Millions of people joined the women’s marches across the country in January, making it arguably the biggest single-day demonstration ever in the United States.
And every single one of those women, men and children just won a very cool award.
PEN America, a non-profit promoting literature and human rights, announced this week that it is presenting the Women’s March ― meaning its organizers and its participants ― with the 2017 PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award. It honors “exceptional acts of courage” exercising freedom of expression.
“The Women’s March convinced Americans that mass civic action was possible,” Suzanne Nossel, executive director of PEN America, said in a press release announcing the prize. “If not for the Women’s March, people would not have flooded to airports over a weekend to reject a discriminatory visa ban just days later. We honor the Women’s March for acting at a critical moment to overcome the inertia and fear of failure that can impair public mobilization, and for inspiring millions in America and around the world to do the same.”
Bob Bland, one of the four national co-chairs who helped dream up and organize the Women’s March, will accept the award later this month in New York City. Past honorees include the surviving staff of Charlie Hedbo, the French satirical weekly that was the target of a brutal shooting rampage in 2015.
The award is being given to the Women’s March as a whole, and that includes every person who demonstrated in cities and towns across the country the day after President Trump’s inauguration.
“[The Women’s March] demonstrated the power of women,” Andrew Solomon, president of PEN America, said in a press release, “and, in turn, the power of the vast diversity that is America.”
Well done, marchers. Well done.