I had the opportunity to attend the Women Who Rock conference this weekend in Seattle, hosted by both the University of Washington and Seattle University. My old friend, Quetzal Flores invited me to be part of a panel who would attend the workshops and then lead a discussion in a general session. Although I had never done anything like this before, I was excited to be included and I looked forward to being in the company of so many dynamic women. I met archivists, writers, artists, musicians, dancers, scholars, community activists, students and filmmakers, all interested in voicing and listening to what women and especially women of color, had to say about a wide variety of topics. These topics ranged from how to build community through music to ways in which we can assert our reproductive rights, concerns about stereotypes, how to empower young girls, gender and transgender inequality, gaining and disseminating historical perspective.
From keynote speaker to closing, the participants were embraced by a palpable feminist energy that felt assertive, determined and mature. Ideas were like ripe fruit harvested from the trees that our sisters before us had planted many years ago. I had the feeling that the seeds had been lying dormant, but on fertile ground. The soil had thawed. We had endured the cold negation of the term "feminist" over the years and now here it was again, bearing fruit to nourish our souls.
For me, the conference was exciting, emotional and above all, inspiring. It reminded me of all the work that is yet to be done and it made me feel that I, along with the other people in the room, had the power to do that work.