By: Cindy Kynard
“Go for what you deserve, not just for what you can win”
Truth telling! When I walked into the Ellevate Mobilize Women Summit I was excited. As a new member, I’d already been swept up into the intoxicating warmth of like-minded ladies across all professional paths. I expected the magic of instant community to explode amongst the hundreds convening that day.
And I wasn’t disappointed. What I didn’t expect was how purposeful the messages would be. Inspiring us into reflective self-actualization was the norm. But this was literally about how to go beyond thoughtful voyeurism into how we can make a movement!
As a black woman who remembers Gil Scott Heron’s “the revolution will not be televised” and (passively) contributes to the “revolution will be streamed,” this was a call to action. A call made more poignant as I heard my story from others who did not look, or live like me. We could all relate, as women, struggling to be heard in our own way on our own terms.
It was clear the Summit brought us together to relate on our truths. And this panel of activists — Bev Gooden of #WhyIStayed, Emily Ladau, Disability Rights Activist, and DeRay McKesson, Civil Rights Activist — led in discussion by Susan Chira, Editor in Chief of the Marshall Project, was just that, a truth telling to level up our voices, not only for protest but clear goals and solutions.
How do we turn impulse into action? Move from being an empathetic witness or victim into victor?
DeRay brought it home for me best when he shared that public battles aren’t publicized. The larger struggles are amongst a community whom you don’t typically notice or hear. And so one success is never enough to rewrite history and move forward. The way to get noticed and be heard in protest is to collectively take your truths with you and go for the urgent vision of what you deserve, not just what you can (easily) win. Inherent, is understanding you deserve more than you ask.
No more underselling myself, making small asks or thinking “it’s just me” so it’s not important. It’s sharing my truth unapologetically, inspiring others to do the same, knowing that our vision for better, helps everyone.
Often, activism isn’t the revolutionary battles we imagine. It’s the shift from inner to outer dialogue, effort to connect others on the same, and movement to achieve a clear goal.
So, armed with the energy and call to actions of the day, I will go for not just what I deserve but what we, my fellow tribe of sisters, deserve. A platform to be heard, an audience to listen and an action to follow and get it done!
Previously published on www.ellevatenetwork.com.