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A Year of Yes: My art submission for #PowerToThePolls

During my Year of Yes, I decided to submit more of my collage work for contest consideration. Today I put together my Power To The Polls submission for the open call for art being run by Amplifier. What do you think?

The Modern Woman

The Modern Woman

 

In the pause: Follow Shirley Chisholm’s example and create your seat at the table

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” ~Shirley Chisholm, first black woman elected to the United States Congress, first black candidate for a major party’s nomination for President, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination

In other words, make your own space. Get in there, and create one. An invitation isn’t always offered. And while I would love to tell you that patience is a virtue, I’ve found that patience creates just one thing—waiting. For our turn. To be smart enough, capable enough, and experienced enough. We are constantly waiting to be ready to do something. Stop waiting. The truth is you are enough, right now, just as you are. And if for some reason that doesn’t work, then create the whole damn table and invite people to join you. Make room for yourself and for others. There’s so much more to be gained by all of us if we foster inclusion rather than exclusion. Open up your mind, heart, eyes, and ears. Speak up, rise up, and take others with you. That’s the name of the game in 2018, and we’re all invited to play.

In the pause: Bravo to Time’s People of Year – #TheSilenceBreakers Who Launched the Rallying Cry #MeToo

Thank you to everyone who shared their story so that others with stories could be free to tell them. Because of you, people are being held accountable for their actions. Our fight to be heard and believed isn’t over. We have many more miles and years to travel together to find true equality and equity for all, and no one can deny that we’re on our way.

time person of the year

In the pause: I’m tweeting about the good work of women with the hashtag #amazingwomen

Are you tired of men behaving badly filling up your social media feeds? Me, too. I absolutely believe they need to be called on the carpet for their actions and that their behavior must come to a swift and complete end. I also know that there are incredible women all over the world doing amazing work that needs to be celebrated just as loudly. That’s why I’m making the commitment to send at least one tweet a day to share good news that women are creating. I’ll be using the hashtag #amazingwomen. I hope you’ll join me and spread the word.

In the pause: Some words for the good guys

This morning, I have some words about men. I have long-held Charlie Rose as one of my inspirations in journalism. My eyes teared up hearing the accusations yesterday, and I’m so upset for the women whose lives and careers were harmed by his actions.

I know a lot of my female friends are losing heart that there are no good men out there in any field. While I’m outraged by how pervasive this issue is among men I never thought would behave this way, I also want to say that I’m not losing faith in an entire gender. There are a lot of fantastic men in my life who are dear friends. They care deeply about people and the world at large. They work hard and they’re kind, funny, and supportive. I just want to make sure that as a society we are looking at people as individuals and not painting with a broad brush, especially with an issue as important as this one.

Good guys, I know that you have often felt like you will never win. I never believed that. Good guys, in the end, will always win. And to my female friends, I hear you, I see you, and I support you. We are in this together, and my hope is that this painful upheaval now will lead to a more just and fair world for everyone.

I love you. Have a good Tuesday.

In the pause: Featured in Women’s National Book Association Members Write Now column

Grandmas-Special-HerbsThank you to Women’s National Book Association – NYC Chapter for making me their Members Write Now feature this month. Read an excerpt of my book at http://wnba-nyc.org/members-write-now-christa-avampato/.

 

In the pause: What men can do in the wake of #MeToo

The outpouring of honesty and support in the wake of #MeToo stories is the only light I can see in this darkness. With every post, I am growing even more resolved to help women and girls discover and use their voices to speak their truths. I have also been very grateful for the men in my life who have come forward to say, “I hear you. I see you. I believe you. What can I do to help?” Here are my answers:

  • Be a role model for young men and boys. Whether you’re a father, uncle, teacher, family friend, or mentor, you have an opportunity to teach young men and boys how to be upstanding people. Use that opportunity wisely.
  • When you see poor behavior from other men, speak out against it right then and there in the moment. On the street, at work, at bars and restaurants, on the subway. Yes, the problem is that rampant and pervasive. It’s everywhere.
  • Listen and talk to the women and girls in your lives about their experiences. Be their allies and advocates. They will appreciate your support.
  • Help to raise our girls and boys to have a zero tolerance policy for violence of any kind—physical, emotional, and verbal.
  • And if you don’t know what to do or say, ask us. Together, we can break this cycle so women and girls no longer have to live with the scars of sexual harassment and assault.

 

In the pause: Me too. And other things on my mind related to the rampant problems of sexual assault and harassment.

Me too.

If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too.” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.

And here are some other things that are on my mind as I watch my social media feeds fill up with this very sad realization that we have been harmed for far too long:

– As someone who has had to call people out for poor behavior (publicly, loudly, and repeatedly), we must have each other’s backs. It is an extremely sad fact that I have experienced even more bullying from other women than I have from men. Even though bullying is not assault, it is certainly harassment. And ladies, we just cannot tolerate this anymore, collectively or individually. Women who treat people badly, whether those people are male or female, must also be called on the carpet and stopped.

– This is not a male versus female problem. This is a human problem. I am incredibly fortunate that the men in my life are upstanding, respectful, and kind. (As one friend recently pointed out, a**holes don’t last long in my world.) Ladies, if someone mistreats you, promptly get rid of him. And if there are reasons you can’t get rid of him, then get help immediately from friends, family members, support groups, co-workers, or public services. This kind of man is not good enough for you. Either he treats you well, or he gets his walking papers. Period. I have seen far too many of my amazing female friends waste their time and energy in relationships with men who do not deserve them. It’s far better to not be in a relationship than to be in one with a man who isn’t good for you. I have learned this the hard way.

– Do not suffer in silence. Intimidation is one of the prime ways that sexual harassment and assault is perpetuated, and perpetrators count on the fact that you won’t say something to someone. Stand up, speak out, and get support. If you don’t know who to call, then call me. I’ll help. I’ll always help.

In the pause: The O’Reilly Factor is only the tip of the iceberg of the problems women face in the workplace

This article is a good primer on the many struggles that women face in the workplace, with one glaring omission: 50% of all workplace bullying is between a female boss and a female employee. I have been on the ugly receiving end of that scenario several times. It’s awful. And it has to stop.

Women, we must support and encourage one another just as much as we seek to right the horrible wrongs of sexual harassment. A healthy workplace will not be created if we just focus on gender disparity in all its hideous forms. For every O’Reilly, there are many more acts of micro-aggression that over time do just as much damage. This is not an issue of men vs. women. This is a human issue, and everyone needs to be a part of solving it. O’Reilly and others like him got away with his behavior for so long because too many people, men and women, looked the other way because they weren’t directly impacted.

The workplace too often lacks empathy, compassion, and true collaboration. That plays out in wage and promotion disparity, diverse representation at every level of a company, in products and product marketing, and in daily team dynamics. To solve problems in the workplace and in the world, we need to stand side-by-side, men and women, roll up our sleeves, and solve problems together.

In-fighting and aggression in any form doesn’t solve anything; it makes everything worse for everyone—employees, employers, companies, shareholders, and customers. When we go to work tomorrow, let’s not think about how we’ll get even or get our fair share. Let’s take action to make the environment better for all people. Let’s raise the tide.

In the pause: A shout out of thanks and gratitude to the men who supported the Women’s March

Thank you to all of the men, and especially my male friends, who supported the women’s marches all over the world. I’m grateful for all of the efforts you made to support the marches in a myriad of ways—for being at the marches, for taking care of kids so the women in your life could march, and for every text and social media message of support. It is all appreciated more than you know. I’m lucky to have you in my life. Thank you for being on this journey, for courageously standing up for women (especially in situations when men are saying and doing things that are disrespectful), and for raising your voices with ours. The world needs more of you.

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