This weekend, I attended an author event where a woman, with a rich history in the auto industry through the 70s and 80s, shared her journey of empowering women. Our conversation made me ponder on the concept of empowerment during my drive home.
What does empowering mean? Initially, I considered empowerment as providing tools and resources to enhance someone's abilities, to overcome limitations and to achieve their goals. Yet, I realized it goes beyond that – it's about fostering self-confidence, offering encouragement, and dismantling barriers. It's not about creating equality; instead, it's about ensuring equitable opportunities for everyone.
As I reflected further on my drive, I realized that Annie the Porcupine's stories is the tool that I am using to help empower. My purpose in writing "I Don't Celebrate Anything" was to empower children who are often perceived as different. Annie was crafted with the purpose of providing children, not typically represented in "holiday" books, a chance to see themselves. It builds confidence, showing these children that they are not alone in their experiences.
However, Annie the Porcupine also serves as a bridge for those who do celebrate specific holidays. It lets them see different traditions, breaking down barriers by fostering communication and understanding. Reader feedback has highlighted instances where they could relate their own experiences to Annie, or where they recalled a childhood friend who was just like her, prompting a shift in their perspective.
Empowerment to me is about helping people see things differently. It encourages us to consider various viewpoints and fosters an environment of fairness and inclusion. It doesn't seek uniformity because we are all different, but equity – where everyone is treated fairly and given the chance to be included.