Exclusive Interview With Xochitl Oseguera: On We Won’t Wait to Uplift Women
Few things can help uplift our communities tremendously like empowering women. When it comes to being used, ignored, exploited, and abused, no one has it worse than low-income women and women of color. The women at We won’t Wait 2016 took matters into their own hands to make a change for the better for one of the most vulnerable people. Therefore, helping us all. Here’s what Xochitl Osegura had to say about the We Won’t Wait campaign and how we can get involved.
Why is it important for all of us to stand behind a campaign such as We Won’t Wait 2016 and not just women of color and low-income women?
The issues that affect women of color and low-income women ultimately affect the well being of our country. Women are running families, raising children, working in our communities, supporting the economy and contributing to our society. When people at all income levels, of all backgrounds and ethnicities and all genders stand with women of color and low-income women, they are raising all boats.
Brigham Young says that “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” Is the campaign in the same vein as what he says? Why the focus on women and not women and men?
In every election, the focus is primarily on men yet women voter at higher percentages. It’s time to make that the issues that affect women and their families are at the forefront of this election. These “kitchen table” issues — fair pay, paid family leave, elder care, child care, earned sick days, equal pay, immigration, criminal justice reform, gun violence, reproductive justice, and access to health care — shape policies that allow us all to not just survive but thrive.
One goal of the campaign is for it to reach public discourse via the media. Do you think the media needs to do better in covering the well-being –physical, financial, mental, you name it- of women of color and low-income women? If so, why do you think that is?
There has been a notion that the well-being of women of color, of low-income women and of their families is not important to our nation. The current notion that is prevalent in our mainstream media and too often, they do not cover these issues unless pressed, focusing instead on macro issues of the economy, politics and international affairs. That notion is wrong. The issues that affect women and their families every day affect our nation’s well-being. Not only are we an incredible economic and work force that lifts our nation, Mahatma Gandhi is attributed with saying that, “the measure of a civilization is how it treats its weakest members.” The media must do more to recognize the contributions of women of color and low-income women, not just the vulnerabilities.
What would make the national convening of women of color and low-income women historic?
This convening is historic because this campaign is historic. Never before have so many national organizations come together to leverage the organizing power of women in an election. The convening will bring together over a thousand community organizers and activists from across the country to discuss how we can work together to make sure that public officials are taking the issues that affect us and our families seriously.
Another aim of the campaign is to have a “500,000 Kitchen Table Conversations to engage and mobilize votes and volunteer hours.” Why is it important for women to get civically involved?
Civic engagement is important for everyone. MomsRising exists because we know that mom power can change the world. Women have always been involved in social movements and they have made great strides. “We Won’t Wait” is going to capitalize on the power of women’s activism to ensure that the voices, issues and concerns of women of color and low-income women are heard, recognized and addressed in this election cycle.
How can we help?
As a member of the media, you are already helping by sharing information about this historic campaign. Your readers can help by joining “We Won’t Wait” at www.wewontwait2016.org and there, they can sign our pledge to fight for an economic agenda that spells real change for themselves and their families. They can add to the conversation by sharing their stories. And they can join the “Kitchen Table Conversations” that will happen all over the country this fall. Together we are powerful and together we will make change.
César Vargas is a writer, producer, advocate and social media PR and marketing strategist. He founded UPLIFTT (United People for Latinos in Film TV and Theater) and is president of Burning Ones Productions. He was named one of 40 under 40: Latinos in American Politics.His op-eds and quotes can be found on the Huffington Post, Latino Rebels, Okayafrica, Okayplayer, Latino Magazine, Fox News, Sky News, NBC, Salon, and the Guardian. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter at @CesarVargas365, and Facebook.com/CesarVargas365