WalkWoke App Helps Develop Future Leaders and Fuels Women's and Resistance Movements

Jan. 2, 2018

BY TARA CARTER

  

Several months back, we began brainstorming ways we could help advance the Resistance Movement. With so much injustice in the world, we sought a means to unify activists and help amplify their messages for a more powerful impact. As such, the WalkWoke App was developed to magnify the voice of every human being and unite our efforts to enact real change.

At its heart, WalkWoke is about promoting love & kindness, education & reason, equity & empathy, and tolerance & respect. The strong slogans and original art in our app take a stand against hatred, violence, ignorance, and cruelty.

The first of its kind, the app is uniquely designed to promote empathy through powerful artwork and cultivate an environment where activists can unite positive energy and effective efforts to mobilize social and political change.

Tangelo co-founders, Antonio and Rebecca Altamirano, and I drew on several past experiences (including our own deeply personal pasts) in the inception of and contributing to the development and awareness of WalkWoke.

Resistance Movement Passion 

Antonio Altamirano lived under a Military Junta regime and corrupt democratic governments in Ecuador. During the war with Peru, boys walking home from school risked being picked up by military buses patrolling high schools and colleges to forcefully subscribe them for war. Antonio remembers taking different routes home to avoid being kidnapped by the military and his mom’s worries and fears. He sees a lot of similarities with the current American environment where politicians are only looking out for their own interests and the slippery slope for democracy to quickly become an oppressive and totalitarian government.

The Tangelo team in Argentina also understood the need to protest given the calamitous and corrupt government. When Rebecca and Antonio pitched WalkWoke to the team, some in Argentina said that they witnessed protests every day of their lives and were thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of the Resistance Movement in a meaningful way. The creative process was accelerated by the passion for the issues and the first fifty posters were created in just a few weeks by the design team. The entire Tangelo team believes that this tool to create positive change is relevant all over the world, not just in the United States.

Future Leaders in the Making

Drawing from her desire to empower her own children and to encourage them to always stand up against injustice, Rebecca Altamirano sought to play a strong role in the Resistance Movement.

Rebecca writes, “Our civil rights moment is now. I’m calling on parents across the nation to model what it means to be a concerned and informed citizen and to find a way for your family to get involved in the Resistance. Instead of wringing our hands about the challenges of parenting in the age of Trump, we can and must empower ourselves to accept the mission and take a stand. Not so long ago, complacency didn’t seem so terrible. We now know that complacency threatens our very core.”

In the conception of WalkWoke, Rebecca maintains, “WalkWoke’s ethos square with our solemn duty to develop future leaders with a rock-solid ethical core. In the end, we must teach our children the imperative of righteous resistance so that they will indeed have the needed muscle memory to act when they do witness injustice.”

Injustice Against Women Runs Rampant 

In developing the WalkWoke protest app, my passion for Women’s Rights has skyrocketed as we work to fight the everyday injustices faced by women, children and minorities around the world.

WalkWoke protest poster array

I’ve never felt we’ve had an even playing field between men and women in this country. I’ve experienced several traumatic and unfair actions against women in my life that have all culminated in me standing up to say, “I’ve had enough. We need change.”

As a survivor of domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment and a survivor of gender-driven company politics, my desire to take an active role in fighting for Women’s Rights with all the wonderful men and women working to make a difference in gender equality grows every single day.

My interest in Women’s Rights grew rapidly over the 12 years I was married to a physical, sexual and emotionally abusive man. I lived with and was subject to a racist, a bigot, and a misogynist who belittled me and spread stereotypes, hate and ignorance for years.

He vehemently believed that all women were inferior and disgusting and, after witnessing his attempts to impart these ignorant and dangerous thoughts on my young son, my fire has been fueled to fight for Women’s Rights like nothing you’ve seen before. 

My battle with our justice system during my lengthy divorce further unveiled the inequality women experience every day, a result of dangerous stereotypes and assumptions. Instead of feeling relief from and justice for my ex-husband’s violent crimes, I learned that many of those serving the judicial system do not understand domestic violence at all.

My idealistic view of the judicial system finding justice and punishing the wrong party was just that - idealistic.

In reality, many judges, attorneys and officials need to be better educated about domestic violence and how to interact with those who were once victims.

Despite my children and I all having standing orders of protection against my ex-husband for life, during my trial, I recall the judge looking at me as if I had two heads when I stated that my ex-husband was indeed abusive since the beginning of the 12 year marriage. Many in the judicial system have no concept of what it’s like to be under the control of another human being to the point that they feel they have no choice but to follow orders of their abuser.

72% of women who were abused either physically or sexually as a child go on to experience violence in their adult lives. - The International Violence Against Women Survey (IVAWS)

After it was all over, my alignment with the Women’s Movement was further strengthened in the reaction I experienced in sharing my trauma with others, particularly female family and friends. My horrific experience was either too much for them to handle, they felt I wasn’t fighting hard enough and listening to their advice or they felt it was my fault for not leaving my ex-husband earlier. Whatever their reasons, I sadly lacked a strong support system when I needed it most. Finding blame in the abused sickened me and further drove my ambition to fight for Women’s Rights for every woman.

Finding Support and Camaraderie in Activism for Women’s Rights

In ultimately finding the strength to leave my abusive past, a constant reminder lives on with me, as my children and I all live with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). As part of our healing process, a local community center, the Women’s Center in Danbury Connecticut, became a second home for my children and I. As part of their program, as well as the local Safe Haven program of Greater Connecticut, I met with other women who were either struggling with leaving their abusive partners, those who had left abusive relationships and were struggling to develop their new life, as well as those who were in a position to help both of the aforementioned groups.

A survivor returns to their abuser an average of seven times before leaving for good. - The National Domestic Violence Hotline

The support groups helped me to re-learn the skills to feel strong, confident and powerful. And they also opened my eyes to the the inadequacies of our justice system. They’ve increased my passion for the Resistance Movement and ignited my ambition to help undo all of the injustices in this world, particularly those toward women, children and minorities. And they inspire me daily to teach my children to be leaders, to resist and to stand up for what they believe in.

Instead of hardening me, my traumatic past ignited my flame to contribute to the awareness of domestic violence and bring to light the daily injustices against women, children and minorities. As such, my daughter and I created an eBay store featuring homemade domestic violence jewelry aimed at raising awareness. 100% of the proceeds go toward aiding those suffering and recovering from domestic violence. Further, I researched the struggles women faced in seeing their abusers held accountable for their actions. I’ve met with numerous survivors who continue to fight for domestic violence awareness and Women’s Rights and have volunteered alongside them at local domestic violence shelters, helping to encourage women to draw on their inner strength. I’ve also participated in domestic violence awareness rallies and runs.

Righting the Wrong of Sexual Harassment

And like so many other women in 21st century America, sexual harassment is a Women’s Right issue that’s been present throughout my working life. My very first job at sixteen years old definitely wasn’t what I’d dreamt of. Just a few short weeks into my first professional job, I overheard my male coworkers describing sexual acts they desired doing to me. The words that spilled from their mouths made me feel belittled. Here I was, excited to partake in my first job, only to be talked about as an object and made to feel “less than” by so-called colleagues.

My experience with sexual harassment didn’t end there either. In two subsequent jobs, male colleagues in superior positions placed their hands on me inappropriately and one insinuated the only reason I was hired over others was due to my looks. My disgust in how I continued to be treated like an object rather than a valued professional grew and grew. Reflecting on these memories years later has only fueled my drive to not only expose how commonly women are sexually harassed, but fight to right this wrong. No one should ever feel “less than” simply as a result of their gender.

Drawing on Martin Luther King’s famous speech, his dedication to achieving racial equality can just as well be applied to the gender inequalities we still face today.

We all deserve to be judged based on the “content of our character,” our aptitude and skill, not by our physical appearance or other superficial characteristics. 

Let’s Make the “All Boys Club” A Thing of the Past

And, like the rest of the 20% of women making 80 cents on the dollar of a man working the same job, I’ve been passed over time and time again for promotions and salary adjustments, a commonplace blight on our fight for Women’s Rights.

Although women and men say they want to be promoted at a similar percentage, women are 15% less likely than men to get promoted. - 2017 Women in the Workplace Study, Lean In and McKinsey & Company

In my long tenure at a stable company, I watched male colleagues progress in title and salary, while I remained stagnant, even as clients complimented and recommended my work. I worked eight years and never received a raise, not even to cover the rising cost of living. I was deliberately excluded, aside from written feedback prepared on request for a male colleague, from key strategy discussions despite being the only day-to-day contact with the client. Office life was akin to an “all boys club” and they certainly did not care for talks of gender equality. I marched on in my fight for Women’s Rights and sought a move to a company where my talent would be valued.

In having made the switch to Tangelo, a 100% multi-faceted diverse company, I’ve grown professionally and finally feel valued as an employee. Founded and built by immigrants and women, Tangelo has intentionally built a culture of hard work and multi-faceted diversity. Hard work arises from our self-driven team, who continuously strive to learn from and build our ingrained culture of all encompassing diversity.

Being inclusive in so many parameters allows the company to generate different work environments and varied experiences to create a unique formula that really works. We're able to offer a breadth of feedback that homogenous teams are unable to provide. As such, ironically, my job has actually made me feel strong and empowered. The company founders, Rebecca and Antonio, recognized my talent early on and I quickly rose to serve as their COO. I am so proud of my amazing accomplishments after remaining professionally stagnant for so many years.

WalkWoke App Furthers the Women’s and Resistance Movements

My formative experiences with Women's Rights and the Resistance Movement added fuel my passion to contribute to the development of WalkWoke. I have had enough of being abused, harassed and discriminated.

I want my daughter to to experience equality and understanding in her relationships. I want her to see a world where her gender plays no factor in determining her salary or whether or not she receives a promotion. I want my son to know without a doubt that being a man does not involve belittling a woman.

I fight for a better world for my children because I believe we CAN achieve better. The WalkWoke App is a means of uniting us, empowering us, and enabling us to achieve “better.”

BY TARA CARTER
WALKWOKE, WOMEN'S RIGHTS, WOMEN'S MARCH, RESISTANCE MOVEMENT, LEADERS