”Your opponents would love you to believe that it’s hopeless.”
Activist and writer Rebecca Solnit said this in the foreword to her book, “Hope in the Dark” ― a book originally written during the Bush Administration about avoiding the pitfalls of cynicism in the face of injustice and fear. This year, shortly after Donald Trump won the presidential election, “Hope in the Dark” sold out.
For many women, 2016 was a wildly difficult year, and “hope” often felt like a difficult thing to come by.
After all, we didn’t just watch a man accused of sexual assault win the 2016 presidential election ― we watched him win against a significantly more qualified candidate, who happened to be a woman. We watched him win with a running mate who has spent his career trying to diminish the rights of women. We’ve watched him fill his cabinet with men who have been accused of domestic violence.
But in moments of despair and uncertainty, we can, and should, look to the women who have spent much of their lives fighting the relentless fight against injustice of all kinds.
In the words of 10 trailblazing women, from Angela Davis to Cecile Richards, we can find the comfort, shared rage, and motivation necessary to move forward.
”Cultivating the mind of love is so crucial. When love is the ground of our being, a love ethic shapes our participation in politics. To work for peace and justice we begin with the individual practice of love, because it is there that we can experience firsthand love’s transformative power.” ― bell hooks, Lion’s Roar, November 2016
”We have to stop looking up, especially with Trump now, and start instead looking at each other.” ― Gloria Steinem, in a speech at the Make Equality Reality Gala, December 2016
”How do we begin to recover from this shock? By experiencing and building and rebuilding and consolidating community. Community is the answer…Whatever we are already doing, we need to do more. We need to accelerate our activism.” ― Angela Davis, in a speech at the University of Chicago, November 2016
“We’ve got work to do, and not a minute to waste. Those of us with privilege have a responsibility to use it as allies in the fight for justice and opportunity for all. And every one of us has a responsibility to stand up for what we believe. Don’t wait for permission or an invitation to get involved ― reach out, start organizing, send a message to anyone who will listen. The election doesn’t define our country ― what we do next does.” ― Cecile Richards, to The Huffington Post, December 2016
Diane Von Furstenberg
”We must believe in the values of tolerance and inclusiveness that are the fabric of our country. We must believe we can make a difference and use our influence by creating beauty, optimism and happiness. More than ever, we must embrace diversity, be open minded, be generous and have compassion.” ― Diane Von Furstenberg, post-election email to Council of Fashion Designers of America, November 2016
”In this heterosexist society every male is preferable for any position of power than the most qualified female in the world. Maybe I had forgotten this simple fact. Maybe I believed we as humans had moved forward. Maybe I was lying to myself. This concept has once again been made painfully clear to me. I am a radical butch dyke queer activist. I intend to keep my rage.” ― Lea DeLaria, to The Huffington Post, December 2016
”Real change is personal. The change within ourselves expressed in our willingness to hear, and have patience with, the “other.” Together we move forward. Anger, the pointing of fingers, the wishing that everyone had done exactly as you did, none of that will help relieve our pain.” ― Alice Walker, in a post on her personal website, November 2016
”It always gets better before it can get worse. But it will get better. Like everything else, and like our past struggles, at some point we win, but before that win, there’s always that loss that spurs us on.” ― Dolores Huerta, Santa Fe Reporter, August 2015
”Your opponents would love you to believe that it’s hopeless, that you have no power, that there’s no reason to act, that you can’t win. Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away.” ― Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark, March 2016 (third edition)
”Believe in our country, fight for our values, and never give up.” ― Hillary Clinton, in a speech at the Children’s Defense Fund gala, November 2016