(photo by Betsy from the Women’s March in Washington on Saturday)
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the Women’s March that took place this weekend. Due to poor planning on my part, I wasn’t able to attend a march, but have many friends who did so in cities all over the globe. I also have many friends who don’t understand why the marches occurred in the first place. Because of this, I wanted to write a short post about the marches and why they occurred.
Firstly, this wasn’t a protest. I’ve seen folks confused as to exactly what the women (and let’s not forget the men who attended) were protesting. In short, the march was a massive show to the new administration that women, minorities and the LGBTQIA community deserves equality and justice. (Read the unity principles for the March.) Due to comments made by our new president and many in his inner circle and cabinet, it seems like they will work their hardest to marginalize these groups. We want to make sure that they know we are here, and we are watching. On the first day of President Trump’s first term, we want to make this message very clear.
It wasn’t an pro-abortion rally either. I’ve seen so many people commenting on how they don’t agree with the march because they are anti-abortion. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but the march was so much more than that. Not all of the marchers agree on every issue, and that’s okay. Also, any reports you see about this being a violent protest is completely incorrect. There were ZERO arrests at the march in Washington. NONE. It was a peaceful march and remained so during the duration. (source)
If you think there was nothing to march for in the first place, well friends, that’s what we call “privilege.” Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem to you personally. (I can’t take credit for this wording, I saw it on Facebook on a sign from the march but is the perfect description.) Just because you don’t suffer from the issues these people are marching for, one day you may find yourself in a situation. Or not. But being able to empathize with these marchers and understand what they are marching for is so very important. I consider myself extremely lucky to have never felt marginalized because of the color of my skin but there are is a very large group of Americans who have to look over their shoulder daily and worry about the systematic racism in this country. What about the people who worry that their marriages will be revoked or that they may not be able to marry who they love one day? Or women who are afraid they won’t be able to afford healthcare or birth control? Take yourself out of your shoes for one second and think about what it would be like to be in their position. If your very existence was being threatened by our new president, it might feel pretty darn scary. (Again, don’t think it’s a problem? That’s your privilege showing.)
The right to assembly is guaranteed in the Constitution. Whether or not you agree with the message, you should respect the right of the marchers to do so. Plain and simple.
I believe America is a great country with so many opportunities, but we have so much more work to do and so much further to go.
(Since I was unable to attend a march, I’d like to direct you to my friends Bre and Jillian’s blogs for another perspective. If you would like to comment on this post, please know that any rude or disrespectful comments will be deleted.)