N.B: The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect CIDSE's official positions.
The system, in which your great-grandmother, my mother and I lived in, operated to serve a particular cause and catered to a specific kind of man. Our societies adjusted to seeing power handed over to an elite group of individuals, who all justified their actions by making one think that there was no alternative to patriarchy. Inside our homes, the water, which ran from our taps, originated from the same ground that grew capitalism as a ‘sustainable’ model. Three-times a day, without fail, we consumed substances that made us crave for the unattainable.
We became less awake in the depth of darkness and increasingly passive to the rise of hatred. Neighbours came to be strangers, false headlines comforted us and when backed into a corner, most of us chose greed and convenience over humanity.
The truth is we all worked at different levels of reality: between the harsh realities of living inside the imagination of those who saw the future as a place to divide and conquer, and the fictional world in which we navigated the coexistence of multiple identities and perceptions, our consciousness transcended into our selective memory.
You came from a long line of strong-willed women whose identities were complex and too often misunderstood. We were all warned about the danger of our existence. Many regarded the discovery of the self as an indication of alienating oneself from the national sphere, rendering us quasi invisible. However, we laughed in the faces of adversity and held our heads high. We refused to be silent. We made ourselves seen. We organised ourselves. Collaborated. Shared resources. Change the structures, which had no consideration for your bloodline.
And why you ask me? Because I simply refused to raise you to survive. I wanted you to live and exist beyond the marginal lines.
I needed you to look back at the women in my generation and ask me, ‘Ma, how could it have been possible to live in a time where sexism and racism were inevitable’. However, in order for you to ask me that question in 2040, I realised that hope was not going to be enough, I knew that your generation would hold us accountable in the present, and so, I needed to live outside of my imagination and step into my future.
About the author:
Tracey Agyeman supports the Programme Unit, via fundraising and project management activities, including donor research, writing and reporting, project management support, and administration and outreach at the European Women's Lobby.
Read "Fluidity", her poetry series: http://www.womenlobby.org/-fluidity-?lang=en