October 9, 2007

Stopping The War On Women Of Color: Plan Ahead To Wear Red

Please plan now to wear red on Wednesday, October 31, 2007.

Red is my favorite color and I have never considered it a color associated with "looseness" or the willingness to be loud. Red (for me) represents energy, love, passion, and almost every other emotion that makes life worth living. I've told my friends that when or if I get married again, the color red will be in my wedding dress.

I remember shopping with my mother and older sister when I was a child. I'd watch them pull dresses from the racks in the stores and pronounce some colors "too loud" to wear. It seems that red and yellow were always the "too loud" ones. When I grew up, I decided red looked beautiful with my brown skin as a background. One of my favorite summer dresses is a yellow floral.

When I'm wearing red on October 31st, I hope I'll have the chance to tell someone why. I hope I'll have the chance to remind someone that too much violence is directed against women of color in this country and throughout the world. Why have we become so accepting of this treatment and of this representation? My television has been relegated to a traffic/weather announcement appliance, but I know the statistics about how many hours most people spend watching TV. I know the images projected on the tube will shape their responses to real people. Real people who look like me.

While I wasn't looking, something happened. Something changed. What happened in Dunbar Village in June of this year reminds me that one day I'm going to be an old, vulnerable woman living (most likely) alone somewhere. I don't want to spend my old age (or my middle age) surrounded by people who think because I'm female, frail, or alone, that I'm an easy mark, a victim who cannot fight back, or someone that no one will come to assist.

So I'm going to wear red on October 31 in the hope that lots of other people will do the same thing. I'm wearing red to challenge the idea that as a woman of color, I'm less deserving of the respect, courtesy, or appreciation shown to other women. I'm wearing red to say it's OK to be loud if you need to be heard. Maybe that's why red is my favorite color.

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