We See You: A Mixtape for Mujeres Mágicas

As March comes to a close, we want to take every opportunity possible to recognize the invaluable contributions womxn have made to shaping systems of holistic wellbeing and conscious connectedness in individuals, communities, and this world. We salute the lives and labor of womxn - all that is seen - and even more all that is unseen, underrepresented, and undervalued each and every day.

Below our Initiatives of Change USA staff shares a mixtape paying tribute to a diverse set of Mujeres Mágicas who have inspired us, who keep us focused, vibing forward, and on the move. We are thankful to womxn who open narrow spaces within history. They take fire, dirt and air and create an alchemy of invitation for the most neglected amongst us to thrive and flourish.

In celebration of this dynamism of humanity, we also amplify the names of womxn in the collages below, crafted by our staff and naming those within our biological and chosen families. We are grateful for your critical compassion, presence, energy, and unrelenting love.

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PBI COLOMBIA: WOMEN LEADERS

Read the full magazine issue here.

PBI Colombia’s March 2016 magazine highlights the work women leaders do in Colombia. This is not just one woman, but women in general who do amazing work at the local level. Building peace in Colombia is a collective effort, these women are human rights defenders who contribute from their territories to make everyday peace possible, they are the lifeline of small and big communities in a country that is just as diverse as they are.
— Eliana Jimeno

CZECH WOMEN LEADERS Activating Movements of Change

Pictured above: Božena Němcová ; Milada Horáková; and Otta Bednářová. Read Dr. Timmerman’s keynote address, “Desire: Gift of the Spirit” , at the Interfaith Sexual Trauma Institute in 2000.

Božena Němcová (1820-1862) was an unconventional writer and artist who pushed limits placed on women in Czech during the final phase of the National Revival movement which regenerated an active practice in using the Czech language culture and national identity.

Milada Horáková (1901-1950) was a Czech politician who faced the death penalty after being falsely charged with conspiracy and treason against the government. She was a staunch activist for women’s rights, social justice and people-centered democracy.

Otta Bednářová (born 1927) worked at Czechoslovak Television and broadcasted reports of the invasion in August 1968. From 1974, as part of the dissident movement, she actively participated in duplicating and disseminating samizdat literature by retyping the works of banned authors such as Ludvík Vaculík and Karel Kaplan as well as the Charter 77 petition led by Czech writers and intellectuals demanding the government recognize basic human rights.  

I also want to recognize my incredible mom, Anezka Hromkova, who devoted her life to her family. After the escape of my uncle, Bishop Peter Esterka, my mom had to fight to keep our family alive while being under police surveillance. She was not allowed to continue her schooling and had to accept demeaning jobs to survive, struggle and fight. She is my hero.

Additionally, I lift up Dr. Joan Timmerman, a dear friend that I could not imagine life without. She is a professor and former chair in the department of Theology at the College of Saint Catherine, Saint Paul MN, where she began teaching in 1968.  Dr. Timmerman teaches university courses in sexuality and spirituality and has written extensively on the topic including two books, The Mardi Gras Syndrome: Rethinking Christian Sexuality, (1984), and Sexuality and Spiritual Growth, (1992). 
— Jitka Hromek-Vaitla

REV. DR. KATIE CANNON

I lift up the late Rev. Dr. Katie Cannon, Womanist, Professor and Theologian. The first African American ordained in the United Presbyterian Church (USA), Cannon focused her work in the areas of Christian Ethics, Womanist Theology, and women in religion and society. She lectured nationally on theological and ethical topics and is the author and editor of numerous articles and seven books including “Katie’s Canon: Womanism and the Soul of the Black Community” and “Black Womanist Ethics”. She also began the Center for Womanist Leadership at Union Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA before her passing in 2018. She’s so important because she speaks on critical issues that Black women face in society, especially when it comes to practices of warped Christianity.
— LaDora Carter
 

NAOMI SHIHAB NYE

Listen to the full recording of Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Your Life is a Poem” at  On Being . Image by  Rajah Bose/Gonzaga University /Flickr.

Listen to the full recording of Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Your Life is a Poem” at On Being. Image by Rajah Bose/Gonzaga University/Flickr.

These last few years I’ve been cultivating a new love for poetry. One of my favorite contemporary poets is Naomi Shihab Nye, whose voice I first heard on an On Being episode. With family roots in Ramallah, Palestine and Ferguson, MO, Nye draws from various aspects of her identity and experience to talk about violence, separation, kindness and grief in ways that really resonate with me. I keep a book of her poetry in my office for times when I need a new perspective on things.
— Sarah Workman

JOJO ABOT

My friend, JOJO ABOT, is a visionary force and such a compelling figure to be around. This Ghanaian woman works her magic in music, visual arts, fashion, design, and particularly, in cultivating creative and energetic community homes across the globe. She is a sight to behold on stage, tuning into her artistic frequencies and calling those who witness to raise their vibrations to meet her.
— Sionne Rameah Neely