Feminist, Me?

August 31, 2009

God definitely works in mysterious ways, and when we get out of our own way, the real magic begins.

Last fall, as the country braced itself for an imminent recession, I brainstormed on new ways to bring in some more money. One was public speaking, something I did a lot more of before college and still enjoyed.

Shortly after, I got an email from Omega in upstate New York to come be a speaker at their big Women & Power conference in September 2009. I had been recommended by Marcia Gilespie, former EIC of Essence and Ms. Magazines who had taken me under her wing when i needed it the most. Away from my own mom and grandmom in a cold city, I found solace in her round smile and quick wit. A few days later a lady called to fill me in on the details, and we chatted, as I sat in the lobby of the nursing home my grandmother was staying in as she recovered from a fall.

Before she could barely get the words I agreed to be a part of a segment on young feminist today. With my threaded eye brows (beauty really can be a pain) and pearl earrings, I dont mind at all to be labeled a feminist, or any "ist" that's about equal rights for all people. . . .

I wrote an essay about my journey to feminism for the blog Feministing Here's a snippet:

I stumbled into feminism through the back door. And honestly, I am still finding my footing. Growing up in a Black neighborhood in Atlanta's suburbs, going to Black schools, having Black ballet teachers and dentists, I was always exposed to women in powerful positions while being educated on the historical struggles of my people. So the thought that I could be denied things for my gender in this day was a slow one.

It was a big eye-opener to begin to network with powerful women journalists right out of college and be schooled on how recent many breakthroughs for women are in the business and still how far we have to go. Instead of being so tuned in to the lack of Black people in power at a company, network or editorial page, I was also counting the few women too. I left my Black bubble and came back to Earth, where women were only in bigger numbers when it came to births.

I had a new underdog that I was looking at in the mirror and millions of faces around the globe.

Hearing the heartbreaking story of an eight-year-old girl raped then shunned by her family keeps me pushing for change and for women of all walks to have our humanity. Watching young girls blame Rihanna for being attacked by her boyfriend keeps me hosting woman to woman chats with young ladies in the making. Witnessing our Secretary of State called a school girl and her husband step in to help bring women journalists home keeps me rolling up my sleeves.

Oh wait, I'm not wearing any sleeves, much like our fierce First Lady Michelle Obama who has weathered the storm in the mainstream on what it means to be a strong woman and a strong Black woman with grace. I am little late to the table, so I'm ready to make up for lost time.

It's not too late to register and go:)


  1. So I am loving the woman and the writer you've become! I'm so proud to call you my friend. And Sherlock - great name! Nice smile. Glad to see you happy and so positive as always. Love & miss you much, JD

  1. Arlice Nichole said...:

    That is awesome! Will we be able get it on YouTube? A podcast? Something? LOL!

  1. CJ said...:

    Thanks guys! Arlice I will definitely post any clips, or share good info.

    Love you too Joyce!! And though Sherlock is a cool name, not his real one. Trying to not put people so on blast on the block, though a picture gives it all. lol

  1. Ananda said...:

    Congratulations! Enjoy your Omega experience. Please say hi to Jana Long, a phenomenal yoga master teacher and Gail Straub, an amazing author and activist. WOOOOOWWWWW. I am so happy for you. Keep shining.