Last week we had hundreds of people attend our virtual events—including RSVPs from hundreds of people who had never encountered Chairman Mom before. I’m still processing it all.
If one thing stood out amidst those sessions, it was that this audience wants to do the hard work of dismantling oppressive systems and structures within themselves and in the world.
A stand-out moment during our event last week with Shannon “Badass Cross Stitch” Downey was when Nicole—an accountant who had never attended a Chairman Mom event before—detailed how she’d seen up close how the deck was stacked against under-represented groups and that she, too, wanted to burn things down.
You expect the “BURN IT TO THE GROUND!” attitude from Shannon, or frankly, from me, but from Nicole, the seemingly mild-mannered accountant? We all lost our minds. I hope Nicole comes back soon!
This was echoed in the women who stayed for hours, rapt listening to Breeze and Femily and Adimika on anti-racism. In these sessions we explored not only the need to burn our own role in white supremacist systems and the “colorblindness” many of us were raised with to the ground, but in some ways systems like capitalism that prop up these unfair social orders.
Is burning things to the ground—whether it’s your own life, a part of your soul that’s no longer serving you, or the world you live in—painful? Sure, but two things struck me last week.
The first was Breeze saying, “It’s traumatizing to be born into this system of power” even as a white woman: How much work we do to constantly justify it to ourselves, the fragmentation of humanity, the fragility when it’s called out…That too is work and painful, Breeze argued, and it’s work that makes the world worse, not better. On one level, neither is “easy.”
Put another way: Both ways are painful. When faced with moving forward or defending the past, at least moving forward changes the world for future generations.
And Shannon noted this: Every time she has burned down her life to start anew, she’s been confident for two reasons. The first: “I have complete faith in my ability to figure things out because I’ve always figured things out before.”
And the second: “My people. As long as I have a network and I have people, I can do anything.”
This is where we are as a nation right now, and these are the women who are flocking to our community. It doesn’t matter where you live, what you believe, or what political party you are a member of: We are attracting women who want to create a better world and are done pretending the one we are living one is fair. Even if the world order benefits them, they aren’t OK with it. This is the energy that has hundreds of people attending our virtual events.
Listening from the other room to these Zooms for weeks, Paul said to me, “You know what sets us apart of from every other ‘feminist’ community I’m seeing? We are ‘burn it down, co.’”
There’s nuance to these conversations that’s missing here—there are controlled burns, there are spot fires, this isn’t about total nihilistic eradication. But if you feel this way and your people aren’t around you geographically, come to our events where they gather at least three times a week and our site where they gather daily. Warm yourself by our fire.
We have some exciting upcoming changes to Chairman Mom coming up as this sharpened vision coalesces and takes form. One you may have noticed last week: We’ve got new regular contributors in this space. Adimika Arthur, Breeze Harper, and Amanda Munday will be joining Lily and me writing every week.
I have felt for months that we need more diversity of voices, strength, and motherhood coming to you in this space. I want to share the inspiration and wisdom that I’ve gained from each of these women on a regular basis. Each of these new contributors have different corners of the world and the economy they are trying to rebuild, burn down, and improve, as well as their own unique challenges as mothers.
In the meantime, we’ve got several exciting events this week.
On Tuesday, Kt McBratney is leading a discussion on the importance of being more “childish” and on not quite taking ourselves so seriously; that could also be a discussion about unlearning all that we’ve learned as adults that may not be serving us. (This is something that came up a few times last week in our discussions on race…) Kt is a phenomenal facilitator of conversations. This will be awesome and a way to step back from everything in the moment and reflect on childhood and the childishness within ourselves.
We have part three of our series with phenom career coach Joanna Bloor. WOW was the last one amazing. My favorite quote was part of Joanna’s rant about why you shouldn’t be a “get sh*t done girl”: “Get sh*t done girls get given stuff to do. Get sh*t done girls don’t get to decide what gets done.”
Come see why one of our users said “my hands are shaking a little bit right now” after the first Joanna session. Thousands of dollars in life coaching—for free.
And then because that’s not enough, Allison Esposito Medina, founder of Hire Tech Ladies, is leading a workshop on job hunting in a time of crisis. You may not think you need this now, but women are bearing the brunt of layoffs right now, and as Joanna said in her first session, “We are all auditioning for our jobs every day right now.”
Please send these events to those you love who may need them. I look forward to gathering with many of you again this week.
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- School is over but TBH, this means I’ve got three more hours a day I have to entertain my kids…help
- Is Father’s Day triggering for you?
- Fun Pride activities for queer kids during lockdown?