Poet Cleo Wade’s Powerful Tribute to Gloria Steinem, Coretta Scott King, and More on International Women’s Day

“Many superwomen have come before us and their spirit runs through us as we continue to push forward towards a fair and equal society.”

by Cleo Wade


For International Women’s Day, I wrote a poem, “Who Are We Right Now,” inspired by the words of some of my favorite SHEroes in American HERstory: Shirley Chisholm{: rel=nofollow}, Gloria Steinem{: rel=nofollow}, Ida B.Wells{: rel=nofollow}, Fannie Lou Hamer{: rel=nofollow}, Coretta Scott King{: rel=nofollow}, Angela Davis{: rel=nofollow}, Alice Walker{: rel=nofollow}, Sojourner Truth{: rel=nofollow}, and Maya Angelou{: rel=nofollow}. I created a compilation of their wisdom in hopes to comfort, encourage, and guide us during this new wave of political activism. Fighting the good fight is not new, but may be new to some of us, who may feel confused and exhausted. But do not grow weary when it comes to the work of love and justice. Many superwomen have come before us and their spirit runs through us as we continue to push forward towards a fair and equal society.

Who Are We Right Now

Who are we right now?

Are we Ms. Shirley

When we walk up to the table and see no seat for us

So bring our folding chair

Are we Ms. Gloria

When we remember that

When we speak about feminism and racism and poverty and all who are oppressed


Our issues

are linked


not ranked

Are we Ms. Ida

When we

Right wrongs by

Turning the light of truth

Upon them

Are we Ms. Fannie

When we yell out

That No body is free

Until Every body

Is free

Are we Ms. Coretta

When our country calls on us to remember so deeply in our souls that

Freedom is never really won


We must earn it

And win it


Every generation

Are we Ms. Angela when we proclaim

That we are no longer

Accepting the things, we cannot change

We are instead

Changing the things

We cannot accept

Are we Ms. Alice when we remember

That the most common way we

Give up our power

Is by thinking

We don’t have any


Are we Ms. Alice when we remember that


is the rent we pay

For living on this planet

Are we Ms. Sojourner

When we say to the world

“Ain’t I a woman”


Are we Ms. Maya



Every single day

We continue

To rise

To know the women who came before us is to know ourselves

It is to know the blood memory that runs through our veins

It is to know that the unlived dreams of our ancestors are

our honor and our duty to live out

Right now

Because as Women

Right now

When it comes to the work of the Women before us…

Maybe we are not able

To pay it back


We can


Pay it forward

Watch: 62 fashion insiders speak out for women’s rights: