An Interview with Sara Myers on International Women’s Day

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How would you describe your identity? How has your understanding of your identity affected and/ or influenced your work?

I would describe myself as a African Woman, I am race first, although I get the concept of race has been scientifically deconstructed, found to be fraudulent and a way to promote racial hierarchy. I do think in today’s society that we as people and as human beings have a sense of racial pride, it is a belonging, a connection. It’s part of who we are, it’s our DNA, it’s not negative as we have been told. It is a beautiful thing to be able to stand up and say I am African and I am proud. I am a woman, and so that means I am connected to ALL other women on a spiritual, emotional and physical level we are woven together by our collective experiences. My identity has totally influenced my work, it part of me, who I am, so when I see injustice in particular, racial  or gender injustice I have to stand up – it is simply what I was born to do.

 

Today is International Women’s Day: What does womanhood mean to you? What does sisterhood mean to you?

What a question! Womanhood means so much! To me we evolve as women, we are constantly changing and developing, we never stop. My “Confessions of a former Drama Queen” show exhibits how we evolve as women. Womanhood is more than just having a vagina and womb. It is a journey of discovery, it is stillness, it is loud, it is emotional and it is knowing yourself. It is learning from others and how we have been taught to embrace ourselves. I am 42 years old this year and it is only now that I can say “yeah I am a woman” and love it and embrace the good the bad and ugly – no more pressure to be this image that I didn’t create for myself. As women we are connected as I said before, however we really need to work on building our sisterhoods. We have been at each other for way to long. I hold my hands up I have been guilty of being an enemy to the sisterhood but we need to create these healing spaces where we can heal each other, the world and ourselves. I know it sounds idealistic BUT we can do it one woman at a time that is what I am about. Stronger communities come from strong sisterhoods. That is what we need to go back to -the ole time stuff!

 

Do you think we have a Black British sisterhood of which to speak of just yet?

I think we have one that is very developmental; we haven’t harnessed it yet in its fullest but we are beginning to build and that is the most important thing! There are some great sisters out there right now Natural November, Amenti Theoracle, Oya Orisha,  Lenea Herew who are running events building our sisterhood up and we have to support them and the events, network build. We have to put away or petty differences and work together on principled-based unity. We need to work from the premise of what we agree on not what we disagree on. I don’t want to know my sister is hurting and I am so caught up in the fact I don’t like her I leave her to hurt some more – no, that is not part of our culture. These events are to help us heal, so we can heal others. I am a firm believer that when you have cleared out the junk you simply don’t sweat the small stuff. You’ve just gotta keep on dealing with self in order to help another.

 

Why is it important for women to support other women?

If we as women don’t support each other who will? Men can support only so far; however masculine support is different from the feminine support. I wouldn’t want to sit down and discuss my dry vagina or lack of sexual libido with Mike from the pub. I couldn’t. How on earth would he understand that I think the world has ended and that I am going through the menopause (I am not but I think I am every week!). He is not going to understand how devastated I might feel if I need to have my womb removed. I am not saying that men don’t get it, because some do empathise but this is bigger than empathy. We as women experience so much crappy stuff, domstic violence, rape, abuse, and we need to support each other through the rough times so we can celebrate the good times together, when we overcome the enemy defeat the enemy and win the war. By war I mean any injustice we face as women.

 

You successfully led a political movement last year. What made you decide to take action? What were the highs and lows of being on the frontline and in a position of leadership?

 

It was a success, thank you! What made me decide to take action, something in my gut just screamed out “NO”! I think it was the image of the woman on the bed with the shackle around her neck, her breasts were exposed and she was about to be raped…my inner being just said NO and I remember shouting out NO. I kind of felt like the ancestors were speaking through me, and letting me know that they weren’t happy with this, and that it wasn’t art. Rape isn’t art. It is abuse. I am a survivor of rape and it is not something I believe should be made into art unless by the survivor themselves. The imagery in Exhibit B was one of disempowerment. I had to stand up. If not for me then for those who went before me, and those who will follow me. There were many highs and lows. I think leading any movement has its challenges. I was new to running such a high profile campaign; I was challenged from the onset, but I held my own. The highest moment was getting the letter saying it was cancelled for the week, and the lowest was  receiving comments from my own community, accusing me of censorship. I say it again – NO NO NO…not many of our ancestors had the chance to say it, so I said it for them. Who gave me that right? My parents’ parents, their parents and of course my God.

Human Zoo, Brett Bailey

 

Why are there not more women in positions of leadership?

I think sometimes as women we both lack confidence and we over confident, and we lack balance, when I did Exhibit B one key piece of advice I was given was be yourself, which I did, and you know it helped me, because I was simply that Sara Myers. I also believe there is a strong power battle going on between the Black Man and Woman, but we don’t have to compete with each other as we COMPLETE each other. We have to both hold our own and respect the male leadership around us. I picked up the baton with Exhibit B because it was my call however I worked with other leaders and demonstrated that I had the ability to do this, did I cry? YES. Did I rant and rave? YES. Did I heed wiser counsel from those more experienced than I along the way? YES. It is about balance. Give and receive always.

 

How important is social media in organising movements and getting your voice heard?

It is very important because you don’t know who is going to share it, post it repost it pick up on it, so using social media correctly can massively impact on the success of your campaign. We have to utilise every form of media, but nothing beats going out and connecting with people face to face. We have a lot of social media activists which is great but it is not enough. There is no real battle online. You simply share your views or opinions about a thing, but the real work is on the streets. We have to be visible in the real world that is where it really does matter. People want to see you, they want that personal connection, they want to shake your hand, hear your voice they want to know you will put yourself out there just as much as you are asking them too!

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

“What will be, will be.” She knows what that means.

 

What’s the best advice you have ever been given?

“Sara this all stops, when you stop.” Basically, never give up!

 

In her own words, Sara Myers is “a am mum, a friend, a daughter and then all the other stuff like a crazy ex-partner, a nightmare dream date and former drama queen.”
She is passionate about social justice and is on a mission to hold those in society accountable for their actions (or lack of action). She is a lover of all things relating to her heritage as an Afrikan being born in and living in the Diaspora. Myers is on a spiritual journey of self-discovery and self-realisation, and participates in spiritual disciplines such as meditation, yoga, and womb dancing. She is also a writer, presenter, Vblogger and blogger and has recently returned to higher education to study Politics, Philosophy and Ecomonics. In 2014 Myers led the successful #boycottthehumanzoo campaign, which was started by her petition which garnered over 20,000 signatures. 

You can find her on:

Facebook

WordPress

Youtube

And Twitter: @sarzworld 

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