Women’s History Month is a call to action!

Dear Pride Family,

When I was asked to write the newsletter for Women’s History Month, I sat down at my keyboard and…stared. I identify as a woman, I was on the committee that started She Fest, I have coordinated women’s events for over a decade. I understand why I was asked to write this newsletter. I have lived experience. And I greatly appreciate San Diego Pride’s posture of ensuring those with lived experiences are the ones holding the mic.  But lord, do I wish I didn’t have to. I wish women’s lives, contributions, autonomy, and value were not something that needed an “awareness month”.  

I was doing research on the history of “awareness months” and their outcomes. I found one article that, in addition to alerting me to a new favorite word, captured the conflicting feelings I have about this month:

Given the ubiquity of …awareness days and ambiguity of their messages, it is possible that they bombard the public with information to the point where individuals conflate being knowledgeable about an … issue with taking action to address it. As the researchers point out, “Exposure to this flood of information may serve to narcotize rather than to energize.” (citation)

For those who lead much fuller lives than I do, and don’t spend countless hours on the internet trying to better understand basic concepts, “narcotize” means to soothe to unconsciousness or unawareness. And that is at the core of my concern: how do we leverage this month so that we are not just knowledgeable of women’s contributions and challenges, we are not soothed to unawareness, rather we are energizing society toward action so one bright day in the future women do not require an “awareness.”

I do not pretend to know the answers. I grew up in patriarchal, evangelical Texas so I’ve got some unpacking to do before I can provide insight into this topic. Luckily, the Director of Education and Advocacy, Jen LaBarbera, was willing to offer their insight. “Women’s History Month is important. We’re going backward: the repeal of abortion rights, the disproportionate violence and hate targeting trans women, the horrendously high rates of intimate partner violence among bi+ women, Black maternal mortality rates are still through the roof, and all of that is connected to our long history of patriarchal violence. Understanding that long history and current reality must motivate us to take action to get to that bright day in the future.”

There are ways to honor Women’s History Month in concrete action. There are ways to stand in solidarity with trans women. There are organizations and groups that are taking action to address inequity and there is no better time than now to get involved. This list is not exhaustive, but it is a great place to start:

My parting message is this: whatever “awareness month” you find yourself in, do not be soothed, do not be narcotized. Use that time to take action. Because we are meant for greater things, we are meant to Thrive.

With Pride,

Kelcie Parra
Pronouns: she/her
Deputy Executive Director
San Diego Pride

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About Alex Villafuerte

Alex Villafuerte is San Diego Pride's Marketing & Communication Manager. He oversees the marketing for all of Pride's events & programs. Outside of Pride, he has a love for the outdoors, the San Diego brew scene, and naps.