This was a date when four women activists were born, similar actions just far apart years. In 1795 Francis Wright, a Scottish-American author and advocate was born and started a commune to prepare slaves for eventual emancipation. Her experiment didn’t last long but her efforts started the ball rolling. In 1800 American educator and activist was born and fiercely supported the education of women and the inclusion of kindergarten in schooling activities. In 1860 two activists were born, in separate parts of the English-speaking world. In America, Nobel-prize-winning sociologist and author Jane Addams was born and advocated for both women’s suffrage and workers’ rights. And far away in Australia trade unionist and suffragist Mary Emma Jordan McConnell was born and became the first paid trade union organizer in Queensland.
Rights have to be advocated for all, not just for some. There have been times when the advocates for one group have clashed with other groups, seeking to be a first or higher priority. But if there is not justice for all, there is no justice at all. If some are left out on freedom and liberty then we are all the less. We must not fight amongst ourselves for the things that we all deserve. And those who have won the battle and received recognition of their rights should not fail to show up for others who have not yet.
And as some have wisely pointed out rights are not a pie. Recognizing the need for greater recognition of rights for those on the margins does not mean less for everyone else. There is enough for everyone. And this talk of “special rights” is ridiculous. Those who are fighting to be accepted are not asking for anything “special”, just to be accepted for being who they are, just as the rest of us are.
Let us remember this today. Look around you and see if there are others who are not treated as well as you. Then fight for their right to be accepted. And more so, reach out and show them acceptance. Be a light in this dark world.