Maybe it would be better to call it Women’s Month. Maybe the word, “History” makes it sound like a snooze fest. The fact is, history is us. History is our provenance, both good and bad. And as we spend time on Ancestry dot com, freak out over the loss of family photos and take pride in our roots; we know history is our personal treasure chest.
Years ago, I made a commitment to raise women from invisibility. I had no idea how bad a situation was but soon found out. I began by always looking for the women. In every photo, in every museum, in every event, in every city, and in government. I discovered that if you look hard enough the answer was filled with information.
When I visited the Louvre, there were 3 paintings in exhibit by women. At the Musee D’Orsay there were none. At the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, they were able to run a data search, there were 423 works in all and 26 are by women. SIX PERCENT!
In politics, women have never risen above 20%. The U.N. publishes the list of 195 countries in the order of women in leadership. In the last two years, the US has fallen from #75 to #100. Mind you, that means 99 countries are ahead of the USA in women in leadership.
And how does Long Beach fit into this algorithm?
Let me offer a few observations:
- I found only two women’s names at the foot of The Lonely Sailor on the Bluff.
- Where is Dolores Huerta Park?
- Where is Coretta Scott King Blvd?
- How many statues of women are there in the city?
- How many women are artists or subjects in the mural project, POW WOW?
- What is the city doing for Women’s History Month?
I prefer to offer solutions rather than simply state a problem.
This year, I am presenting my one woman program, Tea With Alice and Me. March 30, 7:30 PM, at the Beverly O’Neill Theater. That evening, you will take a trip with me. We will follow the incendiary thread of TEA in the (r)evolution of the American Women’s Movement; 1774 – 2018. In fact, in the last section, there will be photos of some actions right here in Long Beach.
Primarily, this is about a woman most people have never heard of, Miss Alice Paul. Did you know that before March 3, 1913 - NO ONE had marched to the White House. Not a protest, not a demonstration, not a parade. Miss Paul was the first. She was the first to bring Nonviolent Direct Action to the United States. Long Beach activists can learn much from Miss Paul. She has been my inspiration, my North Star, my main muse. Audience members will see themselves; Pickets, Parades, Banners, - all begun by Miss Alice Paul.
So far, Long Beach has done just a sliver of a minimum for Women's History Month. I hope this performance is just the beginning. I hope that in learning about the VOTE, Equality, and nonviolent direct action, the city will find a rich camaraderie. Together we can celebrate Women’s History Month by making history and raising women out of invisibility. That would be a true revolution.
Beverly O’Neill Theater
March 30, 7:30 PM
Cash wine bar