If you have been following the Women’s March Movement, you may quickly recognize one of its organizers, Sarah Sophie Flicker. Aside from being on of the forces behind the largest demonstration in history, she is also creative director of social justice production company, Art Not War; founding member of political cabaret group, The Citizens Band; half of feminist parenting Tumblr, At Once; and part of reproductive rights media group, Lady Parts Justice. In all of her pursuits, Flicker is unapologetically smart, stylish, and steadfast in her fight for justice and equality. Highly visible in her community, but modest about her influence, she is a longtime advocate for the under-appreciated, misrepresented, and disenfranchised.
Noreen Moriarty talked to Sarah Sophie Flicker just in time for International Women’s Day. Read the exclusive Untitled Magazine interview below for her tips on how to be a socially active citizen, with photography by Tina Turbow.
The Untitled Magazine: How would you describe yourself when you meet someone for the first time?
Sarah Sophie Flicker: When I was young that question would stump me. I do all sorts of things. There is no shame in not having one title or role and take great pride in that. I’m an activist. I‘m a creative director. I am a performer. I am a mom and I think that’s important to include because that is a job.
UM: Do you remember the first social issue that compelled you to become active in your community?
SSF: I don’t really. My parents did a very good job of teaching me to be a critical thinker and to have an idea of where to draw lines in the sand. It was a part of the fabric of their lives. I remember the Grape Boycott of California. My first volunteer work was at NOW and Coalition on Homelessness in San Francisco.
UM: As an activist, where do you get the most timely information?
SSF: I get to cheat through my work at Art Not War. At the Women’s March we quickly assembled a group of more than 500 partners—everyone from the ACLU to Indivisible to CAIR—we get info in real time. If I’m making suggestions, I really like Daily Action because they text you one phone call to make each day. Indivisible is doing great work through town halls and local representatives. Mikki Halpin also has a great daily [newsletter] called Action Now.
UM: In NY there are marches and events every week, how do you prioritize your activism?
SSF: This isn’t a sprint. It’s not even a marathon. It’s a relay race. You don’t have to do it all. Find the areas where you are passionate and commit to carving out a few hours a week. Rallies are well timed so you can stop by on the way home from work. Try to schedule your day to roll in and show your support. Having bodies there is important. If you have privilege, show up for communities that are more vulnerable than yours.
#adaywithoutawoman March 8th Strike! Wear red! Don’t shop! Refrain from paid & unpaid labor! “Accepting injustice as normal was part of how we got here. Refusing to accept even greater injustice as normal is the only way we will get out.” – Sarah Kendzior #istrikefor #adaywithoutawoman #daywithoutawoman #stayhuman #resist Image by @marisolmuro
UM: What makes you feel powerful?
SSF: I’ve been thinking about this a lot. A real issue I am having with this election cycle is the hardcore misogyny that people are not really talking about. There is a real display of toxic masculinity that this administration is soaking in. For me, I think power is about (taking a masculine idea of power and) tipping it on its head. I feel powerful when I’m vulnerable; when I’m doing a good job listening; when I am not being interrupted and not interrupting; when I know to step aside to let someone else tell their story because it’s their story to tell; and when I tune out and spend time with my kids so I can show them unconditional love. It makes me a better leader. It makes me more tolerable of myself.
UM: How do you power down between marches, meetings, and performing?
SSF: I’m not good at it. I’m usually researching when I should be sleeping. That’s bad advice. Don’t do that. People ask, “Why did you send me so many articles at midnight?” I feel very grateful for my kids because I have built-in, real reasons to power down and focus on something more present.
UM: I have to say thank you to you and the other women who are really putting themselves out there and taking on leadership and organizational roles. The “pussy grabbing” comment—that moment in time hit me very hard.
SSF: In a way it was the most sexless moment this country has had. And it got buried. It was a universal gut punch. It gave me more empathy for other women. Sexism, and misogyny is pervasive and it is a very big deal. A silver lining is that so many people have woken up and become active.
UM: What do you hope will be your legacy?
SSF: We all have some sort of responsibility to make the world a more ethical, moral, and empathetic place. I have two goals:
1. The political goal is to do more good than harm
2. The personal goal is for my family to know that I love them.
Interview by Noreen Moriarty for The Untitled Magazine.
Photography and makeup by Tina Turnbow.
Shot on location at The Standard, East Village.