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Executive Director's Letter 10/18/22

The historical epic film, The Woman King, makes my heart sing. The film was written and directed by women and features female cast whose strengths are manifested in their bodies as well as their spirits. Black women telling the story of a Black culture, where women of all ages and backgrounds are strong and valued leaders.

These stories are so necessary in a time when the backlash and violence against women around the world are happening in broad daylight and behind closed doors.

In our country, women’s access to healthcare, and specifically to reproductive rights, are being restricted in an ever more draconian fashion. Latinx artists Elizabeth Blancas, Angelica Frausto, Nina Yagual, and Mar (also known as Emulsify), are some of the thousands of women in the U.S. and around the globe speaking out against the recent U.S. Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Female and transgender artists are rising in defiance and defense in places like Iran, taking to the streets in performative acts of protest such as burning head scarfs and cutting their hair. Historic protests, which now include children, started on September 17, after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after being arrested by “morality police” and taken to a “re-education center” for not properly wearing her head scarf.

In Iraq, the Taliban is again prohibiting women and girls from attending school. Women have risen with both power and beauty in solidarity with their communities, all risking the world to lift their voices.

Why? Why are women, their strength, their beauty, their mystery, such a threat to autocratic rulers and societies? I found this article from Foreign Affairs to provide illuminating answers that also helped me understand why the voices of women and transgender artists are so powerful. You can read more here about the backlash under authoritarian leaders as well as illiberal democrats: Revenge of the Patriarchs

Thank you to our artists for keeping these threats to women front and center in our thinking and in helping to strengthen our determination to participate in the democratic process.


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