Spotlighting Women Making History: The Suey Park Edition
March has been celebrated and officially recognized as Women’s History Month by the United States government since 1987. Each annual celebration has a dedicated theme, and “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment” belongs to all the 2014 ladies, and those who came before us.I’m still relatively new to the Women’s History Month scene, having never heard of such a celebration until I entered college; but in the years I have been fortunate enough to participate in celebrations, I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on my foremothers. However, this year’s theme got me thinking. While it is incredibly important to appreciate the progress that has been made by women in our past, I think it is also beneficial to use this time to celebrate the women who are making history, right now. This month, I have enjoyed reading through news sources and digging through my Twitter feed, watching and interacting with women who are promoting women’s issues around the globe.Suey Park is one such individual making waves on the feminist front as a fierce woman leader. She is a Korean American, Chicago-based writer responsible for creating the #NotYourAsianSidekick Twitter trend that took social media by storm in December 2013. With this trend, Park created a space for Asian American women to share their lived experiences, critique the tokenization, exociticization, and hyper-sexualization of Asian women in American culture (and even feminism), and express ideas for change.#NotYourAsianSidekick brought a huge response from thousands of individuals around the world and the United States within hours of Park’s initial tweet, and discussions of Asian American women’s status in feminism and American culture has continued on Youtube and multiple major news sources.Park’s recent rise to prominence as an activist for race and gender issues has opened the floor for a discussion of issues that are still marginalized within larger social justice movements. Park’s efforts have helped form a new space for Asian American women to voice their experiences and enact leadership roles within their social circles and daily lives.One of Park’s greatest strengths is that she has encouraged women and girls to take up their own songs and share them with the world. Park engages with individuals as a fundamental part of her activism. Bringing women leaders together to create teams and form communities with one another is a fundamental, and indispensable, part of her activism.This trend of community-building among women in women’s movements is crucial to our moving forward in all aspects of our lives. Seeing so many young women take up this mission is inspiring and highly effective in creating measurable, consequential change.