AAPF enters the New Year with enormous appreciation that the efforts of those who made 2014 a turning point for an inclusive vision of racial justice have been recognized.
Historically, ideological tensions within our disparate communities and political divisions between feminists have compromised our ability to mobilize around the very simple things upon which we collectively agree -- that women and girls matter too, and that the issues that jeopardize their lives deserve attention now.
2014, however, was different.
This year feminists of all genders and colors stepped up to say that no crisis can be solved within our families and communities without addressing how racism affects all of us. As we join the chorus of our foremothers who have been advocating for an inclusive vision of racial justice for well over a century, 2014 brought forward the unprecedented support of hundreds of African American men from all walks of life who also insist that these are values that we cannot wait to embrace.
Engaging this campaign was not without consequence. The simplicity of our basic message -- that a separate and unequal strategy will never result in the structural and institutional transformation we need -- belies the many concrete risks taken by those who speak openly about this reality. At the same time, their willingness to be counted has opened conversations that were presumptively foreclosed.
Conversation of course is a necessary but not sufficient predicate to the changes we seek at all levels.
Although our struggle continues, we pause today to count among our blessings the thousands who have amplified this message by signing letters to the President of the United States, testifying at town hall meetings, writing op-eds and blogs, circulating petitions, talking to family members, co-workers and friends, calling out the names of women and girls who have lost their lives to state violence in protest marches across the country, and reminding us of the countless women of color who have suffered and died from private violence and neglect.
AAPF is especially grateful to the fierce activists in 2014 who came together to make the #WhyWeCantWait campaign possible (Alvin Starks, Nakisha Lewis, Joanne Smith, Kiese Laymon, Brittney Cooper, Kristie Dotson, Marlon Peterson, Darnell Moore, Oscar Blayton, Salamishah Tillet, Scheherazade Tillet, Devon Carbado, Robin Kelly, Aishah Simmons, Ricardo Guthrie, Mychal Denzel Smith, Janine Jackson, Paul Butler, Priscilla Ocen, Mark Anthony Neal, Jyoti Nanda, and Michael Hanchard); to the trailblazers, advocates, and allies who leant support in numerous ways (Barbara Arnwine, Heidi Hartmann, Paula Giddings, Rosalinda Fregoso, Terry O'Neil, Beverly Guy Sheftall, Eve Ensler, Mary Frances Berry, Catherine MacKinnon, Lisalyn Jacobs, Zillah Eisenstein, Gloria Steinem, Pamela Shifman, Eden Jequinto, Laura Flanders, Jody Myrum), and to the AAPF team that worked extraordinarily hard to keep us moving forward (Luke Charles Harris, Rachel Gilmer, Julia Sharpe-Levine, and Jack Mullan).
We look forward to the opportunities the new year will bring to promote the work of those who show us every day why we can’t wait to broaden and deepen our vision of racial justice.