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?

[rebelmouse-image 19529919 dam="1" original_size="750x613" caption="Leslie Jones on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for NBC." expand=1]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.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

via Imgur

"Why does it sound like you're leaving?"

This article originally appeared on 05.25.19


In every relationship we'll ever have, there's going to be a final conversation. Before the digital age, these interactions were usually face-to-face or over the telephone and could only be recorded in our memories. But now, just about every relationship leaves a paper trail of text messages, social media interactions, and voice messages. Sometimes the final communication is a heated breakup, and other times, it's a casual interaction shortly before a person's death.

Now, there's a blog that collects these haunting final messages. The Last Message Received contains submissions of the last messages people received from ex-friends or ex-significant others as well as from deceased friends and relatives. Here are some of the blog's most haunting posts.

"My good friend's dad died around Thanksgiving. Two weeks later he drank himself to death."

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.