Heather McGhee — Women’s Living History Month

Happy Women’s History Month! Let’s celebrate the month by engaging in a little Shine Theory, which Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reminded the world about this week. That is, we amplify the women. While it’s thrilling to celebrate all of the amazing women of yesteryear, I’m looking around today to celebrate the phenomenal women who are making real differences in the arts and letters today.

Let’s cheer today’s hero Heather McGhee — brainy, creative, and passionate. She was president of Demos, a liberal think tank, for years. She is now a Senior Fellow there, in addition to her work as a commentator on MSNBC.

I first met Heather when my friend Joanna’s mom, Donna Parson, was in the hospital and Heather and I were in the waiting room together. Yes, she was president of one of the biggest and most influential think tanks in the country, and, on that Sunday morning, McGhee still found time to bring coffees, pastries, and, I think, bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches, to the family and friends of a colleague in the intensive care unit.

Whenever I see McGhee as a pundit or thought leader on television, I am reminded that she does not run from difficult situations and places. She sits with you and brings food for thought. It is a comfort, in these times, to know you’re not alone. McGhee also has a background in the arts, I learned, when I did a quick Google Search.

Incidentally, Joanna Parson, cross-discipline genius of the written, spoken, and performed word recently reminded her social media followers to honor Donna Parson, her mother, by taking one or many of these actions:

1) Drink a chocolate ice cream soda.
2) Drink a rootbeer float.
3) Send a card to someone.
4) Give a teeny little present to someone.
5) Shop for a teeny little present and hold it, knowing you will someday give it to someone.
6) Read and pay for The New Yorker, The Nation, The American Prospect, The New York Times, Mother Jones, the Washington Post— this list grows and becomes more urgent as our need to support the free press grows.
7) Celebrate the incredible tenure of Heather C. McGhee, of whom Donna was so proud, as President of Demos, by making a small donation here: www.demos.org.
8) Read Thomas Paine, Lillian Hellman, Donald Hall, or anything, really.
9) Go to a cultural event or live performance.
10) Learn where Estonia is on a map (and celebrate the successful return of our family land in Viljandi County to my sister and I after a process began in 1997 by my father, and sustained by Donna for so many years, finally completed!)
11) Call a relative.
12) Talk to someone substantially older or younger than yourself.
13) Shop at a thrift store or flea market.
14) Plan a trip.
15) Eat a good meal, preferably while laughing.

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