You are on page 1of 2

0:11Tell your daughters of this year, how we woke needing coffee but discovered instead

cadavers strewn about our morning papers, waterlogged facsimiles of our sisters, spouses,
small children. Say to your baby of this year when she asks, as she certainly should, tell her it
was too late coming. Admit even in the year we leased freedom, we didn't own it outright. There
were still laws for every way we used our privates while they pawed at the soft folds of
us, grabbed with no concern for consent, no laws made for the men that enforced them. We
were trained to dodge, to wait, to cower and cover, to wait more, still, wait. We were told to be

0:56But speak to your girls of this wartime, a year preceded by a score of the same, so as in
two decades before, we wiped our eyes, laced caskets with flags, evacuated the crime scene of
the club, caterwauled in the street, laid our bodies on the concrete against the outlines of our
fallen, cried, "Of course we mattered," chanted for our disappeared. The women wept this
year. They did.

1:20In the same year, we were ready. The year we lost our inhibition and moved with
courageous abandon was also the year we stared down barrels,sang of cranes in skies,
ducked and parried, caught gold in hijab, collected death threats, knew ourselves as
patriots, said, "We're 35 now, time we settled down and found a running mate," made road
maps for infant joy, shamed nothing but fear, called ourselves fat and meant, of

1:44This year, we were women, not brides or trinkets, not an off-brand gender, not a
concession, but women.

1:52Instruct your babies. Remind them that the year has passed to be docile or small. Some of
us said for the first time that we were women, took this oath of solidarity seriously. Some of us
bore children and some of us did not, and none of us questioned whether that made us real or
appropriate or true.

2:08When she asks you of this year, your daughter, whether your offspring or heir to your
triumph, from her comforted side of history teetering towards woman, she will wonder and ask
voraciously, though she cannot fathom your sacrifice, she will hold your estimation of it
holy, curiously probing, "Where were you? Did you fight? Were you fearful or fearsome? What
colored the walls of your regret? What did you do for women in the year it was time? This path
you made for me, which bones had to break? Did you do enough, and are you OK,
momma? And are you a hero?" She will ask the difficult questions.

Tell her she was born as you were. how you lived in spite of crooked odds. what gift.2:42She will not care about the arc of your brow. for whom you have already carried so much. mostly the days when you just had yourself. in the year we said time's up. what light did you keep from extinction? When they came for victims in the night. Your daughter. did you sleep through it or were you roused? What was the cost of staying woke? What. slicing space for you. Confirm it. 3:42Tell her she was born just in time. I stood there with the moment drawn on my face like a dagger." Tell her the truth. in the age of legends. always in the company of courage. Tell her you were brave. "Daughter. and flung it back at itself. Make it your life. and the sisters beside them. as your mothers before. wants to know what you brought. She will not ask of your mentions. what did you do with your privilege? Did you sup on others' squalor? Did you look away or directly into the flame? Did you know your skill or treat it like a liability? Were you fooled by the epithets of "nasty" or "less than"? Did you teach with an open heart or a clenched fist? Where were you? 3:17Tell her the truth. like always. the weight of your clutch. just in time to lead. and always. Say. 3:47(Applause) .

Related Interests