Let’s act out

This evening I attended an awards ceremony for the local chapter of Business Professional Women (BPW), a women’s group (obviously) that focuses on various political, social and professional efforts in our community. The main part of the event was a “speak off” between the two finalists for the Young Careerist award.

The first got up and gave a very solid speech on how BPW has helped her grow as a person, both professionally and outside of work. Everyone cheered, and, quite honestly, I thought she would be the winner.

And then the second speaker took her turn. She talked about how, as the owner of her own small business, she had made a conscious decision to bring politics into her photography company. Her reasoning was simple: “There are so many politically-minded women and men out there whose employers strongly discourage any sort of activism, one way or another. I’m one of the lucky few who can say, ‘This is my business, my politics.’ I can have a voice.”

And she does. She absolutely does. Much of her photography revolves around those money makers–weddings, family portraits, senior pictures. But she makes a point to use her artistic abilities to lobby for what she believes in: marriage equality, a woman’s right to choose, and the fight for equal pay.

Listening to her speak, I felt myself nodding in agreement, not only with her values, but with her fortitude. She is an incredibly strong young woman. Looking around the room, I saw dozens more just like her. Me, I tend to be on the quiet side of the activism spectrum, though my beliefs are unwavering. I prefer to float along and keep everyone happy and at peace.

But tonight was different. Tonight I was grateful to be influenced by these amazingly unyielding, positively forceful women. To all you strong ladies out there, I’m taking notes.