Location: Charlotte, North Carolina
Each guest arriving at a party I attended last night was given a scavenger hunt form to fill out. We were not tasked with rummaging through the hostess’s drawers or even finding objects that were in plain sight, but rather talking to the other women in attendance to identify significant things about them that were listed on the scavenger forms. Someone at the party ran her own business, someone else started a program for at-youth teens, another was a masseuse, an author (yours truly) and someone was running for office. That last one was easy to spot because the party, billed as a gathering of progressive women, was also a fundraiser and political event for Leigh Altman, who is running for one of the at-large seats on the county commission for Mecklenburg County in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Leigh spoke eloquently and passionately about her desire to help families get the services they need and deserve. After describing her accomplishments and perspective as an attorney, a mother, and a proud Democratic woman, Leigh talked about the ways she has already served her community (she is currently the chair of her neighborhood precinct and is an officer in the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County and was a staff attorney at Charlotte’s Council for Children’s Rights) and the ways she hopes to do so if elected. She asked for volunteers, donations and, of course, votes. But she also made note of the fact that the gathering of empowered, engaged and politically involved women was a victory all on its own. She said that the one good thing about Trump (at which point one of the women in attendance said she must be at the wrong party!) was that his assault on, well, everything, has galvanized women.
She is right. I have seen women band together in ways that inspire me and energize me. From the marches to postcard parties to supporting causes, candidates and each other, women are making it happen. Leigh also talked about the unique way she will serve the county as a woman, using the relationships she has forged with other women to get things done. There is a lot that Leigh knows from her work on committees and her nearly two decades as a public interest attorney, but what I found most impressive about her (and this holds true for many women candidates) was her willingness to admit what she does not know. She has been busy visiting the organizations and departments that will be part of her purview if elected, and she has reached out to experts in everything from education to medicine to get informed and build partnerships. That is how real change happens. Not through bravado and thinking you are a one-man show, but through the recognition of what needs to get fixed and the realization that you alone cannot fix it.
Regardless of the underlying theme of the gathering, I always leave an event that draws women together like this feeling empowered. I so appreciate those brave souls who choose to make a difference through politics, because I know from Noah’s race how many sacrifices must be made to even throw your hat In the ring politically, let alone what it then takes to serve and govern. But I also appreciate all of us who make a difference behind the scenes, by hosting parties, and launching social media campaigns, and supporting these fine candidates in ways big and small to get them to the place where they can make a difference. There were so many women of different ages and professions in attendance last night (by far the most popular one was the professional masseuse) and our scavenger sheets attest to all the different things we have done and continue to do to make the world a better place. But when it comes to fighting for our rights, and fighting back against the regression of those rights, we are one. I am reminded of the Helen Reddy song my dad used to play when I was little (…on a record player – as if referencing Helen Reddy didn’t age me enough!)… I am woman. Hear me roar.
To learn more about Leigh Altman or to volunteer or donate to her campaign, visit: