With estimates between 2.6 and 2.9 million women and men in attendance across the nation, the march is regarded as the largest protest in U.S history. And, as NBC News points out, not a single arrest was needed. Peaceful is productive. Additionally, there were hundreds and hundreds of rallies worldwide. (Click here to see the amazing NYTimes gallery of global marches photos.) Millions of women and men are finally on board with the importance of feminism.
The March in Montana was a profound experience. When we arrived at the Women’s March in Helena, the crowd of women and men was so massive it curved around up ahead beyond our sight. I got more of a sense of just how huge the protest was when a wave of momentous cheering came from somewhere far, far ahead and rippled through the crowed to where we stood. I couldn’t help but turning to my friends and saying “This is the positive revolution right here.” And it truly is, especially if we keep this momentum up.
The sun hadn’t made it’s way out of the clouds for weeks and here it was warming up us protesters in the below freezing temperatures. The energy was amazing. The march began to move with signs bobbing up and down and people joyously coming together to celebrate ‘love trumping hate” and to stand up fiercely for ALL women’s rights. As the march turned the corner, my friends and I took to climbing the snow covered hill, our boots sinking into feet of snow, along with other marchers, to get a glimpse of the speakers with the magnificent Helena capitol building in the background. The speakers began with first acknowledging that we were standing on native ground. Speakers talked about women’s rights including bodily rights, freedom from rape, native rights, economic justice, black lives matter, LGBTQ, water protectors, access to good education, muslim rights and uniting all women and men. I looked around at the crowd of fierce women of all ages taking a stand, and at my amazing friends who had come with me. I especially appreciated that three of my best guy friends had been so excited to come out and show support with us. They were one of the thousands of men who marched in partnership.
After the march, the town of Helena was packed and it was impossible to find a place to eat so we stopped into a bar and grill in the middle of nowhere in between Helena and Missoula. We walked into the bar filled with very nice, yet thrown-off at seeing us, cowboys and men in snow work-pants and camouflage. I took my jacket off and sported my “this is what a feminist looks like” shirt and my Rosie the Riveter earrings without thinking about how funny it was I was rocking my feminism so proudly in such a bar: A rural area in the thick of Montana where, according to most voting trends, had most likely voted for Trump and might never have taken a second thought to think about why feminism might be important. More marchers ended up coming into the place, throwing off the original rural, isolated vibe.
Driving home with my friends sleeping in the backseat as I peered out at the snowy landscape with the sun peaking through the clouds in shades of tangerine, I thought about how influential the moment was: Finally, women’s voices were being heard in massive protest. (One only has to look at the absence of women’s participation in history to gather the momentousness of the day.) Nearly 10,000 women and men turned out for the march in Helena, (6,000 more than projected) and nearly 500,000 women and men turned up in Washington D.C, and 2.6 million across the nation, to say: It is high time we have bodily rights, equal pay, freedom from rape and other violence, and the ability and right to participate fully and loudly in our own society. To say all people, women and men of all color, of all backgrounds, religious (and non-religious) affiliations, sexualities and gender identities, all have inalienable rights that need respect. To paraphrase one of the speakers at the rally “We need to look at our neighbors and say, ‘I see you and I honor you.'”
We are a community of humans: The experience made my heart feel full to the brim with, you guessed it, LOVE. Love is such a fundamental driving factor in humans which creates such immeasurable beauty we should not be afraid of being “cheesy” and instead say “Yes. I’ve got a lot of love for y’all fellow humans, ALL of you, and we’re all in this together. So I’m going to act with love.” Throughout the march, I thought especially of my loving mother and my grandmothers.
I can’t wait for The March! This is an immensely historic moment. Remember that phrase, the revolution will not be televised? Well this is it and it is a peaceful one. (And needs to remain so.) And though the revolution might not be televised, thankfully it will be internet-ized. 194,000 people, women and men, have said they will attend the march in D.C. and there are sister marches and rallies in every single state. In total, there are 370 marches across the country drawing, by latest estimate, 700,000 people.
This January 21, 2017, the day after the inauguration of a demagogue, people are uniting. And it’s not just in America. The movement has spread across the globe, with rallies taking place in six different continents. Across the globe, people of all backgrounds are standing up for equality and respect. (That’s what feminism is about: Women getting equality, not superiority.) The Women’s March on Washington’s policy platform is abundantly inclusive and intersectional, and ensures the public knows this movement is about ALL women.
When chatting with a woman from Australia the other day, she pointed out how entrentched the patriarchy is in America. I asked her what we need to do to make our country a better place for women. She said, “Women need to keep showing up.” So simple. I agree. We need to keep showing up at rallies and protests, on blogs and comment threads and in-person conversations, schools, businesses, court rooms, doctors offices and media screens. We need to continue to stand up for ourselves of all backgrounds.
This is our chance, as the females of this country, (and the globe) to show the world that women’s rights need to be at the forefront of our present and our future. We cannot progress and face the challenges that humans will need to contend with, like environmental destruction and human tragedy, if half the people are pushed to the margins. This is a great time to show the new administration of the U.S. that women’s voices will not be squandered. Women’s rights are human rights and we will fight for these rights, together.
The global Women’s March movement has outlined it’s vision with an acronym, H.E.R.S, which stands for: Health, Economic Security, Representation, and Safety. They are encouraging others to adapt this model as well:
- “Health — Healthcare is the foundation of women’s well-being and economic stability. Women’s March Global advocates for access to affordable and inclusive women’s healthcare regardless of nationality, age, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
- Economic Security — Women are powerful drivers of economic growth, and their economic empowerment benefits all nations. Women’s March Global supports the dismantling of economic barriers that obstruct women’s full and equal access to local, national, and global economic systems.
- Representation — Women are under-represented globally, adversely affecting our collective health, safety, and economic security. Women’s March Global seeks fair and just representation of women locally, nationally, and internationally.
- Safety — Every woman has the need and right to feel physically secure, and security for women should be assured through sound legal practices. Women’s March Global stands behind the principle that women are not to be held accountable for actions that are outside their control — particularly regarding all forms of assault — and that fair legal action must be applied to prevent these crimes.”
Together, joining forces with one another, women and men of all backgrounds, we can create a better world where women have equal rights and respect.
To find out more, go to womensmarch.com and check out the video below.
I haven’t seen such a good film in a loooong time. With the approach of the inauguration of a demagogue, it was great to escape into a film so enthralling and full of amazing women. And it passes the Bechdel Test hands down.
Played by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe (yes, the Janelle Monáe, singer and songwriter) Hidden Figures is the true story of the women who did the calculations and research that made it possible to send people into space. Interwoven in the film are the obstacles these amazing women, Katherine Johnson Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, had to overcome during the segregated 1960’s. This movie was immensely refreshing and we need more movies like it. Check it out!
Women are leading the indigenous fight in Latin America. Click the video below for a quick synopsis of some of the important environmental movements happening there, and the women taking the lead and taking a stand.
In these trying times I am reminded of a quote by the amazing Angela Davis:
So let’s change the things that are unacceptable.