The Women’s March for Us

Chris Bahara (intro), Mark Havriliak (photos)

…Move Chris, get out the way…

The collection of Women’s Marches held coast to coast on January 21st, and spearheaded in Washington DC, was a great reminder to some of us (hand raised; this one right here) that our best role in this moment may simply be to listen. To give stage and support. To have their backs.

Not always easy. Of course I have my own opinions on this mess. On late-stage capitalism. On the inevitability of a post-Brexit sinking-ship — a WWF West Wing. Of course I think I can turn just the right phrase.

But frankly, that sh*t quickly grows tiring from the mouths of white-male babes. We forever have the luxury of righteous blather. Or even its opposite, the Escape. Without obstruction, I can wank to my arm-chair musings by morning, and retreat to Walden Wood in the setting sun, where I can bask in the warmth of my true privilege: anonymity. Float on down that lazy river…

Others simply don’t have that choice. Welcome to the real Real World. where such carnival degradation matters to Real Lives. The young mother trying to access dwindling services through Planned Parenthood. The Muslim father just hoping for his family that which is promised in the (very) First Amendment. The African American post-grad simply reminding us, “Yeah, ours too…”

Sure I have my thoughts, but my friends have their lived-in voices. Their Perspective. Thank god for such knowing. Out the way indeed:

Donna Seager Liberatore, Art Gallery Owner/Partner

I am marching on Washington to show my support for an America that gives equal treatment, respect and opportunity to all its citizens regardless of gender, race, economic situation or religion.

…from Day 1, we will be on guard when the rights and fair treatment of any of our citizens are being threatened. We are many, we are strong, we are vocal, and we will not back down.

A. Angélique Roché, Vice President, External Affairs, Ms. Foundation for Women

The moment of this march reflects the power of women and men around the country but, it also serves as evidence of the power of movements around the country. From movements for reproductive justice and civil rights, to economic and environmental justice this collective march shows how we are stronger and what we can accomplish when we show up for each other.

Belinda, DJ, Dancer

I am marching for my daughter and all children, in solidarity with my LGBTQ community, for undocumented immigrants, for healthcare, public education, for climate control, for the moral, spiritual and physical future of this planet, for equal rights and justice, for racial equality, for compassion, for love.

Signe Baumane, Artist, Animator, and Film Director

Protest is not quite the word describing what is on my mind. It is when you see a woman/child/man walking on a street at night and notice she is harassed by a stalker, so you cross street and walk next to her, stating your presence — “I am here, you fuck with her you fuck with me, too”. It is a statement of solidarity. I am also from Latvia — and in 1991 Latvia gained independence from evil empire USSR. One of the thing the citizens of Baltic states did was the Baltic Way — a million people joined hands on a road through the three states. It was a message to the powers.

Kirsten Jansen, Attorney

Trump was elected despite bragging about the sexual assault of women, despite inciting violence against those who oppose him, despite demeaning the vulnerable, despite the failure to disclose tax returns, despite multiple documented lies. He has called into question the reality of climate change, he has indicated that he will nominate Supreme Court Justices that support overturning Roe v. Wade, he has significantly limited media access to the transition process… disparaging any news source who calls anything he does into question. The threat of state run media now seems real.

The threat to a woman’s right to choose remains real. The threat to LGBT rights, given his selection on Mike Pence as his running mate, is real. The threat to millions of citizens’ health, is real. His selection of industry executives to populate his cabinet positions is further evidence that big business interests will prevail over the interests of our citizens. The incredible consolidation of wealth into the top 1% of our nation marches on, and so to give myself and our planet and all of my brothers and sisters and our children a voice, and so as not to feel powerless, I will march on.

Jill Bergstresser, Marketing Consultant

This is a pivotal moment in history. A terrible, disgraceful thing has happened, one that will impact our country and the whole world.

…I feel I must be as vocal and active as I can be, in order to say, “This is nowhere close to being OK. This will never be OK. We won’t stand for it!”

Stephanie Newhouse, Mother, Consultant

As a woman, I want to stand up and be counted. It’s important to me also to show my children that when people are treated unfairly, we need to stand up and speak out. It’s basic human decency.

Emma Snowdon-Jones, Philanthropist

I am marching, as my mother marched in the 60s, in solidarity for Muslim, Jewish, African American, Hispanic, LGBTQ, veterans, the able bodied and disabled body or mind. I am marching for everyone. As we are all family, I AM MARCHING for ALL my brothers and sisters. I am even here for my misguided brothers and sisters who supported trump. I am marching on my behalf and yours. I am marching for my country.

Anne Harris, Artist/Teacher

Particularly vile has been the rampant misogyny. Sexism and slander have been used to destroy the candidacy of a qualified dedicated public servant who should now be our first woman president.

It is time for women to lead. We stand for human rights, for respect, for self-determination and for Democracy. Our government and the world must know that we resist the outcome of this election. We reject the values this government imposes on us. We RESIST this illegitimate president.

Ezrha Jean Black, Writer and Journalist

…This is a critical moment globally — where the planet, its biosphere, life, resources, and democratic governments and institutions are challenged as never before by a possibly fatal triple challenge of human over-population, the imbalances and inequities of late capitalism, and advanced technology that presses the future as hard upon us as the past. The answer is not a resuscitated nationalism, or fascism, or for that matter populism. We have to stand for REASON and JUSTICE — for the legacy of the Enlightenment that gave birth to our constitutional republic — and for the rights of and open opportunities for ALL…

Jessica Goldberg, barmaid, ESL tutor, aspiring sustainable urban designer

I am marching on Washington for a number of reasons. In part, it is to show my dissent. The opposite of marching and being vocal and active would be to simply sit by and let injustices occur as if I were okay with it. I’m not okay with our highest office — with the face that will represent our country — telling people that my Muslim friends are dangerous or lesser humans that aren’t welcome here. I am not okay with my healthcare being taken away while I have no idea what I should prepare for. I am not okay with hateful speech inspiring masses so that a hateful or uninformed opinion is just as valid as an empathetic one.

Over the past year, far too many things have been said and done so that being a passive citizen is no longer an option in terms of my health and safety. I work a lot of odd jobs as many young people do, and the Affordable Care Act allows me to be covered under my parents insurance for the next couple of years as I work towards a career. As a woman I am coping with threats to my reproductive rights, as well as “pussy grabbing” being just general permissible speech.

As an LGBT person, I am dealing with a Vice President who has spent considerable political energy trying to convince people that there is something wrong with me. And as an African American person, I am unnerved by a leader who more often than not refers to my people as a whole as “the blacks in the inner cities,” and refuses to support the Black Lives Matter movement, which is simply asking that we are treated as equals and don’t get killed for no justifiable reason by the police.

I would hope that even if I were none of these things, I would still be able to empathize. But voicing my concern and dissent has become entirely personal and imperative.

Beyond my own personal reasons, I think this march is important for the nation to show just how many people are demanding to be recognized and heard. So many people now have legitimate reasons to be afraid for their well-being, for reasons I explained above, and for numerous other reasons. I think it will also be important to see the diversity of the people coming together for this march. The best is that I expect to see many many young people. Through all the bullshit being flung around, an amazing thing that has erupted recently is political awareness and activism becoming cool. It seems that the cool aloof teenager is becoming more and more a thing of the past. “Wokeness,” whether contrived or not, is being held in high regard among young people. And not just by the hippies or nerds (holler!), but by the ones that others look towards to determine their tastes. I think in the most general sense, the march represents a refusal to be silent. From women and from allies. All we demand is equality and a voice. Any opposition to this can absolutely not be tolerated.

Follow Mark Havriliak on Instagram at @mark_havriliak_photography

Follow MEANS on Facebook at @meanscollective

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