On April 25th, 2019, the Maryland-National Capital Parks & Planning Commission's Natural & Historical Resource Division, as part of their “Legends and Legacy” series, hosted the “Black Women in Politics: Shattering the Glass Ceiling" discussion at the Oxon Hill Manor in suburban Maryland.
I was fortunate enough to receive an invite, where I listened to some of the D.C. region’s most prominent female leaders speak first-hand on their struggles working in a male-dominated arena and of too many unnecessary hurdles imposed upon them for simply being women. So rather then going over each of their policy accomplishments, I thought it extremely important to highlight the underlining theme of how they overcame these struggles and the outcome to not only represent themselves, but us all.
First let me say, there are so many strong women doing great things today. In fact, there has always been strong women moving this country's culture and direction. Unfortunately, their efforts are often done in silence, their successes earned without public recognition, or other times incorrectly attributed to men and many situations never seen to the public. That however does not change the impact and the complete necessity that women have made in our overall progress as a human race. Whether that includes nurturing a family (most important yet with very little recognition today) or running billion dollar companies, or changing our laws through legislation, or sitting in the seats of the Supreme Court. None of these roles are without its necessity for us all.
That common theme throughout the night was how each and everyone of these women yielded to something greater than themselves. Whether it was Senator Benson explaining how someone she supported throughout his political career one day picked her up claiming they were just going for lunch and ended up inside the halls to register her candidacy, which she won. Or the story of Delegate Joseline A Pena-Melnyk being raised in the humblest of circumstances in the Dominican Republic. Personally seeing the struggles of her family and peers. She fought to securing her education at The University of ... This common thread of not only yielding but embracing these opportunities, with a determination to change the status quo of the culture, reminds me, with a great degree of emphasis, that God is involved. Opening their eyes and softening their hearts to certain challenges, to eventually help change the silent environmental pull we subconsciously considered norms. It wasn't just their ability to speak truth to power but it was the very first step of accepting their role against those norms, in spite of the ridicule, in order to be in a position to change the narrative and change the status quo. To say God has a role in this process is a huge understatement. To be reminded of these stories of how we are all He has, was very comforting. That first step is the crucial one. For us to accept what He is opening to us and bravely face those so called barriers, with an understanding there is more at stake than just the impact on your life but the lives of many.
All the speakers are deserving acknowledgment:
Senator Joanne Benson, Maryland State Senate
District 24 and Mayor Candace Hollingsworth
Delegate Joseline A Peña~Melnyk
States Attorney Aisha Braveboy
DC-based Violinist Musical Trio
The String Queens
Vocalist Vanessa Renee Williams
Painter/Artist Luther Wright
All worth their weight in gold, listening to them reinforced my certainty that we all must continue improving efforts to do the work of thoroughly vetting and finding worthy candidates to move us in the right direction. Remember together, collectively, we can improve how well our representatives will be fighting on your behalf, even when we literally can not. Moving us quicker into that more perfect union.
Isabella Magazine salutes all your hard work and dedication in your past and looks forward to seeing the accomplishments of your future endeavors. You are no myth. Factually speaking, you are living legends.