Woke up feeling like I just might run for president

March 1 marked the start of Women’s History Month. Looking around the city, Atlanta has many influential women, past and present. 


In the past year, Georgia politician Stacey Abrams flooded the headlines. In 2010, Abrams, according to her website, became the first woman to lead the Georgia General Assembly and was the first African American to lead in the Georgia House of Representatives. Additionally, Abrams was the first African American woman to be nominated for governor by a major party. 


These feats are not lost on Abrams, and in a 2018 interview said that “women have long been responsible without necessarily having the authority. The opportunity in this election cycle is to tie those two things together and make our country stronger for it.”


With the King Memorial only blocks from campus, Coretta Scott King has made her mark on the city’s culture. In her youth, King was active in the NAACP and, following her husband’s death, continued to advocate for human rights, same-sex marriage and world peace. She also aided in the founding of the National Organization for Women.


In her book, King wrote that she “felt that as women, we had much to contribute. In fact, for the longest time, way before I married Martin, I had believed that women should allow our essence and presence to shine, rather than letting ourselves be buried or shunted to the sidelines.” 




Senior Mya Grant also believes women have a lot to offer. Grant is the public relations director for EmpowHER GSU, an organization focused on the empowerment of women of all backgrounds, including all races, ages, cultures, economic status and religious affiliations. 


Grant describes the club as a sisterhood, an inclusive environment for students of all backgrounds. The organization discusses topics such as safe sex practices, double standards between genders and social media’s impact on mental health. 


She added that the feminist movement has historically excluded women of color from the conversation. 


“We all need to be on the same playing field,” Grant said. “I feel like it’s not fair that you have these women who are preaching feminism and women’s rights, and then some of them, they turn around and they vote for people like Donald Trump. [Women of color] are out here trying to make sure that everyone is getting their equal rights together.”


Grant said that some voters don’t practice what they preach, adding that “you have the upper class, heterosexual white women who are just like, ‘Yeah, we’re with you,’ and then turn around and vote for people in power who are the complete opposite.”


Grant cites Janelle Monáe as one of her idols. 


Monáe is a staunch feminist, with their background dancers frequently donning ruffled pants that depict vaginas. 


In class, Grant discovered another hero: Inez Kaiser. Kaiser is the first African American woman to run a public relations company with national clients. 


“I want to get more into public relations,” Grant said. “So, when I was reading that, I was like, ‘Wow, she’s the reason why people like me and women like me can actually think about doing things like that.’”




Sophomore Chip Robinson is the co-founder of Rollergirls of Georgia State. The organization puts a major emphasis on the empowerment of women and nonbinary individuals.


Robinson describes the sport as “one size fits all.”


“Our mission statement is to offer a space, as well as to play a sport, that you’re just in a community of empowerment and positivity, really,” Robinson said. “We really put a big emphasis on everyone feeling empowered and also just like, we all try to encourage each other and make each other feel confident.”


In efforts to be more inclusive, the organization is changing its name to Roller Derby at Georgia State, because “we didn’t want anyone to feel like they couldn’t be part of the team just because of its name.”


The roller derby community has historically fostered a sense of inclusivity, which is what attracts many of its participants.


“Roller derby has always been a space where the LGBTQ+ community feels welcome,” Robinson said. “It’s really a sport where you can just be whoever you want to be and express yourself. So, I think roller derby is one of the few spaces where nonbinary skaters can come and play and they aren’t excluded; there’s no judgment there. They’re just completely welcomed.” 


Robinson describes the team as a tightly knit community, with rituals to uplift one another. Practices begin with a custom called “F—ing hoorah,” in which everyone says one good thing that’s happened to them recently and the rest of the team cheers. 


Robinson believes roller derby creates an important space of inclusivity. 


“I just want everybody to feel like they have a voice and [like] they’re represented,” Robinson said. “I think that’s so important. I’m glad the world’s kind of shifted towards that, and people are trying to listen to others … So they can create more inclusive spaces, and I just think roller derby is another part of that.”


Faces of Feminism


Senior Amna Ali is the co-president of Faces of Feminism, a reproductive justice organization. 


Ali describes reproductive justice as “the idea that people should have autonomy over their bodies, the resources and choices to be able to access that autonomy.” 


Ali said that Faces of Feminism emphasizes intersectionality and the unique struggles of minority women. The organization’s events cover transgender rights, self-care and reproductive health care. 


“We focus on people of color, encompassing intersectionality and ensuring that those on the margins are being represented the most and have the most say,” Ali said. “That’s kind of how our organization runs.”


Regarding abortion, Ali said the organization identifies as “pro-access,” rather than the more common “pro-choice.”


“The difference is that ‘pro-choice’ makes the assumption that everyone has the ability and resources to make choices,” Ali said. “We are pro-access in the sense that we think that everyone should have access to the things that they need, [whether] they want to have an abortion or … have a child. Pro-access recognizes that under federal insurance, abortion is not covered, so you don’t have access to make that choice.” 


Ali lists her idols as the late Toni Morrison and her mom. 


“I think it’s easy to find idols in the kind of people that you meet every day, the kind of things that you see that you want to reflect in your own work and in the ways that you move through the world,” Ali said. 


While feminism has been historically exclusive, Ali believes this is slowly improving.


“The mainstream idea of feminism is still the same but people are starting to deconstruct that and trying to see it as more intersectional,” Ali said. “I definitely would like to see it become even more intersectional and radical in a way.”


Prior to now, Grant said, “women have to stay in these bubbles where all they should be doing is cooking, cleaning and having babies.”


While Grant agrees that equality is evolving in the right direction, everyone needs to be conscious to not “stumble back.” 


Ali agrees that conversations about equality and empowerment are essential for a healthy society. 


“I think that [these conversations] are based in love for your community,” Ali said. “They’re based on the fact that you want to see people be uplifted, feel free and feel like they have control over their lives … I think conversations like this are important because they are about being human, about loving yourself, loving other people and creating a better world.”