As a black man in America, I sometimes get overwhelmed and discouraged by what I see — from the police killings of unarmed black men, to the unequal educational system, to the mass incarceration of poor people of color in for-profit prisons. But when I look in my daughters’ eyes, I see the courage of Harriet Tubman, the patience of Rosa Parks, the soul of Ida B. Wells, the passion of Fannie Lou Hamer and the heart of Angela Davis. I see the future. I see hope. And I’m inspired because it will be women who lead the future. That is why I am writing to express my unconditional solidarity with the women’s strike on International Women’s Day, March 8.
It would be easy for me to say that I am supporting this day of resistance because I have three daughters and I want nothing to stand in their way as they attempt to achieve their goals. I could also say that I am doing this because my wife, Pele — my best friend and soulmate — is of Samoan descent and has lived the struggle of being a woman and the daughter of immigrants. But this issue is a lot bigger than my dreams for my own family. It’s about the women across the earth who are suffering: women who are less worried about a glass ceiling than they are about a collapsing floor. It’s about women of color across the earth who live on less than one dollar a day. It’s about all women who are subject to sexual assault and violence.
I stand with the women’s strike because I agree with the unity statement from the strike’s platform, which reads that this day is “organized by and for women who have been marginalized and silenced by decades of neoliberalism directed towards working women, women of color, Native women, disabled women, immigrant women, Muslim women, lesbian, queer and trans women.”
I encourage my fellow football players to join me in standing with these brave women from across the world. As Angela Davis once said, “To understand how any society functions you must understand the relationship between the men and the women.” By that metric, our society is failing. We need change, and to quote Frederick Douglass, “If there is no struggle there is no progress.” To learn more about International Women’s Day, visit www.womensmarch.com/womensday.