Learning to ROAR
September 2016, I had an idea for an all-female storytelling show that would feature women of every age, race, sexual identity and preference. I wanted to feature stories that would open minds and start conversations. Out of fear, I immediately dismissed the idea. Who would come? Where would I get the money? How would everything work? After each question, a seemingly insurmountable wall appeared before me. This was impossible. Just one of my many crazy ideas. Forget about it, Erika.
I tried to tuck it away, but it tugged at my consciousness. Then the election happened, and like many of us, I was overcome with fear and uncertainty. I flew home to D.C., pink hat in hand, for a little march. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I wanted to be in the company of women and feel like I was part of some sort of solution.
January 21, 2017, was one of the most spectacular days of my life. I saw so many inspiring signs, held by both men and women. Black Lives Matter. The Water Protectors. Young friends on their first protest together. Wrinkled, grey-haired goddesses on their hundredth protest. On that day, we weren’t divided. We were one huge force for progress.
Then I saw a sign that forever changed my life: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” A quote by June Jordan, it struck me like a bullet between the eyes. I knew I had to do something, some tiny little part, to empower women and girls. There were so many men in power speaking for us and about us, I was desperate to hear what women had to say. All women.
I gathered a group of five amazing women, and we had our inaugural show in May 2017. I needed ROAR so much more than I knew. The incredible courage, honesty, humor, and hope from our storytellers continue to inspire me. Despite fear and doubt and perimenopause and hot flashes and exhaustion, I keep going, one show at a time.
The hearts and minds of women are an inexhaustible source of inspiration to me. I learn from each of you. Now, more than ever before, is the time for courage.
Today I ROAR.
Join Erika and ROAR Voices on July 19th for the next show. You can find more information here: https://www.roarvoices.com/.