These posts were first published here on June 20, 2012 and June 21, 2012. I hope you agree they make an appropriate addition to our Women’s History Month collection in 2020.
Ms. Magazine is 40 years old this year according to a headline I saw yesterday that startled me because I remember very well when the magazine began and sheepishly admit I wasn’t sure it was still in publication. I don’t read as much as I once did, and I attribute that pathetic revelation to a love affair I have with the sight of my own words on a computer screen which is as powerful a narcotic as my nightly sleeping pill. Happy Birthday, Ms.! You gave narratives and images to a feminist movement that sputtered its way under protest from lone voices crying in the wilderness to the American mainstream political landscape. I thank you for the hopes, the dreams you gave me and my generation. Gloria Steinem, bless you for the vision of the potential societal impact of Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. I.O.U.
Title IX is 40 years old Saturday, June 23rd. I found this interesting fact when I actually looked up Ms. Magazine online tonight. Did I remember Richard Nixon was the President who signed this bill into law? I did not but am relieved to have one positive piece of history attributed to the man who got my first-ever vote for president in the 1968 election. Title IX is to public education and related school activities for girls and women what hot fudge and nuts are to vanilla ice cream on a sundae. Necessary. Rewarding. Sweet. If education provides the foundation for equal opportunites in a democracy, Title IX makes sure the base doesn’t tilt due to the randomness of being born female.
I also learned about another birthday from Ms. online tonight. She’s called The Lady from Burma and is the recipient of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. She’s 67 years old today, June 19th. and finally delivered her acceptance speech three days ago, 21 years after she won. I’ll save her story for our next time. Happy Birthday, Aung San Suu Kyi!
Aung San Suu Kyi was 67 years old Tuesday, June 19th. She was sworn in earlier this year to serve in the Parliament of Burma, where she has devoted her life to human rights and democracy. For 15 years – almost a fourth of her life – she was under house arrest for her political opposition to the military regime that imprisoned her and other members of her party in their country. She was ultimately released in November, 2010. She is the recipient of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize and numerous other awards in recognition of her commitment to human rights. Because of her arrest she was unable to deliver an acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize until this past Saturday, June 16th. Msmagazine.com reprinted the full transcript of Suu Kyi’s speech; and her moving words of hope for world peace, the importance of inclusion and her plea for kindness resonate across time beyond geographic boundaries. Her understanding that the cause of human rights transcends specific dictatorships coupled with her commitment to alleviating forms of suffering wherever they exist make her a worthy Nobel winner.
“…our aim should be to create a world free from the displaced, the homeless and the hopeless, a world of which each and every corner is a true sanctuary where the inhabitants will have the freedom and the capacity to live in peace. Every thought, every word, and every action that adds to the positive and the wholesome is a contribution to peace. Each and every one of us is capable of making such a contribution. Let us join hands to try to create a peaceful world where we can sleep in security and wake in happiness…” ——Aung San Suu Kyi
(Editor’s Note: What a difference eight years can make. Aung San Suu Kyi became the political leader of Myanmar formerly known as Burma in 2016. Her party was supposedly elected to move the country toward democracy but according to a BBC News report in January, 2020 has done nothing to stop her military from the purge of Rohingya Muslims through rape, murder and possible genocide in their removal from Myanmar to Bangdalesh. A United Nations court has ordered the government of Myanmar to intervene in the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims, but the military continues to oppose a democratic process at this time.)