Yesterday was the Women’s March, where millions of women (and men and even children) across the country gathered to “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.” I didn’t go, but was invited by a friend since we had made lunch plans yesterday and she was thinking about it. I’m not much of an activist or political person, so it’s not really my cup of tea to do something like that, but I did noodle on it for a bit, thinking maybe it would be cool to get out of my comfort zone and be a part of something big like that. I’m a woman, I think women are awesome. But I’ve never identified with the title “nasty woman” – and I worried there might be a lot of that kind of vindictiveness out there and that didn’t sound unifying or empowering to me. And I really just preferred to catch up with my friend since we hadn’t seen each other or talked for a couple years. Selfishness won and I had a wonderful lunch with my friend.
I am truly impressed by the numbers that showed up and the aerial photos of the events around the country. It is awe-inspiring to see those kinds of numbers gather for a cause. I’m happy for the people that went – I know several that did, and I hope they were encouraged and empowered by the event, and I hope that anyone who would attempt to suppress human rights received the message loud and clear. But I also heard some things that discouraged me. There’s a lot of talk about diversity, but the march organizers removed a pro-life feminist group from their sponsors. The Women’s March website quotes Audre Lorde saying “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” So why exclude a group that has a different and broader definition of human rights than you? That seems counterproductive and narrow-minded. The Washington Post also reported that the event was mostly white women. Why were there not more women of color out there taking a stand? Is it because they don’t feel empowered, they don’t have the means, they don’t feel safe, they don’t care, or something else? For such a diverse country, I would’ve hoped to see more diversity at this event. One way or another, it shows there are problems that need dealt with.
My biggest question/hope is – what will those millions of marchers do next? If yesterday’s march inspired you (whether you were present or not), or if you were one of the people that felt it an unecessary display of activism, what if next month we organized a Women’s Community Day? What if everyone who marched and those who believe there are injustices in society then chose a cause within our community that we would physically serve for a few hours on a Saturday next month? Can you imagine the amazing impact millions of women could directly have on our communities by volunteering in one single day? There probably wouldn’t be dramatic aerial photos to commemorate the impact, but I bet the ripple effect would be more permanent and far-reaching. I’m encouraged by the Women’s March website that now lays out an action plan. It doesn’t detail the whole plan, but begins with writing letters to local legislators about causes important to you. I think that’s an okay start, but I hope there is a focus on the actual impact each woman can make, rather than relying on the decisions of politicians. I have very little faith in them. It’s so important that we get busy impacting the world around us, rather than talking about it and what other people are doing to mess it up. Women are capable of amazing things; Men are too so it doesn’t have to be about just women but I think that if millions of women want to get out and march, then at a minimum we’ve got that many people that should be willing to go do something now.
I’m at a point in my life where I really want to make a difference. I want my energy to be spent making a positive impact on those around me. I’m trying to figure out what that means for me career-wise, and I’m trying and learning to be a great wife and mother at home so my family is better for having me. It’s a bumpy and exhausting ride, but I know there is more outside my family and my work, and there is a world that is hurting. Other than praying, giving money regularly to a couple charities that are important to me, and trying to be a nice person, I want to branch out more and I’m trying to figure out how I want to do that. I found a great website called Volunteer Match that helps you search for opportunities in your community by various categories. So I have a goal this year to get out of my bubble and really do something. Hopefully I can include the family in that too but I’m not going to let that limit me. I challenge anyone reading this to do the same – whatever cause is dear to you or just find one. Use your time for something bigger than yourself. Less talk, more action. We are capable of SO much good.