Last year I attended Fem 2.0’s conference and was inspired to write a poem. See below. It is included in my new book That Which Awakens Me: A Creative Woman’s Poetic Memoir of Self-Discovery (available on Amazon.com –http://tiny.cc/7uFsg ). That Which Awakens Me also includes a chapter about my reflections on feminism and womanism. Enjoy!
At A Crossroads of Awakening
Copyright 2009 by Madelyn C. Leeke
Inspired by the Fem 2.0 Conference held at George Washington
University on February 2, 2009, and African American artist
Meta Warwick Fuller’s sculpture, Ethiopia (1921)
We are at a crossroads.
It is off ering us a grand opportunity filled with great
One that can bring us into a new day that gracefully unfolds
into a new tomorrow and future.
It is happening everywhere.
Can you see it?
Can you feel it?
Do you want to be a part of it?
Whether we know it or not, we are manifesting the words
of our very own American artist sistalove Meta Vaux Warrick
Fuller: “awakening, gradually unwinding the bandages of [our]
past and looking out on life again, expectant but unafraid.”
The bandages we are unwinding are complex layers of identities
that include our ethnic groups, socioeconomic classes,
educational backgrounds, professions, places of residence,
sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and political beliefs.
Many of us wear an array of t-shirts that mark us as feminists,
womanists, pro-choicers, right to lifers, democrats, republicans,
green party members, socialists, communists, independents,
conservatives, progressives, and middle of the roaders.
Our labels of identity have often created barriers to our
growth, coalition-building, understanding, and affirmation as
Despite the differences, our identities make us who we are.
They give us individual and collective meaning.
They must be valued, understood, respected, and affirmed.
With all that said, I am left with a question:
How do we awaken and unwind the bandages from the barriers
of the past that created exclusion and misunderstanding?
The answers for those of us who are connecting online reveal
themselves a little each day as we interact with social media
tools that have the capacity to expand our quilt of sisterhood.
When we tell and document our stories, seek support and
advice, educate and train, create and share content, advocate
for common causes, launch businesses and nonprofit
organizations, market and sell products and services, express
our creativity, and engage in dialogue on our blogs, Twitter,
Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, and other social networking
and bookmarking sites, we give ourselves the opportunity to
learn more about each other.
Our learning efforts can open the door to ways we can honor,
promote, and practice diversity, tolerance for a difference
of opinion, self-care, compassion, patience, acceptance,
mindfulness, loving kindness, and forgiveness.
It all begins with our choice.
If we choose to do the work of understanding whowe are
and what we believe and want, and seek out common interests
without imposing our own strong wills, agendas, beliefs, and
branding strategies, we can usher in a much-needed paradigm
shift that creates space for our right brain to jump the broom
and marry our left brain so that our power, passion, and
purpose as women are aligned in strategic ways that give birth
to new ways of being, communicating, and working together.
Are we ready to awaken and fully unwind the bandages of our
Are we ready to look out on life again, expectant but unafraid
of manifesting a shared destiny of common interests while
affirming and maintaining our separate identities and causes?
These questions are rhetorical.
We already know the answer.
We are smart, capable, and talented women.
So let’s walk past the crossroads and make what we know a