Revolutionary Women is a playlist of interviews and talks at Ted.com that celebrates women who have and are still fighting for justice and equality. Last week, we explored the first six women on the list as part of our commemoration of Women’s History Month. This week, we finish our look and reflect on what we’ve learned.
Final Five Interviews or TedTalks of Revolutionary Women:
1 Stacy Abrams: “3 questions to ask yourself about everything you do”
If you are unfamiliar with Stacy Abrams, she’s an outspoken advocate about voting rights, the former Georgia House Democratic Leader, and she made history in 2018 by being the first Black woman to earn a Democratic nomination for governor. The questions she says she asks herself all of the time are: What do I want? Why do I want it? And how do I get it?
She says that finances, fear, and fatigue often stop us from getting where we want to be or from accomplishing our goals. Abrams calls poverty “immoral” and “a stain on our nation” and that is her why, the reason she moves forwards towards what she wants every single day.
Whole Champion Foundation believes poverty is a stain on the whole planet and its peoples and that’s why one of our pillars is social responsibility. We have to care for others if we want to make the world a better place.
2 Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi: “An interview with the founders of Black Lives Matter
Alicia Garza launched the global movement with a single Facebook post that ended with the words “Black Lives Matter,” Patrisse Cullors created the hashtag, and Opal Tometi turned the hashtag into the movement. In the video interview with the three women, Mia Birdsong learns that Black Lives Matter is a “tool to reimagine a world where black people are free to exist, free to live…and for our allies to show up differently for us.” As Garza points out, “race and racism is probably the most studied social, economic, and political phenomenon in this country, but it’s also the least understood.”
Tometi says she is inspired by immigrants who are “doing the best to survive and also to thrive.” She cites that more than 244 million people do not live in their country of origin, a forty percent increase since 2000. As I type this fact I’m thinking of all of the Ukrainians who have fled their country due to Russia’s invasion.
The three founders encourage people to join something, to be a part of something, of a group doing work in a community or of a nonprofit or movement. That advice resonates with the Whole Champion message.
3 Jane Goodall: “Every day you live, you impact the planet”
In a 25-minute interview Jane Goodall tells Chris Anderson that humanity’s survival depends on conservation of the natural world. She cites her change from a scientist to an activist to a conference she went to in 1986 and learned about conservation and medical research and the differences in chimp behavior in these situations. “I didn’t make the decision, something happened inside me,” she says.
She says she realized that if she didn’t “help the people find ways of living without destroying their environment, we can’t even try to save the chimps.” That’s when her institute started their Take Care program.
Goodall says what worries her most right now is how to get enough people to take action. “…if we all do the bits that we can do, surely that makes a whole that will eventually win out,” she says. She encourages people to remember that every day you live that you make an impact on the planet, and like Dolores Huerta, Goodall believes apathy is the biggest danger in our world.
In order to combat apathy, we can choose to do something to better the lives of ourselves, others, and the planet every day and we can choose to make smart, ethical choices in our consumption.
4 Ai-jen Poo: “The works that makes all other work possible”
The fourth of the Revolutionary Women was unknown to me before this playlist. Ai-jen Poo fights for the rights of domestic workers (90 percent of which are women and people of color)—nannies, people with disabilities and eldercare workers, house cleaners and others, those she says that do the work that makes it possible for others to go to work.
Through the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Poo works to pass new laws that protect domestic workers from discrimination and sexual harassment, create days of paid time off and benefits packages. Eight states have passed domestic workers bills of rights.
Poo believes that domestic workers can teach us about humanity and what it will take to create a more humane world for future generations. She says, “They cross cultures and generations and borders and boundaries, and their job, no matter what, is to show up and care…”
When’s the last time we really showed up for others and cared?
5 Leah Chase: “An interview with the Queen of Creole Cuisine”
In this 2017 interview with Pat Mitchell icon Leah Chase (who died in 2019) talks about her seven decades serving her signature gumbo to Freedom Riders, Presidents, and many others. During the Civil Rights Movement both Blacks and whites gathered and ate even though it was against the law and activists (like Martin Luther King, Jr.) planned protests.
Chase believes if the leaders now would come have a bowl of gumbo and some fried chicken and talk things over things could be much better. She says her children tell her not to get political but she responds, “You have to be involved.”
Getting involved was a theme in many of the talks of these revolutionary women. If you’re unsure how to get involved, check out the tab on the Whole Champion website called Get Involved. We provide a database of organizations and opportunities, sorted by category, where you can lend your time and your expertise, and stoke your passion to change the world in positive ways.