Advocate Stories, Policy Updates
Why We Fight
by Ashley Lidow on Apr 27, 2018
At WREN we are constantly trying to educate our members on the importance of using your voice and taking action. . One of our key focus areas is leadership because when there is diversity in leadership we get better results. Some may say that diversity will happen organically, but unfortunately that is not the case; often our systems are set up so that those who are in power remain in power. Think that gender discrimination or bias is a thing of the past? Check out the comments made by certain elected officials during a confirmation hearing in 2013. (S/O to reporter Andrew Brown for raising awareness to the issue).
Unfortunately this is not the first instance of unconscious bias or discrimination that we have witnessed from the legislature this year. In January, Senator Margie Bright Matthews spoke to her legislative colleagues on the Senate floor with distaste for the lack of diversity on the legislative commission that nominates judges.
“Shame on you for not following your own statute which says you have to be fair in the selection of this commission,” State Sen. Margie Bright Matthews, D-Colleton, said Thursday. “Shame on you for not considering minorities. Shame on you for not considering women. Shame on you for not taking care of your constituents.”This is why we still have work to do. We need to have open discussions about the unconscioius bias and discrimination we see every day.We need to actively question and challenge norms even if they suit our privilege. Each of us is responsible for ensuring South Carolina is an inclusive and equitable space for all citizens.
Looking for ways to get started? Support voter registration drives, ask candidates questions about diversity and inclusion, run for a local board or commission, and speak up when you see unconscious bias and discrimination happening.
I will leave you with my favorite quote from Paulo Freire: “Washing one’s hands from a conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not be neutral.”