EMANCIPATION is a process and not just an event on the calendar. It's a celebration that penetrates the consciousness, and for women, the word is heavy with promise, heavy with the depth of possibilities.
Developing and growing, not stagnant, the emancipated woman has come into her own, knows her place, her role, her future and her contribution to whatever space she's in, and she faces challenges with grit and determination.
What kind of woman are you, and who you strive to be this Emancipation Day? Will you raise your voice, or will you hold back?
"They'll tell you you're too loud, that you need to wait your turn and ask the right people for permission. Do it anyway," says US Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. And Malala Yousafzai: "I raise up my voice—not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back."
Last year, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in his Emancipation Day message, warned: "Our forebears were not passive and obsequious onlookers, waiting for freedom to be handed to them…."
Are you a woman, passive in accepting certain ills? Have you failed this year to speak up, speak out and be heard? There's still time.
The emancipated woman is YOU, and she's captured in film by Kimone Leslie, photographed by Orville Spence.
"Emancipation Day is the idea of freedom, but it is also the right to pursue knowledge, wealth and happiness. It is in remembrance of our ancestors and the role they played in brining forth an end to our subjugation. As a photographer, it is my chance to envision it as a cultural inspiration. We may not have lived in those days but we now enjoy the benefits of their journey, struggles, labour and fight," Spence said.
“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” – Madeleine Albright
“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” –Rebecca West
“I hear a lot of people saying, when talking about girls’ empowerment and women as well, you’ll often hear people saying, ‘You’re helping them find their voices’, I fundamentally disagree with that. Women don’t need to find their voice. They need to feel empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen.” – Meghan Markle
“Women are always saying, ‘We can do anything that men can do’. But men should be saying, ‘We can do anything that women can do’.“ – Gloria Steinem