I wrote most of this post before the world went crazy with people sniping and commenting for and against the Woman’s March last weekend. To me, this event was democracy at its finest. Aren’t we lucky to live in a country where we we can stand up for our beliefs, try to affect change?
If you chose not to join, that is absolutely your right. If you participated, I hope it encourages you to engage. Instead of women (and men) ripping on each other for their choices about the rallies over social media, and the negativity that has spread, try to TALK to people who might think differently than you: learn WHY we joined, we watched, we marched, why we spoke. Don’t let the outcome of this worldwide event divide us further.
I choose HOPE as the new administration starts office. I also choose awareness, involvement, and vigilance. And don’t be daft enough to ask if I voted—of course I did.
I joined an overwhelming estimated 250,000 women and men this past weekend during the Woman’s March in Chicago. My first protest rally ever! The thought that people were marching around the country and world only lifted my spirits more. The aerial shots are amazing.
It was a gorgeous, sunny January Chicago day. I was buoyed by those around us—every age, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, physical ability represented. The mood was so empowering, curious, bold, and positive, volunteers and vendors welcoming, the police calming and strong, drivers engaged as we marched through the city after the rally.
Amazingly, we ended up 10 feet from the main stage during the rally. We listened to a wide range of speakers talk passionately about their life experiences. And many who work on the front lines daily with organizations involving women, immigration, Native Americans, LGTBQ, Chicago Teacher’s Union, Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, and many more spoke. A complete list can be found here.
(note: leads from Hamilton spoke, then led the crowd in singing “Let it Be”)
The organizers tried to cancel the march, since the route was overflowing with participants (5 times the expectations!). But the masses ruled that day, filling the streets with pink hats, engaging signs, strollers, wheelchairs, joy, purpose, calm. The shouts of “this is how democracy works” filled the air, as the streets of the Loop became one. From what I heard, there were zero participant arrests among 250,000 in Chicago.
Why I participated
People have asked me, why did I choose to be part of this event? I joined for myself, for my daughters, and family, for my friends, for those on the bubble of so many women’s and human rights issues in our town and country. Not agreeing with the misogynistic words and previous actions of our new President, I wanted be part of an event that lets this new administration that we will be watching what they do with women’s rights, with immigration, with health insurance. It far surpassed my expectations.
So what now?
As one speaker said, “if do you do nothing after today, then this just becomes a giant pep rally.”
I think we need to personally choose the area(s) we want to help galvanize, by involvement and/or supporting financially. There were many number of issues discussed at the event; it would be impossible to be involved in all of them.
We need to watch the changes this administration implements, to not move women’s rights backwards. I will take some time to select which group(s) to become more personally involved with.
For work, I will continue to speak and write about promoting women working in technology, since we are woefully under represented.
And if you chose not to participate, or do not understand our fears and anger, that it okay too. We are fortunate to live in a country where we can have a variety of ideals. .
And why did I share my personal story? So I remember. And am counted in one of the largest single day demonstrations in the world. Time to march forward.