and so very much alive.
I get an urge to moan and dance.
To howl and create.
With a nod she rides off.
Closing the door, I lean against it.
I take a deep breath.
I exhale through a slightly
open mouth. A smiling mouth,
like a cat in cream, cake and
Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.
- Maya Angelou
2017 - Year of the Woman and Resistance
At the Peace Conference in Canada, in 2009, the Dalai Lama said, ‘The world will be saved by the Western Woman’. It was a call to action to women. Gradually through the years, women have been answering this call by claiming back their feminine wisdom and energy. Diving deep within themselves, spending time within their darkness, women have actively explored their shadows and lights in order to become whole, in order to accept themselves as they are. We are enough.
From this position of empowerment, women are now ready to raise their voices to save the world. Speaking up, calling out about injustices and inequalities to make this planet a better place not just for women, but for the whole human race.
"We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead."—Beyoncé
21 January 2017, one million women marched on Washington DC. World wide five million women showed their solidarity by marching on their major cities. On an unprecedented scale, women came to march, speak and make their voices heard in reaction to Donald Trumps' US presidency but more importantly, to make a stand against all the sexist, misogynistic, racist, homophobic, transphobic and intolerant policies and actions of this administration and around the world. For far too long women and other minority groups of people have received the message and treatment of not being worthy, of not being good enough, of being subordinate to men.
"I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own." —Audre Lorde
Capitalising on the momentum of the Women's March on Washington, 8 March, recognised as International Women's Day, this year will also mark 'A Day Without A Woman'.
On International Women's Day, March 8th, women and our allies will act together for equity, justice and the human rights of women, through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity. Taking on board criticism levelled at The Women's March, the organisation is working to be more intersectional across race, class, sex, gender and religion by supporting an International Women’s Strike, intimated by feminists of colour and grassroots groups.
In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women's March, together we will mark the day by recognising the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system--while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.
Three courses of action have been stipulated for anyone anywhere to demonstrate their solidarity with this strike:
1.Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor
2. Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).
3. Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman
It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent. - Madeleine Albright
bell hooks, a feminist of colour, activist and author who has always explored the overlapping systems of exploitation and oppression between racism, classism, and sexism, has argued recently that there are many people throughout the world who hates and fears empowered women. Patriarchy, with Trump at the helm in this case of reference, has reinstated its power through oppressing, silencing and killing many people who feel they have no voice. Who they believe are worthless.
The solution hooks advocates is for feminism to rise again as a political movement. This happens though education and a raising of our consciousnesses. This politicisation of the self starts with going within. Being critical of ourselves but also accepting ourselves as we are. Realising that each and everyone of us is powerful. Our power lies within.
Today, women are demonstrating how they are reclaiming their power, not for selfish reasons, but to improve the lives and situations for everyone in society.
A feminist is anyone who recognises the equality and full humanity of women and men - Gloria Steinem
By the very fact that women are standing together across racial, religious, gender, sexuality lines is a historical period. Resistance is no longer a choice, but is a necessity. The continued rape and abuse of women around the world. The deportation of refugees and asylum seekers. The refusal to offer asylum to u accompanied children. The overturning of LGBT rights. Rolling back of transsexual people's rights. Limiting access to disability allowance. The increase of patient abuse within care. The closing of hospital units, libraries, children's play groups. To have governments and people in position of power with no empathy. The list of injustices, oppressions, inequalities and hate crimes against humanity goes on.
And for those that cannot speak, for those who continue to be persecuted, marginalised and disenfranchised, women will march, speak and shout for them. Speaking and sharing our stories, not remaining silent, connects us. Breaks down the walls of ignorance and hate. It just so happens that women are the instigators of this revolution.
Connecting on a human level means people start to care and start working together to make a difference.
Hear My Roar
by Sheree Mack
secretly i know my name is wild
my true authentic self awakes
after being drugged duped
tied down to please others
to make them comfortable
this is the sound of my voice
listen can you hear it
smooth and chocolaty brown
rich + loud slow + easy
wise + self-confident
hear my roar hear my howl
coming from deep within
it is mine all mine
Dr. Sheree Mack is a writer and artist, with expertise in Black British Women's Poetry. She's currently working on a creative non-fiction novel as well as a poetry collection about Rewilding.