First page of "The Sisters of Salem" by Terre Richards. Photo by Lands of Void with the permission of Terre Richards.
26 | Ceres Magazine | Fall 2016
When a lot of us from my generation promoted and worked for women's rights, the following generation dropped the balls. I'm 68 years old, where are the women in their 40s and 50s? They always had the door opened for them; we didn't! We had to kick and shove our way in. Therefore, what is given can be taken away, too! Change is still change, and things can go backward, too. You have to be vigilant.
Ceres: Where do you place yourself in this society?
Terre: I am an activist, so is my daughter. She's involved in her own political movement and
supports women, and she's a woman in the music industry. She's a successful singer-songwriter, with a third record coming out, and she had to battle the image of women in music, and how they wanted to turn her into some bimbo with a short skirt. I defined myself as an activist, as an independent person, as someone who doesn't blow according to the winds and whims of what other people expect of me. I'm very self-confident. I know that whatever I want to do, I can achieve. Yes, there have been times when there were obstacles and blocks on the road, but one friend of mine said recently to me that I always land on my feet. I have had setbacks, divorce, etc… But somehow, I’ve always managed to support myself and I raise my daughter. She's successful, and I've been a successful role model to other women, too. I recently mentored a young woman filmmaker who made a short film that is now in the Cane Film Festival, this year. This young woman is actually from Nigeria, but she grew up here. I told her, “Jennifer, you can't call yourself a filmmaker if you've never made a film. Come with me, you'll be my assistant, I'll teach you everything I know.”
Ceres: Talking about Nigeria, how do you think that the role of women in these countries, where women are considered second class-citizens, or just property, could change?
Terre: Well, this young woman I mentored, Jennifer, her mother escaped Nigeria because, though she was well cared for and married to a Nigerian diplomat who had multiple wives, she felt she was nothing else but his property, and a slave. She migrated here, got an education and a masters’ degree, and raised her two children from that