Standing on stage with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just a few weeks ago has brought some interesting conversations. Most common questions are “Did I see you on TV standing behind Hillary?” or “I know you must have been excited standing on stage with our next President?” I humbly respond yes that was me you saw and it was an interesting day. Oftentimes when you see a televised live event with any national political figure there is much work that has gone into planning. Conference calls along with last minute changes made for an interesting day but in the end the Keynote speaker for the South Carolina Democratic Women’s Council, 2015 Day In Blue was phenomenal. Through hard work and determination the SCDWC President Susan Y Smith was able to secure Secretary Clinton as our keynote speaker.
The SCDWC along with the South Carolina House Democratic Caucus held its 3rd Day In Blue, which started with recognition in the South Carolina House Chamber by Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter and the Speaker of the House. Workshops on Ethics and Self-Care occurred in the Blatt Building. Both workshops contained a bevy of useful information. The Ethics Workshop presented by Jane Shuler provided information for those seeker to run for an elected office. The Self-Care Workshop presented by Rep. Mary Gail Douglas reminded all female activist present to take time for self. In no way am I saying it wasn’t exciting being on stage with a national Democratic leader but for me the day was about motivating fellow Democratic women to become activist. Wrapping the day up with a message that included the importance of equal pay for women helped solidify the fact we still have strives to make and glass ceilings to shatter.
My journey being on the stage with fellow SCDWC Executive Board members and Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter during Secretary Clinton’s speech involved a cumulation of activism. I often used the term I work to be present in my own existence. What that means is I seek to work for changes I want to see at local, state and national levels. In addition I can say it was due to being present in our own existences. I shared the stage with long-time Democratic activists who believed in their ability to make a different in this world. I am in the process of writing a book to detail my journey; it is important to understand that we all can bring change. No impact is too small one ripple can start a wave of positive progress. You can watch the full coverage of the Day In Blue Keynote Address via the C-SPAN link: http://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?326259-1/hillary-clinton-remarks-columbia-south-carolina
Today, I saw the documentary titled IRIS. The latest film from legendary documentarian Albert Maysles (GREY GARDENS, GIMME SHELTER), IRIS pairs the late 88-year-old filmmaker (who passed away on March 5) with Iris Apfel, the quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 93-year-old style maven who has had an outsized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades. More than a fashion film, the documentary is a story about creativity and how a soaring free spirit continues to inspire. IRIS portrays a singular woman whose enthusiasm for fashion, art and people are life’s sustenance and reminds us that dressing, and indeed life, is nothing but an experiment. Despite the abundance of glamour in her current life, she continues to embrace the values and work ethic established during a middle-class Queens upbringing during the Great Depression. “I feel lucky to be working. If you’re lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows.”
I was inspired and encouraged more than ever to live my life wide open and without reservation. I felt a kindred spirit with Iris Apfel for many reasons but it was mainly her choice of doing what made her happy. She chose to not have children and even though, I myself wanted children I found it refreshing. Iris is not living her life by anybody else’s standards she is setting her own style and pathway through life. It is easy to be caught up in what is expected of us but it is hard to live for ourselves alone.
This coming Wednesday, I will be the feature poet at Mind Gravy a local poetry venue. It is an honor and humbling experience to be able to share poetry during a 30 minute set. There are two things for which I am passionate and that is poetry and politics. I believe in the importance of the art of words and writing. When I write poems, I try to paint a portrait with my rubs; my pen is used to make brush strokes of emotions. And politics for me is an opportunity to be a part of change in my world. I do not taking the opportunities of living in a democracy for granted. Here in the United States we are the freedom to express ourselves in our art and political beliefs. Being an African American woman in a country built on the backs of enslaved Africans and West Indians, I don’t take for granted the importance of being present in my own existence. Finally it helps to be able walk through life wearing a pair of phenomenal red, orange and tortoise shell eyeglasses to help me see my way forward.
Source: Synopsis and photos for IRIS the documentary from magpictures.com; and Hillary photo from The State Newspaper
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