For the first time in 40 years, women will gather in Detroit for the Women's Convention. And it's going to be one powerful weekend.

Organized by the team behind Women's March, the convention will bring together nearly 4,000 women, femmes, and allies for a weekend of presentations, workshops, and movement building toward systemic change.

According to the event site, "Participants will leave inspired and motivated, with new connections, skills and strategies for working towards collective liberation for women of all races, ethnicities, ages, disabilities, sexual identities, gender expressions, immigration statuses, religious faiths, and economic statuses."


It's a weekend about empowerment. It's a weekend about unity and uplifting women and femmes around the globe. It's a weekend about change.

Which is why it was a shame, at least in my opinion, that the event's opening speakers included Rose McGowan.

Photo by Rena Laverty/AFP/Getty Images.

McGowan is one of the dozens of brave women who've come forward to accuse movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault.

The actions of these women jump-started an outpouring of support for victims everywhere and prompted a real conversation on the prevailing rape culture in our systems and institutions.

Her speech had buzzwords. It had tweetable quotes. It included a raised fist. It had Katniss Everdeen-like moments of strength and grit.

"I came to be a voice for all of us who've been told we are nothing," McGowan told the crowd."For all of us who have been looked down on. For all of us who have been grabbed by the motherf***ing p***y."

She went on to add, "The scarlet letter is theirs, it is not ours. We are pure, we are strong, we are brave and we will fight. "

On the surface, there is nothing wrong with her speech. And yet, I am left wanting and wondering.

I commend McGowan and everyone who had the courage to speak out. The system is created to silence and diminish women, especially survivors of sexual violence. Their bravery can not be understated. But before we can join together, before we can unite in the fight against system sexism, it's imperative to recognize that as women and femmes, our journeys are not the same.

Women of color, women with disabilities, women in the LGBTQ community, women of faith, and those who intersect all of these identities face the additional burdens of racism, ableism, homophobia, and religious traditions that may prevent them from speaking out, calling out their perpetrator, or naming their shame.

Women and femmes navigating these intersections can't afford to be silent (and join McGowan's Oct. 13 Twitter boycott for instance) as they're voices have been systematically diminished, silenced, and ignored for centuries. The day of McGowan's shortsighted boycott, many women of color not only stayed online, but spoke even louder, like the incomparable Jamilah Lemieux.

Writer April Reign even held a #WOCAffirmationDay instead, allowing women of color to create space to celebrate themselves in a world that would rather they not.

Women like Jemele Hill and Leslie Jones had their names driven through the mud and their character attacked and on Twitter no less. Where was their rallying cry? Where were the powerful white women, their fists high in the air, having their back?

Leslie Jones on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for NBC.

So yes, McGowan's words were powerful. And anyone who joins her efforts to support and empower women is doing crucial work. But it's vital to remember everyone who was left behind.

The Women's Convention is sure to be a stand-out event, with or without McGowan's brief speech and panel appearance. I hope other presenters like Rosa Clemente, Vilissa Thompson, Monica Lewis-Patrick get similar media coverage for their ongoing work in the struggle.

As for McGowan, who has found herself (by design or by default) the leader of this effort, I hope she makes a concerted effort to signal boost the work of women and femmes of diverse backgrounds. That's the army of action and compassion we need to make real change.

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

Former President George W. Bush and current president Donald Trump may both be Republicans but they have contrasting views when it comes to immigration.

Trump has been one of the most anti-immigrant presidents of recent memory. His Administration separated undocumented families at the border, placed bans on travelers from majority-Muslim countries, and he's proudly proclaimed, "Our country is full."

George W. Bush's legacy on immigration is a bit more nuanced. He ended catch-and-release and called for heightened security at the U.S.-Mexico border, but he also championed an immigration bill that created a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people.

Unfortunately, that bill did not pass.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less

Roland Pollard and his 4-year-old daughter Jayden have been doing cheer and tumbling stunts together since Jayden could walk. When you see videos of their skills, the level of commitment is apparent—as is the supportive relationship this daddy has with his daughter.

Pollard, a former competitive cheerleader and cheer coach, told In The Know that he didn't expect Jayden to catch on to her flying skills at age 3, but she did. He said he never pressures her to perform stunts and that she enjoys it. And as a viral video of Jayden almost falling during a stunt shows, excelling at a skill requires good teaching—something Pollard appears to have mastered.

Keep Reading Show less