March is Women’s History Month. Let’s paint the town purple and celebrate!

I’ve been a woman for almost 47 years and, the older I get, the more I love the thought.

To be someone’s mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, spouse, friend, sister, aunt, and/or chief cheerleader delights my heart.

Look around and you’ll find millions more, and we come in all shapes, sizes, hues and configurations, and we are essential in every way.

As a girl, I watched the women in my life move my family, the community, the church — everything — forward.

And as I reflect today on who I’ve become, I see Jacqueline, Emma, Dorothy, Cynthia, Elizabeth, Vivian, Orelia, Clara, Marie, Bernice, Lula, Catherine, Callie, Florence, Irene, Hazel, Anne, Mayme and Velma — in big and small ways.

I’m living their lessons of self-sufficiency, integrity, honor, honesty and hope. I learned kindness by watching them help their friends through good and bad times.

My mother ran an Uber- and LYFT-style service for the neighbors long before these ride-share companies had a clue.

My grandmother Orelia made us repeat the words “get” and “can” over and over until we understood that “kin” and “git” were not the same words.

She’d bring home Highlights for Children to expand our minds, and we were all so proud when she studied for the GED and received it when she was 56. She made sure we understood the power of lifelong learning.

I was happy to see so many women vying for the presidential nomination this time around. Even though most have dropped out or suspended their campaigns, they changed the conversation about which issues matter.

Former Bennett College President Julianne Malveaux was right when she said every issue is a women’s issue.

From men’s health to politics to the quality of baby food and disposable diapers, we care, and our voices inform and enlighten.

Women continue to prove they can do anything to which they set their minds, from being fighter pilots to Supreme Court justices;

To calculating how to get folks into space, to raising their voices on climate change, being governor, astronauts, heads of major corporations.

They can not only bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan, but also they can manage the corporation that designs the home and furnishings where all this occurs.

Surprisingly, in all the places we find women, there are so many firsts still to be done.

If actress Cherry Jones from Paris can play a U.S. president on television, surely it won’t be long before there’s a real one.

I love asking children what they want to be when they grow up, and inevitably some little girl will share her intentions to be the first president.

With the environment we’re living in, they have potential role models and will have that opportunity.

I am thankful for the women who came before me and pushed and shoved, scrubbed and cooked their way to a better life, not so much for themselves, but for the generations that followed.

They kicked down doors and barriers, against all odds, through frustration, heartbreak, name-calling and all manner of foolishness and mistreatment to conquer, succeed, overcome and arrive so that our daughters, granddaughters and all girls could spread their wings and soar.

This month, as we celebrate the extraordinary women in our lives, take a minute and make a gift in honor or memory of these amazing and influential women.

Remember the lessons they taught and showed us, and understand that God has done a great thing. We are who we are because of them.

 

CYNTHIA A. BOND HOPSON, Ph.D., of Cordova is a native Tennessean, educator, author and mentor. She and her husband, Roger, lived in Paris twice. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook@drbondhopson.

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