ABBY FRIESEN-JOHNSON: Feminism is so clear-cut when you’re six years old.
ASHIA AJANI: It’s watching The Cheetah Girls and not liking boys.
ALEXIS RAIN VIGIL: Girl power is the first form of solidarity we learn.
ALL: The deceptive beauty of unity.
TOLU OBIWOLE: I learned feminism from riot girl punk bands.
ALEXIS: From the bruises my brothers gave me.
TOLU: Feminism is where I abandoned my tea set.
ALEXIS AND TOLU: Traded princess for “bad bitch.”
ALEXIS: I stopped wearing dresses.
ASHIA: But still went to bed in perm scabs so I’d feel pretty in my sleep.
ABBY: I learned feminism at my mother’s knee as she baked bread for me and stood her steel when people said her work was not real.
ABBY AND ASHIA: In different DNA, she’d be called “welfare queen.”
ASHIA: I have to fight a different war.
ABBY: Rosie the Riveter did what women of color have been doing for years.
TOLU: They fought to stay home while Planned Parenthood build abortion clinics in their neighborhood.
ALEXIS: White feminism is lobbying for reproductive rights…
ASHIA: …and silence around the forced sterilization of women in prisons.
TOLU: It is savior complex feminism.
ALL: Hashtag Hillary 2016!
ASHIA: Bomb women to liberate them.
ALEXIS: Welcome to the solidarity club!
ABBY: Where we teach table manners like microaggressions!
TOLU: The price is ethnically ambiguous.
ASHIA: The price is a brown paper bag test.
ABBY: You may be drinking our tea…
TOLU AND ASHIA: …but you will never host.
ALEXIS: That is Snow White’s job.
ABBY: A woman in my skin makes such a good ornament.
ALEXIS, TOLU, AND ASHIA: A woman in my skin must know that “queen” means “work.”
ALEXIS: It means not being invited to the party.
TOLU: It means embracing your power makes you the villain.
ASHIA: A passionate black woman is treated like a volcano ready to erupt.
TOLU: The sprawling thunder cloud that does not fit.
ASHIA: I constantly chew my words before I speak so when they leave my mouth, they are easy on the ears.
ALEXIS: I’m afraid that calling myself a feminist will add to the list of things that make me an easy victim.
ALL: Another reason for them to attack.
ALEXIS: I’m afraid of passing for white, lost in an agenda that will never include me. There is so much more than black and white feminism. Chicana feminism is the aftermath of removing the hands of machismo wrapped around our throats.
ALEXIS AND ASHIA: We become a crutch, an excuse.
TOLU: What, are you afraid colored girls are sitting at the table set for you?
ASHIA: The slave ship still delivers, just not to the plantations.
ABBY: I’m accustomed to men fighting for the idea of me. White girl crying her way out of speeding tickets. Weak and white…
ALL: …and everything they’re supposed to protect.
ABBY: White women’s tears will sweeten your tea…
ABBY AND ALEXIS: …dissolve blame, and rewrite history!
ABBY: They’re magical!
ASHIA: They brighten your teeth…
TOLU: …get people elected…
ALL: …fired, killed.
TOLU: I have to fight a different war.
ASHIA: I have to fight for things you take for granted…
ASHIA AND ALEXIS: …like pretty.
TOLU: Before I am a woman…
TOLU AND ASHIA: …I am black.
TOLU: Women and color should not have to surrender to each other.
ALEXIS: I am fighting a different war.
TOLU: My thick hip bones become the weapons of my own destruction.
ALL: My skeleton will always speak first.
ASHIA: To be a girl whose struggle could never be polite…
ASHIA, ALEXIS, AND TOLU: …is to be the girl who’s pulling at the zipper of a dress that will never fit her.
ABBY: Because it wasn’t made for her.
ALL: It’s time we sewed our own!
ASHIA: Feminism isn’t just for white women anymore.
ABBY, TOLU, AND ALEXIS: And it never was.
ABBY: It’s wearing different dresses cut from the same cloth.
ALEXIS: Drinking the same tea.
TOLU: Digesting it differently.
ASHIA: Trading honey for honesty.
ALL: Feminism is the four of us in this moment, reading this poem.
ASHIA: Even when we disagree…
ALEXIS: …we are burning the tables…
ABBY: …building a new one.
ALL: No one is invited because everyone is already here.