Grandmothers, unite!

With Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Steve Bannon headed to the White House, many of us are feeling powerless.

We’re not.

Let’s all start thinking about what we can do to overcome the forces of apathy, ignorance, and prejudice that allowed Trump to prevail on November 8.

In the coming months, I’ll post some concrete ideas for action. In the meantime, I’m taking inspiration from the book Grandmother Power, which profiles grandmas around the world who’ve banded together to fight for change.

At the Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India, middle-aged women learn to construct and maintain solar lighting systems for their villages. Photo by Paola Gianturco.

“Insurgent grandmothers are fighting the status quo, successfully seeding peace, justice, education, health, human rights, and a better world for grandchildren everywhere,” writes author and photographer Paola Gianturco. “A worldwide grandmother movement is underway[.]”

In Guatemala, where 70 percent of children experience some form of abuse, grandmothers are speaking up for girls who’ve been raped by their fathers and teaching new parents about non-violent discipline.

“Even if someone kills me for reporting child abuse, I will do it,” says Gloria Marina Lopez de Palma, 66, a grandmother of three whose own mother once attacked her with a broken plate.

In Thailand, where water and crops have been poisoned by gold mines, grandmothers are lobbying for better environmental oversight and raising money for the dispossessed.

In Senegal, grandmothers are educating their families about the dangers of female genital mutilation, child marriage, and teen pregnancy, all of which are commonplace.

“Early marriage is a tradition, but it is a bad one and we decided to fight against it,” says Fatoumata Baldé, 60, who has 18 grandkids.

And in India, where large swaths of the countryside lack electricity, grandmothers who never learned to read and write are training as solar engineers.

“We shouldn’t wait for someone else to help,” says Kamla Devi, 45, a grandmother of three who raised two children alone after she was widowed at 19. “We should do something about it.”

With thanks to the Dennos Museum Center and powerHouse Books.