Women of the Week: Taylor Swift's Call to Action Spikes Voter Registration
Oct 12, 2018
There was a lot good news for women around the globe from #MeToo impacting India to International Day of the Girl putting the spotlight on future change-makers. Here in the U.S., let's just ignore the Kanye-Trump sideshow and focus on how these five women are making change that impacts their communities, our country, and all corners of the world.
This week Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad, one of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Winners, announced that she is donating her entire $500,000 award to fellow victims of sexual violence.
On Oct. 5, Murad joined the ranks of Malala Yousafzai, Mother Teresa, and more as the 17th woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize and the first Iraqi in its 117-year history. When accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, she pledged to donate "100 percent of the money" to her organization Nadia's Initiative that helps and advocates for women and minorities in Iraq.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad is pledging all of her prize money toward ending sexual violence pic.twitter.com/BuOYmYBGPO— NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 10, 2018
"I think of my mother, who was murdered by [ISIS], the children with whom I grew up, and what we must do to honor them," she wrote in a statement. "Persecution of minorities must end."
Last Sunday, Taylor Swift made headlines when she broke her political silence and endorsed Democratic candidates in Tennessee. In a lengthy Instagram post, Swift pleaded her 112 million followers to raise their voice and get involved in the midterm elections, which is seeing a record number of women running. "So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count," she wrote. Tennessee, which had a voter registration deadline on Tuesday, saw a spike of nearly 5,000 registrations—nearly doubling the previous single-day record, according to CNBC. Nationally, more than 100,000 Americans registered to vote between Swift's Sunday post and Tuesday, when 14 states had registration deadlines.
I'm writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I'll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I've been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈
Lynzy Lab Stewart
Lynzy Lab Stewart gets all the likes this week for the best response to the President's comments that it's a very "scary time for young men in America" after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford brought forth sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
In a video that's now gone viral with more than 6 million views on Twitter, Stewart sings a parody song about what it's like to be woman in 2018. "I can't walk to my car late at night while on the phone. I can't open up my windows when I'm home alone. I can't go to a bar without a chaperone and I can't wear a miniskirt if it's the only one I own," Stewart sings while playing the ukulele.
Watch for yourself.
As the only female player on her middle school's football team in North Kansas City, Mo., Neveah Spillman has never been intimidated. But this fall, the 13-year-old, who's played the sport since the age of 4, will prove she's got real grit on the gridiron: She's taking the field as the team's starting quarterback, scoring a touchdown for other girls who hope to do the same one day, too.
Your daily dose of #blackgirlmagic courtesy of Nevaeh Spillman, a 13-year-old who's breaking gender barriers as the only girl player on her school's football team. Oh, and did we mention she's the starting quarterback? https://t.co/j3c821E248— #becauseofthemwecan (@Becauseofthem) October 10, 2018
"Most girls don't get recognized for playing this kind of sport, so when you hear people talking about you, it makes you feel good," Spillman told Fox 4 KC.
This week, Michelle Obama celebrated International Day of the Girl in a big way. The former first lady and activist launched "Global Girls Alliance" to support nearly 1,500 girls' education groups around the world.
"When you educate a girl, you educate a family, a community, a country," she said in an interview with the "Today Show."
There are few things that inspire me like seeing the potential of adolescent girls around the world. Today, on International #DayoftheGirl, I'll be on the @TodayShow to discuss the ways we can help adolescent girls get the education they deserve. I hope you'll join me. https://t.co/XwBEoFK3nZ— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) October 11, 2018
In reaction to the current climate around sexual assault, Obama had a simple message for women and men who feel uneasy: "It's up to women out there to say, 'sorry you feel uncomfortable but I'm paving the way for the next generation."