Phenomenal Women – Coretta Scott-King

Most well known for being the wife of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, Scott-King was always an activist and a civil rights campaigner, but the spotlight shifted to her talents and achievements after the tragic death of her husband.  Not only did she become a widow and single mother to four children but she also picked up the mantle to fight racial segregation and oppression that her husband had left.

Some of her notable achievements included founding the King Center, campaigning successfully to have a day of commemoration for her husband as a public US holiday and finally winning the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2004.

Up until her sad passing in 2006, she remained a vocal advocate for change and lent her voice to many campaigns including anti-apartheid demonstrations and LGBT+ campaigns.  Her speeches were almost as legendary as her husbands, and one of our favourite quotes by her is:

“Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul.”

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Phenomenal Women – Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

I am sure that you have all heard of Nelson Mandela, but there is not as much information about his first wife, Winnie Mandela.  Winnie Mandela was a fierce woman who stood beside her husband as he fought against apartheid in South Africa.  Not only was she a passionate activist but she also held political office and headed the African National Congress Women’s League.

Born in South Africa to parents who were disappointed that she was a girl Winnie spent her young years as a tomboy as a way to belatedly fulfill their wishes.  Unsurprisingly it wasn’t long before she had her first experience of injustice within the racially oppressive Apartheid system and this early interaction with hate would set the wheels in motion for her future battles against injustice.

A little-known fact is that Winnie also experienced prison life in South Africa after being arrested for her role in a protest against the discriminatory South African laws.  Sadly the strain of extended separation and increasingly divergent political views split the Mandelas apart in 1996, but Winnie Mandela remains a real heroine for Justice in her own right.

Phenomenal Women – Tarana Burke

Although you may not have heard of Tarana Burke her call to action is one that has been unavoidable in recent months.  Tarana Burke founded the #MeToo movement which has been the catalyst for revelations, recriminations, and retributions for years of systemic sexual abuse and harassment highlighted by recent high profile cases from within the entertainment industry.

Tarana was born in the Bronx, New York and is a tireless advocate and activist for human and civil rights.  As founder of the Me Too Movement, she has had and will continue to have an impact on victims of assault and abuse.

Here at WoK HQ, we talk about what more we can do to help women and girls to speak out against their attackers and abusers and get everyone to understand that they have a responsibility when it comes to abuse. For us there should be no bystanders, we should all stand in solidarity with those people who are brave enough to tell their story and utter the words “Me Too.”