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#31Days of Feminism: Anika Campbell

Throughout the month of March, NBCBLK, NBCLatino, and NBC Asian America have partnered with the Ms. Foundation for Women for #31Days of Feminism to spotlight women of color who, through their actions and words, lead the way toward a more equal world.

Anika Campbell, Executive Director of the Center for Frontline Retail

@ShoppersAlly | www.facebook.com/FrontlineRetail | frontlineretail.org

Anika Campbell is the Executive Director of the Center for Frontline Retail (CFR), where she guides the strategic ‘services to organizing’ vision. With over ten years of experience in workforce development, program management, organizing and employment in the retail industry, Anika fights against unfair scheduling practices, low wages and racial and gender discrimination

What do you love the most about the work you do?

Members are the heart of the Center for Frontline Retail and what I love most about what I do. Retail workers are the silent schedule strugglers of the workforce and have to deal with the demands of balancing an unpredictable schedule and their personal lives, especially those who are caregivers and students.

Leadership development of retail workers, especially the women who are caregivers/ mothers know the struggle of balancing an unpredictable retail schedule and their full-time parenting job, creates public awareness that this is one of the fastest growing industries where people work to sustain a family. When women become leaders at CFR, in their retail stores, and in their communities it gives me life.

What is feminism to you?

Feminism is the liberation of women from subservient labels, classification and statuses in the realms of the social, political and economic. Feminism is the ability to dissect and breakdown structural inequalities at all intersections without fear. Feminism is the personal, communal, futuristic and historical.

Can you pinpoint the moment when you decided to become a feminist? If you don’t consider yourself a feminist, why not?

I am not sure I can pinpoint that moment when I “decided” to become a feminist because there is an element of calling myself a feminist that I believe is innate and has lived within me for long than I realized.

Looking back at my personal experience there were moments when I questioned my family’s actions and comments based on me being a little black girl with nappy hair. There were times when I read certain statistics in the news as a teenager and felt enraged and lower than but ready to fight for who I was. There were times when I questioned my own self, body, mind and spirit based on what I experienced on a daily basis which would eventually lead to me questioning why I should question or try to change who I am. I feel all these moments were critical times and could be considered that moment when I decided to become a feminist, although I may not have labeled it that way at that moment.

What is the best way we can all be “feminists”?

By constantly questioning the who, why, where, what, and how I think we will prepare ourselves to keep challenging the status quo while maintaining a checks and balances practice where inclusion for marginalized people becomes a part of political, economical and social structures.

Who are your “sheroes”?

Karen Campbell (my mother), Afeni Shakur, Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, Dorothy Pitman Hughes, Wonder Woman, Melissa Perry Harris

Favorite feminist anthem?

Flawless- Beyonce, RESPECT- Aretha Franklin, just about every song/ lyric dedicated to uplifting people.

Favorite feminist artist? (authors, singers, dancers, actors)

Nina Simone, Angela Basset, Gloria Anzaldúa, bell hooks