By Rosa Conrad
Thousands of people crowded streets throughout the United States and in cities worldwide such as Berlin, Mexico City, London, Paris, Nairobi, Sydney, Cape Town, and Toronto to support the Women’s March in Washington. A small village in Nova Scotia whose town’s population of 65 had 15 residents turn out for their local march and made headlines. Kadijah Photiades posted a video of their march and stated, “Predominantly it’s love and support and gratitude from women all over the world — and specifically the States, who really appreciate our support.” It was a day reminiscent of civil rights movements in the past such as the Women’s Suffrage Parade in Washington, Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, and Cesar Chavez March on Sacramento. The Women’s March on Washington on Saturday, January 21, drew millions of people around the world to support:
- Gender, racial and economic equality
- LGBTQIA Rights
- Affordable reproductive health care, including contraception and abortion;
- Immigration reform, with a path to citizenship
- Protection of the environment and public lands
The Women’s March was guided by their singular vision:
“We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”
Each person had their own reasons for marching and the signs they carried had a different message, but they all gathered under a common cause, to make their voices heard about social issues affecting their communities in the United States and worldwide. History has demonstrated that change comes when people unite to raise awareness, to unsilence the silenced. These changes have come at a sacrifice and were slow to take place, and yet those who believed in them were not just thinking of themselves but of others and future generations.
I was motivated to march for the ones who marched before me, to feel unity as one collective voice that represents all that women stand for, because together we are stronger and we will be heard. I marched because the invisible and the not-so-invisible walls being created by differences need to be torn down. I marched for the victims of hatred and violence, for the right to be heard and not silenced. I marched because our past has demonstrated that for change to occur, you must take that first step. I marched for those who could not join us but walked with us in spirit.
This march spoke to how women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ communities, are still being affected by decisions made by politicians who do not represent equality for all. The organizers of the Women’s March on Washington are continuing their efforts by creating the campaign, 10 Actions 100 Days.
The first action is:
Write a postcard to your Senators about what matters most to you – and how you’re going to continue to fight for it in the days, weeks and months ahead.
You can sign up to receive the next action here: https://www.womensmarch.com/100/action2
Our communities have different needs. Our government representatives were elected because we felt that once elected, they would do their best to support the needs of their constituents. We need to remind them of those needs. We cannot remain silent.
As we reflect on what the Women’s March meant for each of us, we must also remember that history was made on January 21, 2017. People of all backgrounds and identities came out and supported values that represent the United States. People around the country and the world came together. Though distances separated the marchers, the message was clear: Everyone stood together for equality.
If you would like more information on what the Women’s March is doing, you can sign up for notifications here: https://www.womensmarch.com
You can also contact your elected officials here: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
Tips on how to effectively contact your representatives: https://www.dropbox.com/s/bge3pl9lnrnnrns/How-to-contact-Congress_1-2-SECURE.pdf?dl=0