March 10, 2010

I have a crush on Zoe Nicholson (and so should you)

On her website, she states that she is:

“Openly Buddhist, openly bi, openly progressive, openly feminist; let’s face it, I am open. I am interested in progress.”

Ok, she had me at “openly Buddhist.”

Kamala Lopez recently made virtual introductions stating, “you have to meet Zoe!”  Kamala told me that Zoe is inspirational, dedicated and freakin rad. After I read her bio at About.com, I had to agree.

Zoe Nicholson is rad and I have a mad crush.

Who says there aren’t any feminist icons, heroic female role models and committed sheroes in our midst? She’s right here.  And here. Oh, and here. She’s also featured in the documentary, March On, and her book, The Hungry Heart: A Woman’s Fast for Justice, is available for anyone and everyone to read about her courageous fight for the ERA and her 37-day fast along with 6 other women in 1982.

Suffragist Alice Paul in 1921 drafted the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and it had been introduced into the US Congress in 1923. The proposed law had 3 basic sections: Section 1- stated “that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United State or any state on account of sex”: Section 2-stated-“the congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article”: Section 3- stated- “this amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification”:

The legislation seems simple enough and on face value it would appear that its passage would not be too difficult. However, such was not the case, and it was not until 1972, when the Congress of the USA finally passed it. However, it needed ratification endorsement by at least 38 states before it would become the law of the land. Furthermore, a deadline was placed on its ratification, June 30, 1982. There were thirty- five states that had ratified the legislation, leaving 3 states short of the required 38. One of these states was Illinois, where Nicholson’s story and her titanic struggle transpired.

Nicholson was one of seven women, who assembled in the rotunda of the Illinois Statehouse in Springfield in May and June of 1982, and fasted only on water for 37 days. Their objective was to persuade the legislators and Americans that the equal-rights amendment must become part of the Constitution. Illinois was chosen because this state required a 3/5, rather than a majority for ratification.

In the words of the author, she was a “satyagrahi.” or an advocate of the philosophy of non-violence resistance, as practiced by Mahatma Gandhi, who had forced an end to the British Rule. When asked by reporters why was she fasting, Nicholson explained that this is the first time where she was putting her body and heart in the same place with the same intensity, and where she was not doing something useless or meaningless.

Social media has allowed contemporary feminism to flourish. It is through social media that I have created a more expansive community of feminists, activists and those seeking human rights for all people.

It is through my collaborative relationship with Kamala that I met Zoe, an inspirational beacon of light ready to share wisdom, experience and love.

You just have to look a bit. Zoe made this point clearly in her recent post, Surfing Two Waves:

To the Second Wave, who have not made the transition to the Third Wave’s ways, let me say the US Women’s Movement is alive and well.  You only have to grab your board and get online, google feminist, join facebook and search for NOW or ERA.  Spend a couple of hours at RHRealitycheck.org, Change.org, Feministing.com, SheWrites.com, care.org, feministblogs.org and you will know EXACTLY where the women’s movement is.  There is plenty of room, jump in, the water is rad.

If I get to splash around with women like Zoe, women that have served, sacrificed, challenged, agitated and promoted change, I am in!

zoe-nicholson