Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ordinary women on Main Streets across America are a lot like MLK. They have gone to extraordinary lengths to advance human progress, sometimes on a very public stage, sometimes in private meetings; often with success, sometimes dusting themselves off to speak another day.
Mainstreet Women I interviewed have spoken out and stood up for justice in innummerable ways:
- Beth (MS) led efforts to get a Foster Parents Bill of Rights passed into law
- Diane (NM) threw herself at barricades, protesting the Vietnam War and advocating for civil rights
- Heidi (MT) persistently called her Governor’s Office until a townhall meeting happened to stop a mining company from setting up operations near Yellowstone National Park
- Donna (TX) stood up for staff in a law firm, sometimes backing lawyers down the hall with two fingers on their chests
- Elizabeth (NC) advocates for her daughter with a learning disability, facing education system challenges and “experts”
- Cyndi (NE) and Cindy (NJ) both stood up for their young children, leaving violently abusive husbands so that their children could have better lives
- KC (WA) spoke out about embezzlement in an organization
- Mary (MD) and Mary (NV) both advocate for vulnerable people, getting policies passed and giving voice to the voiceless
- Kris (NH) led get out the vote efforts and advocates for her own son with a learning challenge
- Jennifer (NE) met with the Governor to advocate against defunding the state’s Women’s Commission
- Alyson (WI) speaks out for low-paid dancers who bring joy to audiences
This list could go on — Mainstreet Women stand against ‘bullies’ and speak for future generations — the majority of Mainstreet Women have taken steps in quiet and loud ways toward the goal of justice.
“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.” Lily Tomlin
In honor of Martin Luther King Day, a huge THANK YOU to Mainstreet Women (and Men too), the somebodies who keep our country whole, who struggle and sacrifice daily. Thank you for speaking out and standing up to create a better world.
A MLK Day challenge for everyday heroines (& heroes):
Remember times you’ve been most successful at speaking out and standing up, what made that possible?
Has there been something burning in your soul that you haven’t spoken out about recently? What’s one step you could take, starting today?
What would happen if you told one young person each month about how you’ve spoken out and stood up, how you learned to do that, and how you felt regardless of the outcome?
Here’s to more Main Street courage!
My best, Jone