The Power of Being Surrounding By MAKERS

As a child growing up in the Bronx, what I knew of the world was limited to the city block where I lived. My two sisters and I spent much of our time at school and behind the bolted door of our one-bedroom apartment.  We knew, despite wanting so badly to play outside with our friends, that staying inside was for our own good. 


Unlike many children today, we did not have access to cable television or to the Internet.  All we had was our creativity, the worlds we explored through books, and the lessons of PBS, the only TV programming our mother allowed us to watch.  When I think of the small world I knew as a child and the expansive one I know now, I cannot help thinking about how far my sisters and I have come and how thankful I am to the many MAKERS in my life, who have helped me to see more than Creston Avenue in the Bronx.


This spirit of gratitude accompanied me as I walked into the MAKERS: Women Who Make America documentary premiere. So many influential and inspiring women surrounded me, and I could not believe I was among such amazing women as a MAKER myself.  As I sat in the theatre at Alice Tully Hall and watched the stories of women who fought for dignity and a voice, I realized how important, how necessary this project is to me and, more importantly, to the many young boys and girls who are dying for role models and stories of resilience and ingenuity.


For me, it was the stories of my mother, of Rosa Parks, of Audre Lorde, of Frida Kahlo, of Oprah Winfrey, and of so many more women that kept me going at the most difficult times. Though I did not know many of these women personally, they were part of my survival.  Their stories, like the MAKERS’ stories profiled online and in the documentary, pushed me to strive for more and to keep going despite adversity.  I am a MAKER because of their stories, and there is a myriad of other MAKERS in the making, who will get the needed nudge and dose of confidence after learning the stories of the many MAKERS who have made and continue to make America.


Photo credit: Brian Virgo/AOL