Titles are important. Not the honorific kinds of titles, but the way you name things—books, businesses, initiatives. A title that shows itself precise, generous and exact is Jesmyn Ward’s memoir, “Men We Reaped.” With a heavy nod to that book, its title and sentiment, our theme for the month is “The Women We’ve Reaped.”
During the month of October, we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, while we also recognize the ways and instances we’ve not celebrated girls. With that, what we’ve reaped is a world where the wonders of girlhood are snuffed out before most women have an opportunity to experience them. Our resistance work over the past couple years has taught us one of most significant things born from our exploration with girls (and women) is, in fact, resistance.
What is girlhood? One woman we interviewed said: “Girlhood is exploration. Girlhood is joyful, expansion. Girlhood is colorful. Full of daydreams and adventures. People telling you that you can do anything in the world. It’s beauty. Girlhood is knowing the power of “no” and asking how a million times. Being inquisitive.”
This world offers her, in return, barriers to the freedom she is said to be promised by birth. She is consistently denied an opportunity to grow. Yet, she rebels and grows in spite of the blocked sun, the denied water and poisoned soil given. She grows. We grow.
As we think about celebrations, let’s consider reaping freedom. Another interviewee offers: “Being free means a lot to me because right now, I’m in a time of darkness. A cage. I’m scared and afraid. If only they can just light me properly, you know? Then I can explore. I can be free. I can live where I want to be, and be who I’m meant to be.” Let’s fly.