Revolution #229, April 15, 2011

Letter from a high school Revolution Books volunteer:

My Experience selling International Women's Day t-shirts at school

The idea had been raised of selling the International Women's Day t-shirts at school for the bookstore. I agreed with the idea, thinking it a cool way to fundraise. At the time, I had no idea of the impact this would have not only on me, but my school as a community.

I had sold $100 worth of t-shirts in a week. Throughout the week, people had come up to me and asked, "Are you the one selling the t-shirts?" Word had flown about like wildfire as more began to wear the shirts. I had fellow progressive friends publicizing, practically being my salesman! It was a unifying feeling for a mostly girl occupied school. People had begun to talk.

Without my encouragement, dialogue had been ignited. My whole group of friends started talking on the issue of abortion. Watching this intense conversation develop, I was quickly satisfied. The t-shirts were a success. It had allowed students to start to think about global issues, themselves as women, and their roles in society.

As for myself, the whole process was an intimate one. People regarded me as a feminist, which I felt was accurate because of this experience. Not only was I learning the history of women, but modern women of today, as I engaged with my peers. I had been in heated discussions on the topic of abortion and women's equality before, but never on this level.

It was an eye-opening experience. My "customers" acknowledged the progress women have made over time, but what I have learned is that the battle is not yet over. The sexism that still remains must be abolished. And this awareness is the ideal that has been revived once again.


I wrote this poem for the celebration of IWD 2011:

Declare it, Repeat it, Say it: I am a Woman.
These hands, worn and calloused
ache from threads, steam, and back breaking sweat
as I bend over machines, for petty wages each day:
I am a Woman.
Decaying in my flesh
these burnings persist, as dowries are paid
exploited by money grubbing motives.
I am a Woman.
Devalued as a bitch or a whore,
crestfallen by broken dreams, as I'm paid less than the rest...
I am a Woman.
Tainted, unwanted at birth, sold in a sex slave trade, abused and placed in fear, I am a woman.
This chronic disease of subordination and discrimination is alive and at work.
I am a Woman.
Reading, Writing, Educating the future generations,
Fighting for the suffrage movement with my head held high,
speaking to you with pride, integrity and dignity,
Campaigning for elections, as growing leaders of the future,
Liberating thyself and sparking others to defy
the chains that shrouds and strips
what it really means to be a woman.


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