As full of snow these recent weeks in January have been for many of us, they are also ones full of social and historical importance. This past Saturday, women across the nation marched for the fourth annual Women’s March on Washington. This week, we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, remembering a man whose advocacy changed the course of our nation. And this Wednesday marks the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, after which follows the 45th annual March for Life on Friday, when streets of Washington will be filled with anti-abortion protesters.

It’s a tumultuous time in our nation, one where concerns are high and debates persist on issues for which many on very divergent sides seek greater protection of rights and freedoms. I’d love to know what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would tell us now, were he still marching on Washington.

For Brenda Myers-Powell, who penned an article at Verily at this time of year in 2016, when we remember King, “we remember a man who fought to erase the residual effects of slavery that had troubled our nation since its founding.” For Myers-Powell, those residual effects are all too real, as she fights to stop the modern-day slavery that continues to take place across our country with sex-trafficking.

This year, a different writer shares her story of an unplanned pregnancy—an issue of high importance to women who march in both of the very different marches on Washington this week. For this writer, her challenging experience is one she credits for her later personal advancement, as well as for women’s progress beyond herself.

Topics such as abortion today are heated in political and public discourse, even while not often openly discussed in our homes and friendships. I have a theory that part of the reason many women’s topics like abortion, sexual assault, and others even more broadly like race issues, have been as highly charged as they are under-discussed in personal conversation is that they may have touched a person personally and left a painful mark. It may be a broad stroke to say this, but it’s fair to say that no one rushes to talk about topics that have affected them personally during hard times of their lives. While this makes sense, there has been a cultural question that’s developed out of this, of whether we should avoid the topics that trigger us. Responding to this, Stephanie Murray writes a case for leaning into triggers in a thought-provoking essay for Verily this week. As it happens, this very article was born out of a democratic process that you, our readers, participated in—it was an article idea voted for in one of our Verily Yours reader surveys. To our members, in particular, thank you for sharing your voice and making this article happen!

Additionally this week at Verily, we share a fascinating style piece on the “History of Color,” in which Caroline Mays explores shades that have influenced or been influenced by social movements and politics.

Is it just me, or does this sound like a week of content on touchy social and political topics, that manages not to cause a headache? I hope it’s the same for you, and more than that, uplifting. 

Thank you for your readership, shares, and support!

Warmly,
Mary Rose