We recently appointed two members to be Co-chairs of the Communications Committee for the Women’s Caucus. We chatted with one of the new Communications Co-Chairs, Sadie, about about her feminist role models, why she joined the Women’s Caucus and what she always brings back from the US. Here’s what she had to say.
What is your full name? Sadie Fitch Kempner
Where in the UK do you currently live? London
Where did you grow up? London and Oxfordshire
In which state do you vote? New York
How long have you lived in the UK? My whole life – I have dual citizenship!
When did you join the DAUK Women’s Caucus? About 6 months ago – when Elizabeth Warren dropped her Presidential Campaign video
What is your occupation? I’m currently doing an MSc at the London School of Economics in Gender, Policy and Inequalities (but hoping to get into policy work full time from September!)
What prominent woman role model, living or dead, do you admire and why?
Kimberle Crenshaw, who coined the term “intersectionality” in 1989, because she made the feminist and anti-racist movements take a long look at their progressive politics and decide to try and do better, which is no small feat. I’ve also been lucky enough to see her speak twice and do a workshop with her and as well as being insanely articulate and inspiring and she’s also warm, funny, generous with her time and expertise, and an incredible storyteller. Her work has done and does so much for and in the feminist movement and I only hope to be able to move through life with a fraction of her eloquence, grounded-ness and insight.
What do you bring back to the UK from the US?
Mostly kinds of candy… Bit-O-Honey, Twizzlers, Marshmallow Peeps and Hersheys Kisses. Also Archie Comics (my mum still has hers from the 1960s and has passed on her strange obsession), and usually too many pairs of shoes from outlet shopping malls…(it’s just not the same in the UK).
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would love to be getting stuck in to changing the world, even if only in a little way – influencing policymakers or organisations to do better for women, particularly multiply marginalized women. Whatever it is I want to be “using my powers for good” as a mentor of mine once said. When did you become politically active, and what prompted you to do so? I don’t remember not being aware of injustices going on around me and across the world. One of my earliest memories of being “political” or at least having a political response to something was during Hurricane Katrina when I was 8 or 9 years old, going into school and lecturing any friends who would listen about the horrific presidential response to that disaster. I guess I first became properly active though at university in Durham where I founded my college feminism society because there wasn’t one already!
“Women’s Caucus has given me a community of American women in London which has allowed me to really explore a part of my identity I haven’t really been able to much before which is really exciting!”
Why did you join the Women’s Caucus?
After campaigning for Clinton in Miami in 2016 I was just heartbroken and felt like I hadn’t got started early enough but living in the UK I wasn’t sure where to start. I knew about DAUK in a general way and have been a member since then but when candidates started announcing I knew I wanted to be more involved, to help raise awareness and learn with and from likeminded people. As a gender student and feminist, the Women’s Caucus seemed like the most natural fit, so here I am!
What issue or cause is most important to you and why?
The more I study these issues, the more I am convinced that all inequalities and injustices are inextricable from each other – access to reproductive healthcare including abortion always happens through lenses of class, race, nationality and ability; poverty is gendered and raced; the austerity politics that has been a part of Euro-Atlantic politics for the past decade systematically violates the human rights of particular individuals along all the same lines and rewards those who were responsible for the economic crash, deepening the poverty, sexism, ableism and racism that feeds into all the issues above. (I’m great to have at dinner parties, trust me.)
How does being a part of this organization enhance your activism?
In so many ways – the Women’s Caucus has given me confidence to express my political views and build arguments with the support of the incredible Comms Co-Chairs, Communications Committee generally and of course the fantastic Co-Chairs. It’s given a platform to me and all its members who want to get involved so that when our role models to make our voices heard I have somewhere to go and a community to rally with.
How has being apart of this organization improved your life as American woman in London?
Because I’ve spent all my life in the UK, I have a much stronger natural affinity with my Britishness than my American-ness (though it was always American politics that spoke to me). Women’s Caucus has given me a community of American women in London which has allowed me to really explore a part of my identity I haven’t really been able to much before which is really exciting!