Monday, January 11, 2010

Activist Vital Stats: Laura Craig Mason, Updated

This new feature will showcase activists that embody the spirit of Split This Rock in the world. If you would like to suggest an activist to feature, please contact me at khsplitthisrock at gmail dot com.

Activist Vital Stats: Laura Craig Mason

Name: Laura Craig Mason

Location: Montgomery County, MD.

Causes: Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force: The Washington Area Clinic Defense Task Force is an all-volunteer, non-violent group founded in the 1980s to promote peaceful and safe access to women's health clinics in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. I have been lucky enough to work with them for 5 years, and it has been both challenging and rewarding work.

Visions in Feminism: Visions in Feminism is a local conference held annually in the DC area since 2001. Each year Visions in Feminism seeks to provide a forum for diverse perspectives on feminist praxis. Last year I taught at the conference, and this year I am lucky enough to be on the collective that is putting it together.

Personal website: My podcast ‘Fully Engaged Feminism’ is now 1 year old!!

Inspirational Quote: "My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you...We can learn to work and speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to work and speak when we are tired. For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us."- from “The Transformation of Silence Into Language and Action “by Audre Lorde. I have the inside of my arm tattooed with ‘Your silence will not protect you.’

A favorite poem or poet: There are too many poets & poems to single out as ‘the one best’ but time and again I turn to the writings of Marge Piercy. I really love her poem ‘For Strong Women’ from The Moon is Always Female.

A strong woman is a woman in whose head
a voice is repeating, I told you so,
ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,
why aren't you feminine, why aren't
you soft, why aren't you quiet, why
aren't you dead?

A strong woman is a woman determined
to do something others are determined
not to be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
a manhole cover with her head, she is trying
to butt her way though a steel wall.
Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
to be made say, hurry, you're so strong.

A strong woman is a woman bleeding
inside. A strong woman is a woman making
herself strong every morning while her teeth
loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
every battle a scar. A strong woman
is a mass of scar tissue that aches
when it rains and wounds that bleed
when you bump them and memories that get up
in the night and pace in boots to and fro.

A strong woman is a woman who craves love
like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
A strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
sucking her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as the wind fills a sail.

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