A Talk With FRĒDA WOMAN, Meena Harris
CEO & Founder of Phenomenal Woman Action Campaign, lawyer, activist, and New York Times Bestselling author
Looking back, can you identify where your passion for activism began?
I grew up in what I like to call a “social justice family”—which means I learned at a very young age what activism looks like, and what it can achieve. My grandmother was no stranger to protests and political rallies, but she was also a great example of living out everyday acts of resistance. She taught me I should always try to make an impact, wherever I was, however I could—big or small. That idea became the central line of my kids’ book, Kamala and Maya’s Big Idea: “No one can do everything. But everyone can do something."
What’s one way we can all get involved? What are some small things we can all do in our communities to help make a difference?
If there was something that made me upset or that felt unjust, my grandma would say, “Well, what are you gonna do about it?” In times like these, it’s not always obvious what you can do—as an ordinary person—to try and make a difference. Not everybody has to make a big leap, and of course, none of us can do everything, but we all have to do something—organize a food drive, send letters to seniors stuck at home, clean up your local park, start a community garden. There are unlimited ways to make a difference and don’t wait for anyone to invite you to the table. Just show up!
Do you have a daily practice that helps you stay grounded?
Hugging my daughters.
What’s one small thing we can all do on a daily basis to find joy?
Do something every day that’s just for you. Mine is drinking an iced latte every morning.
What’s one small thing we can all do on a daily basis to share or give joy?
Do something kind every day. Call a friend, make the extra effort to ask someone how they’re doing, if you work on a team, make something easier for a colleague, leave a nice comment on a social post, share information on an issue you care about. These small acts can have a ripple effect that inspires others to act and spread more joy—and they’ll make you feel pretty good too!
What does Women Supporting Women mean to you? What can we do to help each other more?
It means setting an example by taking risks to pursue your ideas and support others in theirs, leading with empathy and compassion, and holding the door open for those who come after you. My grandma always used to say, “You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you're not the last.” I think that is good advice for all of us.
Photographed by: Cheyenne Ellis