She's the Executive Director of March On and Co-Founder of the Women's March On Washington. She hails from Washington, DC and has made producing socially relevant media, political organizing, and redefining the global narrative of modern African culture her life's work.
After graduating Cum Laude from Williams College, studying Women's Issues, Psychology, and Fiction Writing, and earning a Master's Degrees from in Social Research in Psychology from The New School and Interactive Media from NYU, she worked as the first international correspondent for Al Gore's Current TV; as a Communication Specialist for the United Nations; and as a journalist for several print magazines.
Her missions are to right the imbalance of power, fight on behalf of all marginalized people, and ensure the end of structural patriarchy. So, it should be no surprise that her latest endeavor – Impeach Boutique - involves ugly Christmas sweaters. Yes, you read that right. And, yes, they are ugly. But they are also fantastic. Almost as fantastic as the work they fund.
1. How did you get involved with creating/working on the March?
I was one of the co-founders and main organizers of the Women's March On Washington. After the march ended, I spent months connecting with the leaders of the sister marches that happened all across the country. We decided we needed to continue the work we started with the January 21st, 2017 women's marches, and thus March On, a new political organization, was born. We are resolved to take concrete, coordinated actions at the federal, state and local levels to impact elections and take our country in a better direction. And we're well on our way.
2. How did the idea for Impeach come about?
We launched our Super PAC, the Fight Back PAC, so that the people will have their own Super PAC and be their own “special interest." As part of the “24 For 24" campaign (that's how many seats we need to take back Congress), we launched the Impeach Boutique and the “Gift of Impeachment" -- it's a tongue-in-cheek Christmas gag, but it gets right to the point.
While we're not focused on impeachment, per se, we're making the point that without a majority in Congress, we won't get any of the things we want, including impeachment, if Mueller finds grounds for it.
3. Why do you think it's important to approach this with at least a little humor?
If we can't laugh in these times….I was going to say we'll go crazy. But you know what? We should go crazy, because what is happening in our country right now is off-the-charts insane.
I think most of us are on the same page when we shake our heads in disbelief at the state of US politics. The GOP supporting someone who appears to be a pedophile? I mean, come on. This is where we are right now. So, yes, we'll use humor the way we'll use media, art, anger, determination, and everything else we've got to fight this fight.
4. What makes you keep working in spite of everything that's going on as opposed to giving up?
It's a pretty clear choice for me, and it's one that I hope I can convince more people out there to make. Unless you're actively engaged in fighting back, you're probably feeling a bit despairing and hopeless at the state of our country. I don't feel that way because I know what I'm doing will change things. It's that simple: join us, and you will feel better. Better yet? You'll save the country.
5. What advice do you have for women who are feeling tempted to give up?
Don't give up! Despite the daily horrors we're assaulted within the news cycle -- our world doomed by climate change egged on by the GOP policies, the assault on health care, the level to which Russia influenced our elections, the infantile tweets of the supposed “leader of the free world" -- I mean, I could go on, but you get the point -- despite all of this, or perhaps because of it, we're perfectly positioned to massively change our political landscape for the better.
Everything is now being exposed, and it has activated people like never before -- regular people, like many of the leaders of the women's marches -- and so now is the time where you can really, truly make a difference. You can join us in a number of ways -- really donating your skills and your network and your time, or it can be as simple as supporting the resistance financially by donating to the Super PAC or to March On directly.
Look, if you need some holiday guilt to get you off your tuchus, as my grandfather would have said: it's your duty to use all your resources to fix the mess we're in.
6. What are your hopes for Impeach? Now and in the future?
While our “gift of impeachment" is a fun holiday fundraising drive, I think the Impeach Boutique has legs. Stay tuned for more great stuff.
7. If you had a few moments in the elevator with 45, what would you say to him?
I don't think he's capable of hearing me, so I wouldn't waste words on him. Also, I'm actually scared by the idea of being trapped in an elevator with him.
8. Can you tell readers a little about the March On Platform and the Fight Back PAC in terms of what they are and how they work together and what their goals are?
March On will soon be crowdsourcing our agenda in something we call “Operation Marching Orders." It's very important to us to build community and to make sure that March On belongs to the people, so this is our way of letting the people give us our marching orders of where they want to see March On go. We know that we will be focusing a great deal on our “March On The Polls 2018" program.
MOTP2018 will focus on the vote: getting folks to register, working to overcome voter suppression and then turning out our voters to the polls on Election Day in a “March On The Polls" (Imagine a march, via foot, car, minivan or otherwise in every community in the country to go vote together!). This work will require all-hands-on-deck. Doing this work is very “people" intensive. And we anticipate that March On will also endorse candidates at all levels, from federal down to local elections, again, through our crowdsourcing program.
In turn, Fight Back PAC will look at those endorsed candidates and pick a few to really support financially through what are known as “independent expenditure" campaigns. This will be the vehicle for our “marchroots" community to flex its muscle as it's own special interest and to help elect--or defeat--a slate of candidates that matter to our community. Think of it this way: March On is the vehicle for people activism; March On's Fight Back PAC is the vehicle for our financial power.
9. Do you think Impeaching Delta Tanago will change things or he is just the figurehead for an agenda that Mike Pence will continue to move forward with?
While Pence might be a slightly more conventional politician than Trump (no more threatening tweets to Kim Jong Un!), his policies are equally horrific. But here's the thing that stumps me about this whole investigation: If this crowd--every last one of them--was elected with illegal and nefarious assistance from the Russians, how can this election be seen as legitimate?
Hillary Clinton has taken some heat for suggesting the same thing, but to me, that's an unavoidable conclusion. If a sports team cheats their way to victory, the other team is deemed the victor. I could envision a role for the Supreme Court in resolving this whole mess. There is absolutely no precedent for what we are facing. Let's shake off our numbness and remember: no candidate for the presidency of the United States has ever played footsie with a hostile foreign power to win the White House. These are unbelievable times. And if this is the outcome of the investigation, I do not see how Pence deserves to become President. The whole Trump Administration is rotten through and through if these allegations are proved to be true.
10. Anything else you'd like to share with readers?
Join us at https://www.wearemarchon.org/ and https://www.fightbackpac.com/! We'd love to be your home for activism heading into the 2018 elections. We'll put you to work, but we'll have fun and we'll build a community along the way. We can turn this around, but we need everyone on board.
New parents re-entering the workforce are often juggling the tangible realities of daycare logistics, sleep deprivation, and a cascade of overwhelming work. No matter how parents build their family, they often struggle with the guilt of being split between home and work and not feeling exceptionally successful in either place.
Women building their families often face a set of challenges different from men. Those who have had children biologically may be navigating the world of pumping at work. Others might feel pulled in multiple directions when bringing a child into their home after adoption. Some women are trying to learn how to care for a newborn for the first time. New parents need all the help they can get with their transition.
Women returning to work after kids sometimes have to address comments such as:
"I didn't think you'd come back."
"You must feel so guilty."
"You missed a lot while you were out."
To counteract this difficult situation, women are finding mentors and making targeting connections. Parent mentors can help new moms address integrating their new life realities with work, finding resources within the organization and local community, and create connections with peers.
There's also an important role for parent mentors to play in discussing career trajectory. Traditionally, men who have families see more promotions compared to women with children. Knowing that having kids may represent a career setback for women, they may work with their mentors to create an action plan to "back on track" or to get recognized for their contributions as quickly as possible after returning to work.
Previously, in a bid to accommodate mothers transitioning back to work, corporate managers would make a show at lessoning the workload for newly returned mothers. This approach actually did more harm than good, as the mother's skills and ambitions were marginalized by these alleged "family friendly" policies, ultimately defining her for the workplace as a mother, rather than a person focused on career.
Today, this is changing. Some larger organizations, such as JP Morgan Chase, have structured mentorship programs that specifically target these issues and provide mentors for new parents. These programs match new parents navigating a transition back to work with volunteer mentors who are interested in helping and sponsoring moms. Mentors in the programs do not need to be moms, or even parents, themselves, but are passionate about making sure the opportunities are available.
It's just one other valuable way corporations are evolving when it comes to building quality relationships with their employees – and successfully retaining them, empowering women who face their own set of special barriers to career growth and leadership success.
Mentoring will always be a two way street. In ideal situations, both parties will benefit from the relationship. It's no different when women mentor working mothers getting back on track on the job. But there a few factors to consider when embracing this new form of mentorship
How to be a good Momtor?
Listen: For those mentoring a new parent, one of the best strategies to take is active listening. Be present and aware while the mentee shares their thoughts, repeat back what you hear in your own words, and acknowledge emotions. The returning mother is facing a range of emotions and potentially complicated situations, and the last thing she wants to hear is advice about how she should be feeling about the transition. Instead, be a sounding board for her feelings and issues with returning to work. Validate her concerns and provide a space where she can express herself without fear of retribution or bull-pen politics. This will allow the mentee a safe space to sort through her feelings and focus on her real challenges as a mother returning to work.
Share: Assure the mentee that they aren't alone, that other parents just like them are navigating the transition back to work. Provide a list of ways you've coped with the transition yourself, as well as your best parenting tips. Don't be afraid to discuss mothering skills as well as career skills. Work on creative solutions to the particular issues your mentee is facing in striking her new work/life balance.
Update Work Goals: A career-minded woman often faces a new reality once a new child enters the picture. Previous career goals may appear out of reach now that she has family responsibilities at home. Each mentee is affected by this differently, but good momtors help parents update her work goals and strategies for realizing them, explaining, where applicable, where the company is in a position to help them with their dreams either through continuing education support or specific training initiatives.
Being a role model for a working mother provides a support system, at work, that they can rely on just like the one they rely on at home with family and friends. Knowing they have someone in the office, who has knowledge about both being a mom and a career woman, will go a long way towards helping them make the transition successfully themselves.