By Ámate Pérez
I have been blessed to be invited to live in the middle of 10 acres of undeveloped land in Point Reyes National seashore. My first few months of living so remotely, I dusted off all my womxn self defense skills, I was terrified that someone would come up and harm me. Now 20 months later, I know the land protects me. As I reflect on International Womxn Day, the links between the many ways mother earth and we womxn resist and flourish inspires me.
In March, we celebrate womxn and femme organizing and power building. We also honor the femme mother queen we owe our lives to, for her powerful modeling of resistance – Earth! Regardless of attacks against our mother, land, womxn and femmes, we resist! We both want to acknowledge those who pave the way and those who are currently putting their lives on the line to build justice. Our hope is that by shining the light on them, we can offer some level of protection for them.
Here is a list of femmestors and mother earth in evolution that inspire us…
Berta Caceres (3/4/1971 – 3/2/2015): Mounted “a grassroots campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dam builder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam” at the Río Gualcarque
Mother Earth: Even after 150 years of industrialization and extractive attacks, she fights back with hurricanes, storms and fires. And continues to bless us with food, water and air!
Dolores Cacuango Quilo (10/26/1881 – 4/23/71): known as Mamá Dulu was an Ecuadorian activist fighting for the rights of indigenous and peasant farmers.
Mother Earth: provides refuge and a hiding place for our people when they flee from military violence or when folks resist by crossing borders mother earth hides them.
We also honor the femme and Earth elements that currently fueling our collective fire:
Francia Márquez: Vice President of Colombia and organized the women of La Toma and stopped illegal gold mining on their ancestral land. She exerted steady pressure on the Colombian government and spearheaded a 10-day, 350-mile march of 80 women to the nation’s capital, resulting in the removal of all illegal miners and equipment from her community.
Elephant Seals: Made a remarkable recovery. Hunted nearly to extinction, northern elephant seals, native to the waters off the West Coast, now number more than 175,00
Frances A. Pérez-Rodriguez: Born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York, Frances has dedicated her career to making sure everyone has access to nutritious food. Frances understands the importance of growing food as an act of resistance to stop gentrification of traditionally BIPOC neighborhoods in New York.
Mycelium: produce enzymes that are efficient in breaking down a lot of different pollutants. At heart, they have natural capabilities of decomposition to restore and regenerate land.
jaye simpson: is a Two-Spirit Oji-Cree person of the Buffalo Clan with roots in Sapotaweyak and Skownan Cree Nation who often writes about being queer in the child welfare system, as well as being queer and Indigenous.
We must also honor our lives by naming the historical and current manifestations of misogyny and the intersections of colonization and enslavement on the lives of Black and Native womxn and femmes. And make the links to brutal capitalism, economies of extraction, white supremacy and patriarchy as the roots of violence against womxn and femmes.
European colonization and expansion is an on-going process that started with the dispossessed indigenous people of their land, dehumanized Africans to steal their bodies and extract labor. Colonization continues today with desecrating land through oil exploitation, mining and building of hydro-electric power plants are done in service of global corporations that continue to enrich the lives of those who have always benefited from this system. Like land, womxn’s and femme bodies are the collateral of systems aimed at amassing maximum wealth without care for life or the survival of humanity.
But building radical femme power and learning from and promoting earth resilient and regenerative practices can help us not only restore balance in our communities and also reclaim our futures. Honoring International Women’s Day means actually taking steps to PROTECT those at the frontline of our struggles. All you/us Powerful Womxn and Femmes, Presente! To our Mother Queen Earth, Presente!
Womxn and Femmes: We use womxn and femmes to include people who identify and have lived experiences of women in the world which includes trans women and non binary folks.