Meet a Marcher
Our marchers were busy -- or not busy as the case may be -- yesterday for A Day Without A Woman!
- A shout out to one of my very best friends, Anisa who spent her Day Without a Woman away from her normal job yesterday doing virtual lessons for kids in four classrooms around the country all about women in sustainability careers! She also lunched with another woman at a woman-owned restaurant, and the line was out the door. See the picture of Anisa (left) and me (right) above at the wedding of our friend Jenni, also a fellow marcher!
- Marquette and her daughter wore red! Way to raise a little feminist Marquette! (See above.)
- Meghan is also raising a little feminist! Her son wore red to school today! (See above.)
- Becky made microloans to women through Kiva.org. All loans made to women yesterday were matched by a donor. She says, "helping a woman get a toilet in her home halfway around the world is a good feeling."
- Linda wore red, refrained from shopping, and scattered love wherever she went.
- And I spent the day in my pajamas blogging! My husband took care of school dropoff, pickup, and everything else so I could line up all your seeds for next week while we're away on a much needed vacation! Fortunately I've got some seedy partners who've stepped up and are manning -- or womanning rather -- the site and social media accounts while I'm away!
Thanks to everyone who shared with us your seed scattering adventures! Keep us posted by posting your seeds on our Facebook page, emailing your stories and pics to firstname.lastname@example.org, or sending us an instagram or tweet @seedstoscatter!
Seed of Inspiration
Each Thursday, in honor of "Throwback Thursday" and Women's History Month, we'll bring you a biography of "seedy" women of history of whom it can be said: "nevertheless, she persisted."
The Mirabal Sisters (1924/27/35-1960)
The Dominican Republic of the 1950s was a totalitarian nightmare. Obsessively controlled by cruel dictator Rafael Trujillo — a man for whom no slight was too small, no grudge too big — the nation’s citizens quickly grew fearful of expressing any dissent. It was not until a group of sisters slapped Trujillo in the face (both literally and figuratively) that the nation finally found the courage to follow their example and oust the despot.
These women were the Mirabal sisters. And these re-sisters willingly gave their lives to end Trujillo’s.
The Mirabals were from a relatively well-to-do provincial family. The sisters — Minerva, Patria, Maria Teresa, and Dede — all went to Catholic boarding school, married good men, had children, went to church… in short, not obvious candidates for revolutionaries.
But Trujillo was a true monster. He used his secret police and extensive spy network to keep the nation’s eyes open and mouths shut. He owned or directly controlled much of the country’s most vital utilities — the radio, the mail, the press, the airlines, and the passport office. Those who spoke out against him often died in unexplained, brutal circumstances.
However, it was Trujillo’s vicious lust that pit him directly against the Mirabals. Throughout his reign, Trujillo employed scores of “beauty scouts” to scour the countryside for young girls — often very young — for him to romance, kidnap, and/or rape. One such mission resulted in him inviting forcing the Mirabals to come to one of his parties. Minerva soon realized that she was his target, and politely turned down his entreaties. When he forced the issue, she slapped him in the face, gathered her family, and got the hell out of dodge.
Thereafter, Minerva struggled as Trujillo personally toyed with her life. Despite being a brilliant student, upon starting her second year at law school, Minerva found she was barred from classes until she gave a public speech extolling Trujillo’s virtues. When she graduated years later — summa cum laude no less — the government denied her the license to practice law.
Minerva’s parents were not spared, either. Shortly after Minerva first refused Trujillo’s advances, her father was imprisoned. After a period of brutal treatment, he was released, only to die shortly thereafter. Some time later, Minerva and her mother, on a visit to the capitol of Santo Domingo, were kept as virtual prisoners in their hotel. Minerva learned that if she slept with Trujillo, they would be released. She refused. Eventually she and her mother escaped.
Gradually, Trujillo’s wrath also turned Patria, Maria Teresa, and their husbands into activists. With the Mirabal family finances ruined by Trujillo’s meddling, and the family’s every word monitored, the entire Mirabal clan were primed for transformation. The final push into all-out rebellion came after a failed attempt by exiled Dominicans to oust Trujillo. The Mirabals decided to continue the work. They distributed pamphlets against his racist and sexist ways, gathered materials for weapons, and even made makeshift bombs out of firecrackers around Minerva’s kitchen table. Collectively the three activist sisters became known by the codename Las Mariposas (the butterflies).
When their attempt to assassinate Trujillo at a 1960 cattle fair was exposed, the entire group was thrown in jail. Due to international pressure stemming from some of Trujillo’s dumber moves, the women were quickly released. When Trujillo’s political fortunes continued to worsen — despite all the male conspirators being imprisoned — he began to blame the Mirabal sisters for all his problems. And so he ordered them killed.
The assassination of the Mirabals was a clumsy, brutal affair. First, Trujillo transferred their jailed husbands to a remote jail that required travel across a mountain range. The three activist sisters knew this was a trap — their friends begged them not to visit their husbands — but they did so anyway. And true enough, when they did, secret police ambushed their jeep in the mountain pass. Knowing their ends were at hand, Patria ran to a nearby truck, told the driver who they were and that they were about to get killed, and to spread the word. The truck quickly sped off.
The three activist Mirabal sisters were killed shortly thereafter. The secret police strangled and beat them, then put them back into the jeep and threw it over a cliff, to make it look like an accident — despite clear fingerprints all over the vehicle, and the obvious trauma on the Mirabals’ bodies.
The Mirabals’ deaths served as a catalyst for overthrowing Trujillo — six months later, military leaders assassinated him. Although many factors were at play in Trujillo’s downfall, in the words of one historian, “the cowardly killing of three beautiful women in such a manner had greater effect on Dominicans than most of Trujillo’s other crimes… It did something to their machismo. They could never forgive Trujillo this crime.”
In the years following, the Mirabal sisters have become hallowed icons for the Dominican Republic. Dede — the sister who had not participated as actively, and survived Trujillo’s reign — raised her late sisters’ children, many of whom entered the government. Virtually all Dominican towns today bear some commemorative marker, school, or street bearing the names of the Mirabal sisters. Their home province was even renamed Hermanas Mirabal — an ironic inversion of Trujillo’s renaming the capitol city Ciudad Trujillo (a name that did not stick).
Gradually, their fame spread internationally. In 1994, novelist Julia Alvarez commemorated their story with her historical fiction novel In the Time of the Butterflies, which imagined much of the smaller details of their story that were lost to time. In 2001, the book was adapted into a movie of the same name starring Salma Hayek. And on every November 25th — the date of their assassination — the world celebrates the UN-designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, in their honor.
*Story adapted from rejectedprincesses.com
Seed of Action
#NoMore Week 2017
Domestic violence and sexual assault are real issues that impact us all. 1in 3 women will experience domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking from an intimate partner, and 1 in 6 men will be sexually abused. These are our marchers, our sisters, our brothers, our children, and our friends. This week, the No More Project is sponsoring No More week to raise awareness and funds to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. They have one message: NO MORE. There are so many seeds to choose from today; don't get overwhelmed -- just take a few minutes and choose one or more of the seeds below:
We don’t talk about these issues enough, and that’s part of the problem. This week, check in with your loved ones about their relationships (learn how). Help make our message louder by:
- Donate a Facebook post or Tweet and insert the tags #nomore and #seedstoscatter
- Start a convresation by wearing the NO MORE symbol, or by carrying a purple purse.
Domestic violence and sexual assault non-profits providing lifesaving services to survivors remain severely underfunded and under-resourced. But our support will make a BIG difference. Whether it’s a $5-10 donation or dropping off your old phones collecting dust at a shelter – every seed helps. Here are a few options:
- Our friends at Austin-based SAFE Place have an Amazon wish list, so with just a few clicks, you can have sippy cups or maxi pads sent to their door. If you live in the Austin area, they have a another wish list for donated items you can find in your home and drop off yourself. Or you can simply go to their site and donate any dollar amount, learn more about domestic violence, or contact them about volunteering
- If you don't live in the Austin area, find a domestic violence shelter near you that can support with your time or dollars by clicking here. Often shelters will accept your old phones because deactivated cell phones can always still call 911, so they often are given to women who cannot afford cell phones for their safety.
Join volunteers around the country and throughout the world in speaking out with a unified voice for change. Here are resources targeted to some particular groups:
- Teens: Become a That’s Not Cool Ambassador, and help educate your peers about digital dating abuse.
- Coaches: Become part of the Coaching Boys into Men program and teach your high school-aged athletes about the importance of respect and non-violence.
- Parents: Educate your young children about abuse. Ensure that the university your teen is attending (or could be attending in the future) is doing enough to prevent sexual assault on campus. Send an email to the college president now and take action.
- Health care professionals: Whether you’re a nurse, a doctor, a social worker, or advocate, we have a variety of resources to educate the community about the health impacts of domestic violence.
- College students: Educate yourself about the prevalence of sexual assault on your campus. Know your rights, and explore clubs and advocacy groups on campus to educate other students about the issue. Email your college president to ensue they’re doing enough to protect your safety.
- Educators: Visit our Start Strong toolkit to implement a school-based program that promotes healthy relationships for middle schoolers.
Given the size of our readership, we know that many of you reading this email are living in abusive situations. To get help in the Austin area, please call the 24/7 hotline (512) 267-SAFE. Outside the Austin area, call 1-800-799-7233 or go to www.thehotline.org to learn more about abuse or chat online.
We estimate that together we have scattered 14,562 seeds of love and action so far! Keep scattering! Keep marching!
Thank you so much for scattering seeds, submitting seeds, and sharing your seedy adventures with us! We couldn't do this without you!
I will have very limited acess to internet between now and March 18th, so please be patient if I do not respond to contacts between now and then.
And above all, scatter with love!