This weekend I participated in my first ever Women’s March. Perhaps this sounds strange, the founder of a non-profit entirely dedicated to empowering women has never attended a protest, rally or march specifically targeted toward providing women with a voice. But for some reason, it never felt necessary. It always seemed I could speak my mind and be heard.
Times have changed though. And maybe not so much the times, as I have changed. I feel like now is the most incredible time to be a woman, but also the most terrifying. We have a responsibility to speak up and out, but also to make sure that what we are saying is not driven by emotion or opportunistic tendencies. We need to band together to fight for what is right and fair, not what we feel is overdue or owed to us. We have an obligation to craft a world that is better and less one sided than the patriarchy in which we’ve grown up. So Saturday morning at 6 AM I rolled out of bed and struggled my way through LA public transit.
When I arrived downtown, my first observation was the quiet. Yes people were talking to one another, but there was no shouting, ranting or hostility in the air. My second observation was that the most diverse group of people showed up—men and women of all ages, races, socioeconomic statuses and sexual orientations. Thirdly, people are really freaking creative with their signage.
The Women’s March LA Foundation put out a statement stating they “recognize that there is no true peace, freedom, or inclusion without equity for all.” Having an impact statement like that helped me understand a bit more why I had shown up. The emotional draw was there for me, but when people asked why I marched, I am embarrassed to say I didn’t have the most articulate of answers.
In case you are curious, the national Women’s March Unity Principles are: “ending violence, protection of reproductive rights, LGBTQIA rights, workers’ rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights, Indigenous people’s rights and environmental justice.” So basically, if you’re human, you are entitled to the same rights as every other human.
The goal of the 2018 march was to encourage people “to use their vote as their voice to build a government that reflects their ideals.”
The Women’s March LA Foundation’s intent was to create “a safe and peaceful space where the important issues of voter turnout, access, restrictions, and intimidation could be addressed leading up to November 6, 2018 and beyond.” And they did just that.
People were exceedingly polite, more “excuse me”s were used that day than in any other public space in which I’ve traversed. People were jovial and joyful. Women and men alike seemed to have purpose, which seemed to dignify the masses. There was an overwhelming sense of calm, as if we were all saying to one another, “it’s going to be ok. Better than ok.”
I’m not sure if the march will accomplish its goals, but I hope that all the women and men reading this acknowledge:
- Our votes matter.
- Our presence matters.
- We vote for ourselves and for those who cannot.
There was such beauty in our unity. For those of you who marched, I salute you. For those of you who never have, I encourage you to do so. And for those of you who think that all of this is pointless or unnecessary, I respect you and hope that you’ll still buy lots of By Grace and support women in whichever way you see useful.
Until next time,