I went to the Women's March on Washington this weekend. It was amazing. There were so many lovely people, folks were generally in good spirits, patient and calm and purposeful. And by folks I do mean FOLKS. By the middle of the rally I was sandwiched tightly and couldn't really even shift my weight from one foot to the other without bumping into someone. Definitely the biggest crowd I've ever been a part of.
Why Did I March?
Pretty much this:
About the March
It started with a rally, including some amazing speakers and artists. Planned for 3 hours, it went well over 4. I'll have to admit that by the end, I wasn't in any shape to deeply listen to those on the stage. After standing in the same place for four hours and with SO many people all around, it was challenging to stay focused. I've been going back to listen to recordings of those toward the end.
I was inspired by so many of the speeches and performers that it's difficult to choose just a few to highlight. I mean... Gloria Steinham?! Angela Davis?! Three sitting senators!? It was uplifting and reassuring to hear how firmly they are fighting for women, inspirational to think what they must have gone through to be in office. I've included videos of many of the speeches below - watch them!
There wasn't actually much marching, because almost the entire route was already filled with people. We did, however, shuffle slowly but boisterously along towards the Washington monument & the White House accompanied by drums and chants. I've been to other marches & protests on the Mall, and this was by far the best attended.
I saw a group of Georgetown University med students there in their white coats, and another much older practicing physician walking in his lab coat and stethoscope. I found it meaningful that they would choose to march in their professional garb, signifying the potential impact of Trump's policies on the medical field.
Many of the speakers urged everyone to take the energy from the march as a single step on a very long road. Here are a few of my commitments in the weeks and months ahead:
I have been using a (free) service Daily Action that texts instructions and info about a phone call or other action each week day. You click on the phone number, listen to a short recording about the daily action, and then they put you through to whomever you're supposed to call that day. It's usually one of your representatives, but occasionally someone else. Don't like or agree with the action? Just hang up. No biggie.
It serious takes 90 seconds per day and all you have to do is listen and click the phone number. Highly recommend.
I am already technically a member of many activist organizations: Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, Moms Demand Action, the SPLC and NARAL, to name a few. However my participation has largely been financial over these past few years. I am committed to picking a at least one organization doing local work and showing up at meetings. Some that I have in mind are:
- The League of Women Voters: Nonpartisan organization that supports women's rights. One of their focus areas for now is voter suppression. They have local chapters all over the country, including one close to me that I may explore.
- Emily's List: This organization works to elect pro-choice women to office. I'd heard of them before but had no idea what they actually did until Saturday. I'll be joining & maybe I'll run someday? Who knows!
- Swing Left: This site helps you locate your closest swing district and will inform you of actions you can take to help in this district. From their website: "Control of the House in 2018 will be decided by a handful of Swing Districts, places where the last election was decided by a thin margin. Find your closest Swing District and join its team to learn about actionable opportunities to support progressives—and defeat Republicans—in that district, no matter where you live." They promise no more than a bare minimum of emails.
- Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America: I found a localish group, although there are no events planned in my area. Maybe I'll start one? Or maybe I'll drive to one that's not as close. Either way, I'm planning to show up.
- Local Black Lives Matter group: The website of our local group seems to be out of commission, so I'm going to need to dig a bit more. I know there was a small march last year that I couldn't attend due to a date conflict, but I'm not sure what else has happened. I will look into this and support how I can.
Reading & Resources
- Great reading list from the Resistance Manual, which by the way is a wiki so if you have additional suggestions you can add them. Really, really useful resources, including videos, articles, books and think pieces on how to resist broken down by issue.
- I have also decided to include more books by women of color in my repertoire. This list looks like a great menu to choose from; those that I have read already on this list are excellent. Here are a few that I'm planning to read this year:
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (this one has been on my list for so long! It's time.
- Zami: A New Spelling of my Name by Audre Lorde
- Growing up X by Ilyahsah Shabazz
- Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by bell hooks