When Women of Color or Native/First Nations Women Speak

I can remember exactly what it was that happening almost a month ago that led me to ask “what happens when women speak out’? This certainly before the accusations of misconduct and misogyny in workplace, but after the same accusations had been made by African American women.

I can remember the exact incident in the world of children’s literature that took a just little wind out of me. What she’d said was beautiful and she’d never really spoken out before but louder than all the gratitude and admirations for her outspokenness were death threats. Words are powerful, aren’t they?

I think women are still expected to be quiet in some quarters. And, in the same spaces, marginalized women are expected to know better. I, and most of my friends, avoid those quarters. I’m asking several women of voice, “what happens when First Nations/Native women speak out? When Women of Color speak up”? Their prompts are the following.

  • How do women use art as resistance?
  • What does it mean when WOC or N/FN women are called “strong”?
  • Who are the LGBT WOC and N/FN women who paved the way in children’s literature?
  • Who was your disabled WOC or N/FN role model?
  • What mark are women who are independently publishing making on children’s literature?
  • How much louder must the voices of disabled WOC and N/FN women get so that they can be heard?
  • Why all the blacklash, clapbacks and tone policing toward WOC/N/FN women? How to handle it?
  • How are we reaching the women of tomorrow?
  • Are WOC and N/FN women allying with other black or brown or queer or disabled women?
  • What do WOC and N/FN women have to celebrate in children’s literature?
  • What do the images in graphic novels or picture books tell our girls about speaking up?
  • Why do you speak out?

Over the next few weeks, you’ll read their responses. I hope they motivate you to find your voice as well. We have work to do.


Kelly Starlings Lyon: How Do Women Use Art As Resistance?
Zetta Elliott: Nice Is Not Enough
Traci Sorell: Why Do You Speak Out?
Justina Ireland: There is A Minefield and You Will Become a Demolitions Expert
Ambelin Kwaymullina: On Being Loud and Hopeful
Cheryl Willis Hudson: Women Lead the Independent Publishing Movement



“And of course I am afraid, because the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation, and that always seems fraught with danger.”

(Audre Lorde)

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