The Women's March, January 21, 2017
You could hear the solidarity across continents. Everyone is concerned about women; children; health care for all; protecting Mother Earth; ending corporate greed; the rights of immigrants, refugees, Muslims, LGBTQ communities & Indigenous peoples.
‘Sister Marches’ took place in cities like Sydney; Berlin, Rome, Frankfort, Munich and other cities in Germany; London and many cities in England; cities in Mexico; Paris and several cities in France. Women marched in solidarity with the DC marchers in Greece; Kosovo; the Czech Republic; Georgia; Alaska. Carrying signs like “We the People are Greater than Fear” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun-damental Rights!” women and their supporters marched in numbers in Nairobi, Kenya; Cape Town, South Africa; and in Antarctica, Malawi, Serbia, Spain, and India. My cousin in Dublin told me 10,000 people marched in Ireland: 5,000 in Dublin and 5,000 in Galway.
They marched – when they could – in many cases there were so many participants that it was impossible to march, so the people just rallied where they were. I listened to some of the speeches at the D.C. march, which inspired me and gave me hope. They spoke as women of color, scholars, formerly incarcerated women, children, celebrities, members of the LGBTQ community, refugees, immigrants, Muslims. All spoke in solidarity with all others, calling for a just and inclusive world. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, claimed that Trump’s views of Islam were “ignorant.” Angela Davis, Indigenous speakers and others reminded us of Standing Rock and the need to replace fossil fuels with sustainable energy, the need to respect Indigenous Nations sovereignty, and the importance of thinking toward the seventh generation in making decisions. How could we possible build more pipelines if we think of the impact that would have on the seventh generation to come. Alicia Keys reminded us in song that ‘we are on fire.’
The speakers were definitely inspiring, but many were also challenging. Here’s a sampling.
AMERICA FERRERA (chair of the artists’ table) It’s been a heart-rending time to be both a woman and an immigrant in this country. Our dignity, our character, our rights have all been under attack, and a platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday. But the president is not America. His Cabinet is not America. Congress is not America. We are America! And we are here to stay!
TAMIKA MALLORY (co-chair of the Women’s March on Washington): Today is not a concert. It is not a parade, and it is not a party. Today is an act of resistance. Now, some of you came here to protest one man. I didn’t come here for that. I came here to address those of you who say you are of good conscience. To those of you who experience a feeling of being powerless, disparaged, victimized, antagonized, threatened and abused, to those of you who for the first time felt the pain that my people have felt since they were brought here with chains shackled on our legs. Today I say to you, welcome to my world. Welcome to our world.
I stand here as a black woman, the descendent of slaves. My ancestors literally nursed our slave masters. Through the blood and tears of my people, we built this country. America cannot be great without me, you and all of us who are here today. Today you may be feeling aggrieved, but know that this country has been hostile to its people for a long time. For some of you, it is new. For some of us, it is not so new at all. Today I am marching for black and brown lives, for Sandra Bland, for Philando Castile, for Tamir Rice, for Aiyana Stanley-Jones, for Eric Garner, for Michael Brown, for Trayvon Martin and for those nine people who were shot at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. We have a chance, brothers and sisters, to get this thing right. We can do it, if women rise up and take this nation back!
SOPHIE CRUZ: We are here together making a chain of love to protect our families. Let us fight with love, faith and courage, so that our families will not be destroyed. I also want to tell the children not to be afraid, because we are not alone. There are still many people that have their hearts filled with love and tenderness to snuggle in this path of life. Let’s keep together and fight for the rights. God is with us! Watch this 6-year-old give her speech:
ANGELA DAVIS: Over the next months and years, we will be called upon to intensify our demands for social justice, to become more militant in our defense of vulnerable populations. Those who still defend the supremacy of white, male, hetero patriarchy had better watch out. The next 1,459 days of the Trump administration will be 1,459 days of resistance—resistance on the ground, resistance in the classrooms, resistance on the job, resistance in our art and in our music. This is just the beginning. And in the words of the inimitable Ella Baker, ‘we who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.’ Thank you.
MADONNA: Welcome to the revolution of love, to the rebellion, to our refusal as women to accept this new age of tyranny, where not just women are in danger, but all marginalized people, where being uniquely different right now might truly be considered a crime. It took this horrific moment of darkness to wake us the [bleep] up. It seems as though we had all slipped into a false sense of comfort, that justice would prevail and that good would win in the end. Well, good did not win this election. But good will win in the end. So, what today means is that we are far from the end. Today marks the beginning, the beginning of our story. The revolution starts here, the fight for the right to be free, to be who we are, to be equal. Let’s march together through this darkness and, with each step, know that we are not afraid, that we are not alone, that we will not back down, that there is power in our unity and that no opposing force stands a chance in the face of true solidarity.
Feeling inspired and filled with hope from the women’s marches, I then heard yesterday’s news that the President signed away environmental protections the Obama Administration had put in place: the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access Pipeline are back. I cried. I cry every time I think of it. All the work for these small victories wiped away by a pen. But I try to keep in mind my new resolve to not let myself be discouraged and to continually find ways to engage in the struggle for liberty, justice and inclusivity.
Signing an executive order greenlighting construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines demonstrates the president’s priority for corporate oil interests at the expense of environmental protection and the well-being of Americans.
Please let the president know what you think:
Tell President Trump: Keystone XL and Dakota Access stand in opposition to our values.
En la lucha – that’s where we’ll for the near future - in the struggle!
Sister Ceil Lavan, OP