You know the old saying, talk is cheap. Well, some folks were wondering what would happen after the Women’s March of 2017 and if anything would happen afterwards. Wonder no more, actions do speak louder than words. Did you hear about The Resistance throughout 2017? Did you hear about the calls to Congress in the spring of 2017 to turn back the votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act? Did you hear about the special elections in the fall of 2017? Did you hear about the November 2017 election results in Virginia, New Jersey and Georgia and all over the country? Did you hear about the special election of a Democrat Senator in Alabama? Well, don’t doubt that actions did speak louder than words. The Women’s March & Rally of 2018 was as tremendous in its impact as 2017. People wondered what would happen after January 21st, 2017 and month after month throughout 2017 we saw the momentum keep going. It was amazing and strong.
My blog today provides some voices of women who marched this year on January 20th, 2018. They were part of The Resistance during 2017 and stood up to start 2018 with renewed messaging to say we are appalled by the unfitness of the occupant of the oval office, the complicity of this Congress, that enough is enough. We are energized about protecting women’s rights, immigrants rights, pay equity, health care for all, better education and tax equity. We are enthusiastic about women running for office and getting elected so that they are at the table when important decisions are made. I am excited for you to hear from them directly about their experience.
From Shelley Douglas Slachowitz in Fayetteville, Arkansas:
“I was proud and excited to attend the Women’s March in my area, and VERY proud that my 15 yr old daughter was excited about going. She needs to see there are people fighting for and with her. As a black woman it is critical I pass onto her the tools for her to be successful- especially the tool that is her VOICE!
For a small town march (~500 people) it was a good Women’s March with good speakers. From local activists, professors from the University of Arkansas, to local elected officials – the program was solid. We heard inspiration from women from all walks of life. Immigrant to LGBT, disabled to single Mom, Native American to Hispanic to African American. Each story helped us all understand the struggle & the “size of the prize” in front of us.
Could there have been more marchers? Yes. Could there have been a better PA system to hear the speakers? Yes. Could there have been more high profile leaders from the area to show support? Yes.
NW Arkansas is home to Walmart, JB Hunt & Tyson Foods. But yet, we didn’t see their presence at the March, supporting women’s equality & rights.
This was only Year 2 of the NW Arkansas event, so there is still time to see these companies take a lead and show their support for the women who lead their workforces and purchase their products.
I left the Women’s March with hope. There were strong women there who won’t give up. There were husbands, fathers & sons there supporting the women in their lives. And if each one of them can influence someone and create the change needed, we will succeed!”
Involving our young girls in the Women’s March is such an important thing to do. For girls and young women to see their mothers participating in these initiatives shows them that they matter, that their rights to grow up and make their own decisions about their bodies matter, and their capacity to be a leader is on full display. I love that Shelley involved her daughter in the Women’s March.
Renee Allain Stockton marched in 2017 and again in 2018.
Renee is the mother of two daughters in their twenties. She is active in her community and in contacting her Senators and Congressional Representatives regularly. She believes in a woman’s right to choose, in health care for all, and in voting rights for all. She recounts her experience:
“It was so encouraging and hopeful to see just as many women (plus men) participating in the Women’s Rally on Raleigh this year as the Women’s March last year! I was worried that people might be fatigued after so many stupid and embarrassing comments and decisions made by the current administration. However, I’m cautiously optimistic that we will not be silent, voice our concerns with our Congressional Representatives and take action to vote those out of office who do not represent our best interests.”
Dawn Steele Halbert marched in Chicago on January 20th, 2018. She had marched in 2017 also. She recounts her experience:
“The Women’s March in Chicago was amazing. I also attended last year when the projected number of attendees was 25,000 and 250,000 women showed up. This year the number was closer to 300,000, though only 35,000 actually registered for the March online.I rejoined my two girlfriends Karen and Deb, that I marched with last year. I got the usual send-off from my husband, which was “don’t get arrested”. The first time he gave this advice was a few years ago when I attended a Black Greek organized “Die-in” in front of the Chicago Water Tower Shopping Mall on Michigan Avenue.Anyway, yesterday my friends and I started out by attending a brunch sponsored by the Illinois Democrat Gubernatorial hopeful, JB Pritzker. He has picked Juliana Stratton, a sister, as his running mate as Lt. Governor. The theme that started there resonated for most of the day, which was all of this is for naught if we don’t get out and vote our interests, and more importantly, elect more women and people of color into positions of power. Dori McWhorter, the CEO of the Chicago Metro YWCA expressed her frustration that in 2018 we have to march at all for basic human rights, but we must, so our daughters won’t have to.I was really encouraged by the multitude of people that showed up this year in Grant Park. Just like last year, white women were the majority of attendees, but there were a lot more Black and brown women and men that showed up as well. The speakers included local celebrities, politicians, activist, unions representatives and religious leaders both Christian and Muslim. Lots of kudos were given to the Black female voters of Alabama and an emphasis again that we need more women and people of color in office. We also got an impromptu performance by the Chicago cast of Hamilton. The challenge was given to the crowd to get involved in politics and to even consider running for office. While my feet were cold, the warmth of the crowd was energizing. It was great reading the signs and having conversations with like-minded strangers as we marched over to Federal Plaza across town. It was a strange mixture of anger, disgust, resolve, and hope.Oh, and my favorite signs are the ones that were cleverly displayed on the port-o-potties, which said “This Shi*t hole is brought to you by Donald Trump’s Mouth.”
The New York Times did a good summary article on the Women’s March, as did many other newspapers, you can read about them and view video via this link: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/20/us/womens-march.html?smid=fb-share.
Key to moving forward in 2018 is the ballot box as well as keeping the heat on Congress. 2017 was successful after the Women’s March because things didn’t stop after the Women’s March. I don’t think things will stop in 2018 after this year’s March either. Women are already being trained for candidacies all over the country. Voter registration drives are planned and in fact were taking place during the Women’s March rallies. Women know their power. MeToo, Enough is Enough, Time’s Up, The Resistance and other movements are alive and well. They are all showing that actions do speak louder than words. The midterm elections are another chance to show action. Let’s do it.