Harassment sucks. What sucks even more is when women don’t stand up for one another. When we gossip instead of protect. When we slut shame instead of support. In the words of one of the most unforgettable songs of our time, “it won’t be long ’till I’m gonna need somebody to lean on.”
Two women this week have shown me how important it is to stand up for someone when they need someone to lean on. First, my daughter. She turns two on Tuesday. Her best friend at school is Autistic, but clearly that doesn’t matter to her. She loves her BFF. When she saw that her friend needed protecting from other kids, she stood up for her. She holds her hand. She invites her to play. Some how she knew this was someone who needed a friend. I am proud of my daughter everyday, but certainly proud of her compassion for others. I hope she never losses that. Here is a picture of my daughter and her friend. Her friend’s face is blurred out to protect her identity.
Another woman not afraid to stand up for others…Melissa Hortman (D- Minnesota). She is the minority leader in the Minnesota State Legislature. Hortman spoke up when she saw her male colleagues (all white) were disrespecting their fellow female colleagues (all of whom were women of color). One of the men asked Hortman to apologize. She did not. And her stance against her male colleagues went viral.
Hortman is a lawyer and mother of two who’s proudest accomplishments are pushing for more booster seats for children in her state and environmental reforms. But getting in to politics was not easy. In fact, she had to run THREE TIMES before she was elected. Her advice can help anyone who has a dream that seems out of reach: “Once you figure out what your dream is, don’t give up easily. Keep fighting.”