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Getting Active: 10 Actions, 100 Days

10 actions 100 days postcards

Even though the Women’s March on Washington is over, we have to stay active. The 10 Actions / 100 Days campaign is a great place to start!

Our first task was to write to our senators. We should encourage them to fight cabinet appointments, advocate for issues that matter to us, and show we’re not going anywhere. The people who represent us should reflect our values, and it’s important to remind them what our values are. We want to see our education system is in good hands, global warming is taken seriously, our LGBTQIA friends live openly and freely, Muslims don’t wind up persecuted, refugees can seek asylum, black communities can trust their police forces again, and women aren’t pushed back to being second-class citizens.

I wrote to both my current senators in Washington and former senators from Ohio. I’m lucky as hell to live in a state where Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are already doing great things. They are both outspoken about issues I already care about, and are in opposition to Trump’s cabinet choices. Instead of railing on them to change, I thanked them for the work they do – and let them know I recognize and appreciate it.

Writing to my former senators in Ohio, however, proved challenging. It’s hard to write to a senator who disagrees with you, but it was worth it. I think arming yourself with information is important for this exercise. It served as a reminder that our senators do good work for their state – yes, even the ones who belong to a different party than me.

For example, the Republican senator from Ohio does a lot of work with military veterans and bringing back jobs. Both Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman care deeply about the opioid epidemic in Ohio, an issue anyone living in Ohio is painfully aware of. While they disagree on some things, both senators work hard to make Ohio a better place to live. I can certainly respect that.

I started by thanking each person for their service to this country and the states they represent – and I truly meant it. Taking time to put it on paper, I thought about how thankless working in government can be at times. If this is the first time I wrote to them, how many others never bother? We vote for them, and trust them to do what’s best for us. How often do we truly thank them for taking on such tireless and thankless work?

It’s important to stay strong and loud during this fight. However, it’s also time to acknowledge and appreciate those who work hard on our behalf. We need to stay focused while being humane in all this.

If you haven’t written to your senators yet, I highly recommend it. Check out the Women’s March on Washington website for ideas and inspiration, and to find your senators. I also recommend finding something, however small, to thank your senators for. They work hard on both sides of the aisle – and showing appreciation, not just opposition, might encourage change. It can’t hurt, right?

Womxn’s March on Seattle

womxn's march seattle

I woke up Saturday morning after only a few hours of sleep, and with a nasty cold that wouldn’t go away. My body was telling me to stay home and rest – that it couldn’t handle marching in the Womxn’s March on Seattle.

Even as I sit in bed sick writing this on Sunday, I’m so glad I went anyway. I regret nothing.

Originally, organizers estimated between 50,000-75,000 people at the most. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a crowd that big (outside of maybe a sporting event).

I showed up 1.5 hours early to Judkins Park, only to find that there were already 50,000 people there! People came by foot, car, bus, ferry, bike – however they could get there.

By the time the march started, I was standing in a crowd of almost 100,000 people.

womxn's march seattle

(Marching down Jackson Street, with people stretching in front and behind me as far as I could see!)

I marched with 130,000 people, though organizers now say it may have been closer to 175,000. I honestly couldn’t tell you which number is true – both are equally nuts to me. We filled the entire 3.6-mile stretch of our march’s path. It was wall-to-wall people for the entire 5 hours it took to complete it. Every muscle in my body just straight hurt afterwards.

What I will remember most about Saturday was how positive and kind everyone was throughout the day. It’s hard to feel safe in a large crowd, especially given I went alone. I had a great time, and never once felt unsafe. Not a single person got arrested, and no one reported shoving/pushing that usually happens with crowds that big. We were there together, marching and chanting with the same mission – to show our solidarity and support for each other.

I spent the day chatting with women of all ages, sharing goldfish crackers with hungry kids, and taking in the amazing signs everyone made. It was poignant to see signs that young girls and boys made for the event. They sincerely expressed what their generation worries about – the environment, immigration laws, bullying, racism, science education, equality, and more. I was proud to see so many children marching and chanting alongside their parents.

womxn's march seattle

The number of signs with a positive and supportive message far outweighed the angry ones, which made me feel encouraged. Sure, it’s funny to see a “Queef on Trump” sign. It was more impressive to see signs from men supporting strong women, children supporting their friends, and women supporting each other. I didn’t make a sign of my own, but once I got there I kind of wish I had!

womxn's march seattle

(At the Space Needle, trying really hard not to look like sick and exhausted!)

By the time I made it to the end of the march, I was ready to head home. It was an amazing experience, but the cold medicine wore off about an hour before we finished, and I was physically shutting down hardcore. I was exhausted, but extremely happy to make it the entire way, sniffles and all!

When I got home, I told my husband all about it while he made dinner, and I watched television coverage from our march and others happening around the world. Not having cell coverage for most of the day, I missed a lot of what was going out outside of Seattle. Seeing millions of people show up around the world on Saturday was comforting. To know that so many others were just as supportive and kind throughout their own marches restored my faith in humanity that I lost in November.

Now, I’m working on what to do next – how to take what I felt Saturday and spread that into my everyday life. I’d love to hear how you plan to do so, too!

Why I’m Marching Tomorrow

 

From the moment I found out we were having a march in Seattle, I was all in.

I’ve never participated in anything this…big…before. I’m excited and a little nervous, to be honest.

When people ask why I’m marching tomorrow, the answer is simple:

I march for all of us.

I march for every woman who has been told that she shouldn’t or couldn’t do something because “good girls don’t do that,” or “women shouldn’t be like that.”

I march for everyone who told us men don’t like women who are too smart, accomplished, outspoken, or confident. (My husband would argue otherwise…he likes my loud mouth just fine.)

I march for Planned Parenthood, who helped me out when I was a poor college student without insurance. I continue to go there because they are amazing healthcare providers for both women and men. I hope you thrive for many, many years to come.

I march for every women’s studies student I poked fun at in grad school. I’m deeply sorry, and I understand now more than ever what you were all so angry about.

I march for every woman who has been told that how she dressed, spoke, or behaved led to her being a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence. For every woman who was told, directly or indirectly, that she was asking for it. You didn’t. None of us did.

I march for every time woman who feels the outside world is a dangerous, violent place for women. I hope that changes someday, and that we teach both girls and boys that they have equal right to occupy public spaces.

I march for the next generation of women, who I hope are watching (or marching) today and see that we all care deeply about the world you are growing up in.

I hope everyone marching tomorrow has a safe, positive experience. 🙂