It is a cold, overcast and occasionally rainy day as I write about what the president called a “perfect day for all Women to March.” I marched the Women’s March Contra Costa in Walnut Creek, CA. The weather was beautiful. The marchers, not all women, were enthusiastic. The atmosphere was powerful. My favorite sign of the day was “Who will help me find Donald Trump’s Horcruxes.” Many of my fellow marchers who had been there last year, claimed that this year’s march was bigger than last year’s march. I believe that many local marchers were like me; they had gone to Washington, DC last year and were participating in their local march this year.
The message for the March itself was straightforward and direct. VOTE. Marching does not matter. Objecting does not matter. Calling our representatives in Congress does not matter. None of it matters if we do not vote. The only way to change things in this country is to vote, get others to vote, and register people to vote. The theme for the March this year was “Power to the Polls.” We have moved from activism focused on opposing Trump's agenda to one that focuses on controlling our future. In the last year, 26,000 women have signed up with Emily’s list, committing to run for office in 2018. We need to look for the women we support and donate, volunteer, and vote for them in our local, state, and national elections.
Everyone has a story. Something brought them to the March in the first place; a line that they could not cross. For me, it was people I care about fearful in the face of the Trump/Pence victory. Afraid that their rights and safety were threatened. As a mother, I could not stay silent if others are not safe. I have been a labor activist and have been politically active for many years. I just know that now, the activism is different because I am reaching out beyond the narrow range of interests that I had acted upon in the past. I connected with a local Indivisible group, started a Huddle group, connected with local progressive groups. I even started this blog. My niece, who teaches kindergarten at a Catholic school in LA, invited kindergarteners from a Muslim school nearby to have lunch with her students. This year she did it bigger and better by organizing an event for all the students at both schools to participate, not just the kindergarteners. It was again a big hit. All this unites us as Americans and fosters peace.
Last year we came together as a group of activists and activists in training. This year we were warriors, tried and true. Many individuals had found a direction for themselves. Most of you reading this blog have chosen a path; you have selected an issue that you are passionate about that you commit your energy too. The Indivisible group I most closely associate with is Contra Costa County Indivisible. It is a large group of about 700 to 1000 members. So the group is divided into smaller units so that members can work on the issues most important to them. That includes members working on immigration, criminal justice, the environment, and education. All members are encouraged to take action in all areas. Action in local government, as well as State and Federal movements. Our leadership works closely with our elected officials, such as Congressman Mark Desaulnier.
We have gone from a group of Americans who are angry and against the Trump/Pence agenda, to a group of Americans for an agenda of inclusion in advancing democracy and real freedom for all rather than a system that allows for freedom for those who can pay for it. Encouraging others to vote and advocating for voting rights is key to advancing the rights of all members of society. That is the key to maintaining a democratic system. Focusing on voting as a fundamental right of American citizenship is one area that we can all agree on.
The young people from Parkland, Florida who have been speaking out about gun control and organizing their peers are incredible. They are an example of how to speak truth to power. They have maintained their message and seem to have been watching what has been happening over the last year. The media seems to be ready to listen to them. They are taking the voice they are given and using it with power. I will be writing more about this in my next post.
Please comment, share, and like. I am anxious for others to share their experiences about in the Women’s March. How was it different for you this year versus last year?