Feeling powerless isn’t in Tanya Halkyard’s DNA. She grew up hearing stories about her great-great-great-great aunt, Susan B. Anthony, who blazed a trail through 19th century American politics, championing the abolition of slavery, votes for women, and other causes considered radical, if not outright insane, at the time. But Tanya never imagined, when she moved to Rome in 2011 to start a language school, that she would find herself on the front lines fighting for causes – such as gender and racial equality — that apparently haven’t progressed as much as we’d thought since Susan B. Anthony’s time.
“After November’s election, I mourned for a day.” Tanya told me. “And the next day, I got to work.”
Her first act was founding American Expats for Positive Change Italy. She then reached out to the Women’s March, Progressive Action Global Exchange (PAGE), Americans Resisting Overseas, Democrats Abroad Italy, and many other international, national, and local organizations. She coordinates with them on marches, protests, contact-your-reps campaigns, and a host of other activities. I was delighted that Tanya’s team joined the #VirtualTaxMarch launched by my group, American Resistance Seville.
“Living abroad does give me a different perspective on American politics,” Tanya says, speaking of her international news sources, conversations with people from all over the world, and opportunities to watch European political dramas unfold over time. She’s able to “see what’s important globally. Now I think that having a president who can represent the country in a diplomatic way is really important. And making enemies abroad is not a good idea. Pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord was really about international relations; [the president] was saying, ‘I don’t want to work with the international community.’ Part of being an American living in Italy is trusting that Italy and America are going to be friends. When my president makes an enemy, it changes the dialog about who I am and how people are going to perceive me.”
In these turbulent times, Tanya is steadfast in her confidence that the Resistance is working. “We are far away from home,” her website says. “But we cannot give in to feeling powerless. Now more than ever we need to get involved and stand up for our beliefs. We must work together to make change. If you're wondering what you can do, join us, and we will figure it out together.”
This video is Episode 2 of my ongoing series Women of the American Resistance. You can view the complete series on YouTube, this blog, and American Resistance Sevilla; many episodes appear on Americans Resisting Overseas and other social media sites. Feel free to repost this video or link to this content. My goal is to tell the world about these remarkable American women and the work they're doing to help fix the mess we're in.
6/17/2017 11:04:45 pm
You are such an inspiration to women everywhere in that you go, seek and find what is happening in places most of the women and men of America cannot begin to imagine! This is such a terrific blog! Thanks for informing us of continuing efforts being fought on the streets of Rome! Bravo for showing us the pink pusssy hats in the protests in Rome! Facebook here comes this blog! Patricia🦋
6/18/2017 12:59:42 am
Thanks, Patricia. It's an honor and a privilege — and tremendous good fun — to have the opportunity to get to know these remarkable women and tell their stories. I really enjoyed interviewing Tanya, who was such a good sport as we struggled through various technical problems during the taping. Her dedication and energy are amazing! I'm looking forward to upcoming conversations with many more unsung heroines this summer.
6/19/2017 12:33:35 am
Nicely put Karen and Tanya. Keep up the great work, both of you.
6/19/2017 01:24:21 am
Glad you like the video, Harriet. There's so much important work being done out there and it's fascinating to get to talk with people leading the charge. Stay tuned, because we're just getting started!
9/1/2017 04:08:10 pm
Karen - I am working my way through your series, and I have to commend you for doing an outstanding job. Not only are the topics great and questions you ask very meaningful, your production is also very professional. It's not easy to move from writing to video production, but you've done it masterfully!
9/1/2017 08:00:49 pm
Glad you're enjoying the series, Sine! It's been great fun and totally inspiring to work on these videos. There's a learning curve on the technology, of course, but on a creative level it's exciting to work with motion and sound as well as words. But the best part is meeting so many great women — like you and your daughters!
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TO I'm an American travel writer based in Seville, Spain.
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