Some of Glamour’s best work is its Women of the Year coverage — thoughtful, optimistic, and increasingly inclusive. It’s when I particularly miss the print issue, and although the intent was to continue publishing tangible special issues like Women of the Year — as happened in 2019 — it doesn’t seem as if 2020 came to play that game. Maybe we can hope for a resurrection someday. In the meantime, Glamour has put together profiles on each of its honorees — the master link to the whole package is here and involves fancy side-scrolling — written by the likes of Soraya Nadia McDonald and Melissa Harris-Perry and Valerie Jarrett, and which are absolutely worth your time. This is a long scroll, but I want to give each piece its due.
- Please read Mattie Kahn’s moving piece about the women of Elmhurst Hospital, including an 82-year old doctor who worked throughout the pandemic in one of its epicenters. It includes this statistic: “Almost 4,000 people work in Elmhurst Hospital, and around 3,000 of them are women. That ratio is the norm in the health care and caregiving industries, not the exception. The New York Times reported in April that 77% of U.S. health care workers are women, as are 52% of people considered to be essential workers.” And the last bite from Dr. Moshirpur is wonderful.
- Sherrilyn Ifill is president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a tireless scholar and activist who tells her friend Melissa Harris-Perry, “We are in a profound crisis of democracy born of this country’s refusal, failure, and inability to grapple with racism and white supremacy. The only way a thriving democracy survives is by embracing and investing in public goods like transportation, education, and health care. We have denigrated, and receded from, these services because we associate them with Black people.”
- Dolores Huerta has been an activist for SIX DECADES, and started United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez. This anecdote is fantastic: “One time, in one of our board meetings that we had, every time a guy made a chauvinist remark, with a pencil, I put a little line. And at the end of the meeting, César said, “Does anybody have anything that they want to add?” I said, “Yes, I just want to mention that during the course of this meeting, all of you have made 58 chauvinist remarks against women.” Of course, they were stunned when I said that. I did that in every meeting until we get down to 20. Then we get it down to 10 and then get it down to two, and finally, they had to check themselves before they came into the meeting.” She also has this to say about voting: “We have to say to the young people: ‘Listen, march in the streets until the moon turns blue, but if we do not put some of these things that we want, progressive changes, into a law, it’s not going to make any difference.’ The only way that can happen is you have to vote. Yes, take that march. But you got to march right to the ballot box.” It’s a great read about a bold woman.
- Keisha Lance Bottoms’s strength through catastrophe as Atlanta’s first-term mayor earned her consideration to be Joe Biden’s VP pick. She was sued by Georgia’s governor for implementing a mask mandate, and fought him up until he withdrew it, of which she said: “I’d rather go down fighting than stand as a loser.”
- Glamour EIC Samantha Barry’s essay dedicated to all women is lovely. It concludes, “So where do we go from here? Recognizing the problem is just a first step, but it’s a vital one. We need our leaders to appreciate that women have more than pulled their weight. Glamour may be giving you this award, but our elected officials need to chip in—with paid leave, access to health care, and equal pay for equal work. To the women who are dealing with a deck stacked against them and are somehow still balancing a computer on top of a chair on top of a coffee table, we see you. And we celebrate you.”
- Regina King this year became the first Black female director to have a film screened at the Venice Film Festival, and with its Oscar buzz beginning, would be the first Black female nominee there too. Her friend Holly Robinson Peete calls her the female Tom Hanks, in terms of how universally adored she is. And one reason for that is how unafraid she is to speak her heart:
“I think we’ve had a lot of decades of people just in their own box doing their own thing,” she continues. “I’ve been guilty for it in some spaces in life, because you’re just trying to get your thing going that you’re not paying attention to what’s going on around. But it feels like people are paying attention. I got to believe that more people are paying attention than not. I got to. When the protests were starting to happen and we were seeing people in Asian countries with their masks on with Black Lives Matter signs—I mean, I’m about to start getting emotional now.”
King’s voice begins to crack.
“That gave me so much hope, and I don’t think that if we weren’t in the middle of corona when that happened, I don’t think that the world would’ve been paying attention. We just keep getting hit on the chin. You don’t want these men, these Black men and Black women, to die, continue to die. You hate to look at them as martyrs, but if Jacob Blake hadn’t happened, would everything have calmed down? Would people have stopped making noise?”
King starts weeping, pushing through to finish her thought:
“‘If there wasn’t another,’ but it’s so painful when it is another. It took cell phones with cameras to happen, to be in effect, for people to start believing it, and then years of cell phone footage. I mean, Rodney King wasn’t cell phone footage, but shit. Rodney King was the first on camera, but we all know somebody that got beat down before Rodney King. Then our parents knew someone, and their parents. I am believing that because it’s all here for everyone right now, I’ve got to believe that we’re at a place that as the world we’re hearing all the time, we’re at our true reckoning.”
[Photos: Regina King, by Emman Montalvan; Keisha Lance Bottoms, by Ari Skin; The Guardians of Elmhurst, by Shaniqwa Jarvis; Sherrilyn Ifill, by Rog & Bee Walker; Dolores Huerta, by Nolwen Cifuentes; Every Single One of you artwork by Johanna Goodman]