4 key things to keep in mind regarding the Women’s March on Washington

With the inauguration of Donald Trump as President, there’s a huge shift in American politics, and from Twitter to our IRL work environments to the headlines we’ve been seeing rolling in for months, the change in mood is palpable. Many people will be in danger, and for many reasons — because of loss of health care, because many folks feel more comfortable than ever expressing their homophobia and racism, because some people don’t feel welcome or safe on American soil any longer, and because of many more reasons. However, many of us are not taking this change lightly, and countless actions have already been taken or are in the organizing stages across the country, one of the most notable ones including the Women’s March on Washington and its satellite marches.

The main WMoW is happening in Washington DC the day after the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America, and aims to send a strong message to the new administration that women’s rights are human rights. The mission statement is this: “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families — recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.” The march has five guiding principles on their website, which can be found here. There are satellite marches around the world, large and small, which will walk in solidarity with this mission. With this highly visible march and its major tenets comes other, less visible things that we need to remember. Here are some of those things.

  1. We can’t all use our bodies to resist. Aside from marching, there are many other ways people can resist, like calling representatives, using social media to spread the word, talking to loved ones who are Trump supporters about how their political views hurt us, and more. Some people aren’t physically able to march, and hashtags like #MarchingWithMe have sprung up in the wake of the march to allow disabled folks to partner with people who are marching and be represented all around the US and abroad. It’s also important to be aware of ableist language tomorrow (and always!) when we talk about activism, and to avoid saying things like, “If you’re not out here, you’re not doing anything!” because some people don’t have that privilege. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment, but it’s still important to be inclusive and aware.
  2. Some folks who are marching are not women. While this major action does have the word “women” in the title, many of people who are standing in solidarity tomorrow are nonbinary folks, as well as men marching in solidarity. It’s important to acknowledge that effort, especially the nonbinary femmes who are marching and may be misgendered because of their presentation. Be aware and inclusive as possible for your nonbinary friends, during a time when gendered language will likely be used excessively because of the parameters of the event.
  3. Not everyone is marching for the same reasons. While the march is primarily about women’s rights, that’s not limited to simply things like abortion and the wage gap. Women’s rights includes a wide range of topics — much wider than recent white feminism would have you think. Some people will be marching because of immigration issues, some will be marching because of sex workers’ rights, some will be marching because of Trump’s involvement with Russia, and much more likely still, people will be there because of a mixture of multiple issues. Take the time to talk to people and learn why they’re there — you’ll feel invigorated and find new reasons to fight in the coming years, which is necessary, because…
  4. The march is not the end. While lots of organizing and hard work brought the march to fruition, this is only the beginning, and now we have to talk about what’s next. This is only the first day of the new administration, and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. This will include organizing, planning for future actions, being willing to be called out (and called in!) when we do wrong, and being ready to mobilize and react whenever new things happen via Trump’s administration.

However you plan to participate, prepare yourself as much as possible and keep in mind that it’s the beginning of a long fight. Stay safe, stay ready, and stay aware.

Via Flickr