By Verónica Moreno, Community Engagement Manager
One day of recognition can not possibly contain our boundless admiration for the fierce womxn and feminists in our lives. Yet taking some time to reflect and share some gratitude with the people that inspire us to live, love and celebrate each other is always welcome.
They are strong mothers raising and sustaining families at home. They are womxn working on the frontlines of climate justice, food sovereignty and rebuilding our economies – the greatest global challenges of our time. They are leaders, visionaries, dreamers, creatives and most of all, do-ers. They breath life into our movements and set the foundation for a more equitable and just world.
At IDEX, there is no shortage of inspiration. Our partners continue to unleash people power, building towards economical , political, and cultural self determination. They are our teachers, mentors, role models, and friends. These powerhouse womxn and feminists keep building beauty and spaces of liberation for us all.
In addition to all our inspiring partners on this International Womxn’s Day, IDEX staff reflects on a few of the many people that have helped form our worldviews and centered us on social justice, liberation, and most of all, a deep love for humanity:
A human rights lawyer and social activists, Asma Jahangir founded the Human Rights Commision of Pakistan. She has dedicated her life fighting for the rights of womxn, children and religious minorities in Pakistan. Throughout her career, Jahangir has faced many challenges such as threats to her safety and arrest. IDEX’s Learning and Evaluation Manager, Hafsa Mustafa, describes her as “truly fearless” and honors that she “has raised a generation of feminists.”
Kahlo is a renown painter and feminist that often needs no introduction. Her work has resonated with many for its raw, emotional intensity. Her unconventional lifestyle stretched and expanded what it meant to be a womxn in Mexico in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Regional Director of Latin America, Katherine Zavala has drawn inspiration from this dynamic artist since she was 8 years old and appreciates that Kahlo “was basically herself all the way through.”
Prudence Mabele has a lifetime of experience advocating for marginalized womxn impacted by HIV and AIDS in both high-density urban areas and rural communities in South Africa. Mabele is the the Executive Director of Positive Women’s Network (PWN), another womxn-led, IDEX partner. Despite the stigma, criminalization, and gender-based violence, particularly high in communities affected by AIDS and HIV, Mabele continues her work with great joy and hope. Community Engagement Manager, Verónica Moreno, shares her inspiration, “Prudence brings so much joy and beauty into this world. Her radiance and laughter consistently reminds me that there is always something to celebrate when we have community.”
Sister Chân Không
Sister Không is an ordained Buddhist nun and was a fierce activist during the Vietnam war. Her autobiography, Learning True Love, shares her story of how she persevered while resisting oppression by following Buddhist concepts of nonviolence. Jinky de Rivera, IDEX’s Director of Finance and Administration often turns to Sister Khôngs work for inspiration.
Srijana Poudel builds both economic and political collective power with womxn in rural Nepa through her work at the Women’s Awareness Center, Nepal’s (WACN) board. IDEX’s Regional Director of Asia, Trishala Deb is humbled to partner with Poudel as the Member Secretary of WACN. “Srijana spends hours every week traveling around rural Nepal to gather the voices and leadership of thousands of womxn members. Through dedication, perseverance and love for movement building. Srijana’s organizing enables 42 cooperatives to grow together, embodying a commitment to progress through shared power and vision.”
Maria Estela Barco Huerto
As the General Coordinator of Desarrollo Económico Social de los Mexicanos Indígenas (Social and Economic Development of Indigenous Mexicans, or DESMI), one of IDEX long time partners, Maria Estela Barco Huerto dedicates her life to centering the voices of indigenous peoples of Chiapas, Mexico. Deeply rooted in the practice of Buen Vivir, Huerto’s work at DESMI espouses the holistic cosmovision that connects us all. Her work inspires and reminds Director of Communications, Jennifer Lentfer, everyday of the collective responsibility we hold.. “She urges us to work hard, tirelessly, and yet she demonstrates how heeding that call can be an act of joy and connection – with each other and the earth”.
Wende Elizabeth Marshall
De Wolfe recalls a very formative speech Dr. Marshall gave during her time at the University of Virginia:
“As a social relationship, poverty means that some people must work many jobs, send their children to inferior schools, suffer the debilitating effects of disease without proper health care…Hidden behind rhetoric about competitive compensation and market forces, which need to be seen as strategies of obscuration, we lose sight of the reality of low wealth existence and of the sheer struggle to survive.
“What I want you to recognize is that none of us are innocent bystanders, all of us participate in this social arrangement, and therefore it is up to all of us to use our bodies and our minds to change society, to insist on justice, to demand a living wage as a simple step forward in a very long struggle.”
This small glimpse in no way does justice to the women and feminists who are part of our world every day!