Women’s March: 9 lessons learned
By Becca Burton and Hannah O. Brown
Editor’s Note: Three of us attended the march, and this reflects our impressions and opinions. We are committed to opening up the conversation and engaging in discussions across the aisle.
We jumped on the idea of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. almost as soon as it was created. We each had our own reasons for deciding to attend (including, but not limited to: equal pay, the right for women to make their own healthcare choices, immigrant rights, freedom of the press, and to generally just display women’s strength), but all of us were there to show our #Nasty side. We believe it to be a defining moment of our generation, and we’re thankful for our privilege to have attended. It was inspiring to feel the power of such an enormous and united crowd. Here are some lessons learned:
1. Women coming together is empowering.
With emotions running high post-election, we felt the experience of coming together with thousands of women showed us that we weren’t alone. It is empowering to know that regardless of the political landscape, we have a widespread, international group of support.
2. Women have each other’s backs.
As we were waiting in line for the bathroom, someone announced that it was out of toilet paper. The woman in front of us handed everyone in line tissue she had from her purse. This was just one example of generosity we experienced throughout the day.
3. We need to build more bridges.
Let’s be honest. The marchers were composed of mostly white women and men. We need to learn to better reach out and support other causes other than our own. It’s important to prioritize the fight for the rights of all people, especially those who are in more dire need: Flint, Michigan, Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock Sioux.
Video by Becca Burton
4. Women are resourceful.
We saw people with Ziploc bags packed with snacks, medicine and ponchos. Facebook organizing pages were filled with tips of how to prepare for weeks in advance. This hat pattern made its way to thousands of thousands of women.
5. Allies are important.
We are grateful for allies of all kinds. By banding together, all voices become louder. Referring back to number 3 on this list–we need to be active allies to others in need.
6. We have advocates of all ages.
Our own travel group spanned three generations. We saw evidence of women teaching their children the values of equality, respect, strength and resilience.
7. It inspired civic engagement.
Post-march, there was a strong sense of, “where do we go from here?” Instantly, we were reminded we could still call our legislators, voice our opinions and use the benefits of democracy to try and inspire change for the better.
8. Numbers speak volumes.
This march was hard to ignore. Approximately 4 million people in more than 600 cities marched across the U.S., and the event is estimated to be one of the largest demonstrations in American history. Not to mention, the march also sprung up on every continent.
9. We owe it to the generations before us.
Less than 100 years ago, women in this country could not vote. We’ve come a long way, but we can’t forget the fight it took to get here. Every day there is an opportunity for us to show our strength and commitment to fighting for the rights of all people, not just ourselves. We aim to actively support our communities in their own fights, whether that is through calling representatives or stepping up as an ally. We must not lose our momentum, and we must remember the wealth of support that we have as a resource for rough times ahead.