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  • Gina Benson

A Letter of Equality, Compassion, & Understanding



I can't explain how grateful I am for this life. I was raised in a nuclear family home where my father worked and still works as a brick layer and my mother worked part time office jobs, (now full time in a school), allowing herself enough time to come home to cook, clean, and raise us. She later became the caregiver for her parents as they aged and her best friend's mother who lived nearby. We were fortunate to have grandparents who lived across the street and could watch my sister and I as my parents worked to put food on the table. Life hasn't always been a breeze to my family, but who's life has been? Even the richest of us know struggle and carry burdens. It helps that my parents are college educated and raised my sister and I to treat others how we would like to be treated. They are charitable, loving, and have no regrets. My older sister was the first to make my parents proud. She got a scholarship to college, graduated and was immediately hired. She was and still is financially independent. She owns a car, a home, and two dogs. Though she's married, she is independent. I, too, received a scholarship and studied at the same college as my parents and sister. I graduated but took a couple years longer to find the right path. Thankfully, I've arrived. Why am I sharing this all with you? Well, it's a vital part of my success. However, there is one other factor that has resulted in my success. I'm white. I've had my trouble with the law in the past. Being a stupid college kid has its repercussions. And though my socioeconomic status was used against me, and the wealthier person walked away scot-free, I was able to bounce back from it. If I weren't white, it may have been a different story. I may have just accepted my fate. I may have never finished college or started my own business. But, the odds were in my favor. Society has constructed it this way. Because I'm white, my voice is heard more than others. Yes, women as a whole have a long way to go here in America, but white women have advantages, tenfold. Since this is reality and I am extremely passionate about women's health and women's rights, and my voice is heard for the sole reason of the color of my skin, then I choose to use this privilege for other women whose voices are ignored. If you are an educated white woman in the United States, I ask that you use your voice wisely. Enlighten yourself to the realities around us. Not just your realities, but the realities of others. Research. Come take workshops with me. In fact, I plan on hosting another women's health workshop at my apartment soon. And you're all invited! White men, please, I beg you. Hear all women but especially those who aren't white. It takes a village and together we have to lift each other up to achieve equality. Genuine equality. I see and hear the anger of others who are oppressed and I'm mad, too. I want to help fix the problem, not contribute. I complain about my BS all the time. So does everyone. But if I was born a woman of color in a oppressive country, where periods are deemed as dirty or an illness, for example, I wouldn't survive. So please, next time you look around, SEE the women around you. They are so strong. They are so deserving. They are our sisters. Stand up for them. Understand them. And above all, love them. If you have any advice for me, suggestions, and thoughts, please share. I'm still learning. I am also ignorant in several areas of the TRUTH. If you are white and still confused by all of this or disagree, please, let's talk. I'll treat you to coffee or tea. Just please, let's be more conscious of one another. This is all I ask. Beautiful women all around me, White, Black, Latina, Asian, Native, I love you. And to all the women who are not white, I'm sorry for all the times I've unknowingly offended you, turned my back to you through my own unconscious biases, and ignorantly betrayed you. I'm sorry for the abuse, the hatred, and oppression you have dealt with and are still facing in today's society. I see you, I hear you and I want to hear more, so please speak to me. Tell me everything and anything you wish because I'm listening. Really listening. I want to use my voice for you. By the grace of God and my determination, I will do whatever it takes to educate and enlighten others because until there's love in everyone's heart, there will still be inequality. This isn't a political post. I'm not shaming anyone. I just want to learn the truths of others, gather as much information as I can, and share those truths with others. Education, compassion, and love will change the world.


This is my letter to all of you who choose to read it.


With Love, Compassion, and a thirst for more knowledge,

Gina



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