Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Women's March on Washington Reflection

On November 21, a day that would otherwise be full of anger, frustration and sorrow, was instead a day of empowerment, activism, and collective action. The Women's March on Washington was an unprecedented global event. The reality of having a president who disregards science, has next to no knowledge of the issues, and whose ideology is sexist, racist and homophobic, has jolted many otherwise passive people into action.

The Women’s March was a worldwide reinforcement of community. A disengaged electorate, facilitated by the many comforts most Americans experience, has fostered a disengagement in public discourse. However, recognizing the vast number of people who want to see a world that is inclusive, equal, and sustainable, has been a healing experience and a reminder that we are in this together.

Consistently, the speakers at the Women’s March on Washington, who were largely women of color, repeated the sentiment that women’s rights are inseparable from social and environmental justice. This view was reinforced in the hundreds of clever and profound posters hand-crafted by marchers. Knowing that there are so many people who share a vision for a world where all humans, all animals and the environment are respected and protected, was deeply empowering.

I am humbled by this experience. However, there have been negative reactions to this historic event: bashing of the pussyhat campaign, questioning the validity of the march as being considered activism, dismissing the march as an event for white women, the lack of inclusion of people of color and trans-people. These issues are all valid and I want to make sure that I do not disregard these critics. I would just say that people of privilege can be activists too and while this may be the first protest some of the participants attended, you gotta start somewhere!

I urge participants to keep the fire within you alive (Trumps is probably going to make it pretty easy)! Continue to be active! Attend the next Black Lives Matter march near you! Attend the national march on April 15th, Tax day! Volunteer for other local activist organizations. And don't let negative messages dissuade you from believing in the power of this event and your individual action!

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