“This election was not so much lost, as flawed. What are we fighting for, what are we marching for? We are marching for the protected right to vote which is the crown jewel. In many ways the women’s march finishes the work of Martin Luther King’s march on Washington.” Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr.
As Donald Trump’s Inauguration goes under way, much of the world watches in horror, anger, and utter disbelief. An idea that once seemed so outlandish, has materialized right in front of our eyes. While some react with muffled stagnancy, others are mobilizing and making a statement to their neighbors that they will not stand by and allow Trump to childishly bully his way to “Making America Great Again” -- or in other words, “Making America White Again.”
Elizabeth Dias, TIME correspondent, reports on the service at New Hope Baptist Church on the eve of the Inauguration. It was an event for Trump’s evangelical supporters and advisors. “More than three hundred guests, nearly all white, filled the pews.” The whiteness of Trump’s America and future administration is rather clear and explicit. It was the platform upon which Trump ran his presidential campaign. It appears that there is no room for immigration, difference, inclusion or acceptance of racial, ethnic, gender and sexual diversity.
In the fight for the basic inclusion of the diverse populace that is the foundation of this nation, there will be a march. The Women’s March on Washington takes place on January 21, 2017, where thousands will congregate in the pursuit of combatting the racism, sexism, xenophobia and disregard of women’s rights that has transpired in our recent political landscape. The Women’s March’s vision is “We Stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protect of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families-recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”
Nancy R. Bowen, professor of Old Testament at Earlham School of Religion states, “I march as a citizen because I believe in the American ideal that all are created equal and the American dream that you can grow up to be anything you want. I march to say that I will protest any and all who try to hinder that ideal and that dream for any American. I march because I believe the best America is an inclusive America, whose strength lies in its diversity, and will protest any who seek to limit the dreams and freedoms of native born and immigrants.”
The Women’s March sends an urgent message to the world that “women’s rights are human rights.” It celebrates the beautiful diversity of women’s ethnicity, religion, sexuality, age and abilities. It recognizes that intersectionality exists as race and gender intersect in life. It is crucial that lawmakers recognize and understand intersectionality. Kimberle Crenshaw UCLA law professor states, “Intersectionality is an analytic sensibility, a way of thinking about identity and its relationship to power.” Intersectionality demands inclusion and challenges white privilege.
What began as a March in Washington, DC has now turned global, with passionate individuals organizing marches all around the world. There are over 600 marches taking place in 57 countries. The March is a profoundly worldwide statement of solidarity and an international display of anti-Trumpism.
Nuchhi Currier, President of the Woman’s National Democractic Club believes, “We are walking for peace, equality and justice. We see this rally as a social movement for social progress. We are inspired to act and we want to inspire women across the globe. We feel this march is about women but it is more than that. It is about basic equality for all people. We are focused on the day after the March and in it for the long haul, realizing that movements are based on every acts of resistance. We believe that women's empowerment is critical to building stable, Democratic societies and for supporting open and accountable governance. We stand for furthering international peace and security and for addressing health and education challenges in our country. And we are confident that the will of the people shall ultimately prevail if we stand tall and united.”
With the newfound energy after the defeat of Hillary Clinton, women and men are marching together to fight for equality, justice and peace. Jim Higginbotham, Associate Professor of Pastoral Care & Counseling at Earlham School of Religion says, “I'm joining in solidarity with women marching to preserve civil and human rights, and democracy. Women -- whether homeless vets, single moms, or Gucci-adorned -- are particularly vulnerable to the policies and values of the incoming President and administration. My privileges must be placed on the line to protect those who might be harmed. A rally on a Saturday in January is the least I can do; I hope to be energized to do a lot more!”
In the midst of what could perhaps be the most scandalous and polarizing election in recent times, hopeful individuals have managed to discover a silver lining. This may the exact kind of event to force people to start caring, start reacting, and start revolting against the discriminatory affairs arising from the Trump administration. We are uniting locally and globally to fight against the shameful sexism, racism, xenophobia and homophobia that has been incited in this country.
Carol Howard Merritt, Pastor and Author reminds us why we march. She says, “to stand in solidarity with our sisters is crucial to our spiritual practice. As we chant, hope blooms on our angry lips. As we cry, our tears become seeds for justice. As we listen, compassion touches our trembling knees. We need one another. We need this reminder to be fully embodied in our movement of love, mercy, and justice.”
The Women’s March is not an end, but a beginning. The resistance and the witness has to continue.