Women’s March and Sister Marches – January 21, 2017
There is a long history of gathering en masse to shift energies and paradigms, legislation and belief structures. Wherever there has been oppression and injustice, there has been protest – sometimes via the oppressed and sometimes their allies, sometimes peaceful and sometimes not – but always with the intention of being seen, heard, understood, respected, and perhaps most importantly, welcomed into the collective. It’s about connection.
The Women’s March on Washington D.C. and its Sister Marches in cities across the globe are happening on January 21, 2017. The Mission and Guiding Principles as well as the Unity Principles are powerful. They’ve inspired me to attend a Sister March and to create a series of posters to share with you. Below are their images and their stories. I invite you to download them for your own use and pleasure – to carry with you at the march, frame, tape to your dashboard, send to a friend. Each image is high enough resolution for printing up to 18×24″. And they are free. Just send me some love – either virtually or in a little love note – and we’ll call it even. (Links for downloading and printing are at the bottom of this blog post. You can also find these images on a variety of products in my Redbubble shop. All profits from these sales go to the ACLU.)
WE MARCH because WOMEN’S RIGHTS are HUMAN RIGHTS
In Hillary Clinton’s speech at the United Nations’ Fourth Women’s Conference in 1995, she said, “I believe that now on the eve of a new millennium, it is time to break the silence. It is time for us to say here in Beijing and for the world to hear that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women’s rights as separate from human rights.” Sometimes I think we get lost in the issues of the moment, the ones that directly affect only us and our personal well being or that of our own nation. Her words are a powerful reminder of what ‘Women’s rights are human rights’ really means from a worldwide perspective. Improving, protecting and equalizing the lives of women – lifting all women – raises our collective humanity making us stronger, more economically stable, less violent and more loving overall. Which brings us to…
ROOTED IN LOVE, GROW STRONG TOGETHER
We’re learning what a sisterhood, a collective, really feels and looks like. We haven’t always been inclusive. The original women’s movement in our country was very white and heterosexual. In fact, this upcoming Women’s March states this in their FAQ:
Q: Is the Women’s March on Washington inclusive for women of color?
A: The WMW is an evolving effort originally founded by white women. Recognizing the need to be truly inclusive, the National Co-Chairs and Organizers were established to reflect a balanced representation. The team of organizers and volunteers are committed to ensuring that the march reflects women and femme expressive people of all backgrounds.
It has taken time for we white women to shift our limited beliefs and it’s an ongoing process. We’re beginning to understand that lifting only ourselves up means that what we earn is shadowed in the same veil of oppression that we are trying to address. Each and every person deserves the opportunity and support to come into their wholeness – to have the strength and hope and voice to be who they desire. Lo and behold, when people are empowered in this way, it’s only a matter of time when those strengthened turn around and lead and lift those who still struggle. And so we shift to the belief that nothing that serves someone in need, serves only that person. Instead, it serves, strengthens and heals the collective in a remarkable, ongoing wave of love and support. Speaking of love…
In regard to the early days of the women’s movement, Dr. Maya Angelou is quoted as saying, ‘The sadness of the women’s movement is that they don’t allow the necessity of love. I don’t personally trust any revolution where love is not allowed.” Love for each other. Respect for the women – all of them – who are part of the rising up into wholeness.
Again…inclusivity within the collective has been and continues to be an ongoing learning. It’s about not only expanding who is allowed in as part of the opening and equalizing, but allowing each woman the choice to define what liberation means for their own life. Respecting that it may be different for each of us. Not everyone is ready for every transition. Sometimes the shifts are painful even for those benefiting. And some may view certain issues as more vital than others or disagree entirely with their intentions. But still, we’re a sisterhood. Dialogue – the kind that really open us – can only happen if we’re connected and are willing to see and hear each other. We need to love each other through it. Love liberates indeed.
And speaking of evolving through the years…
IT’S MY TURN
Women rock at envisioning change and organizing to manifest it. It’s what we do and have always done. We’ve gathered in caves and clandestine basements, underground railroad stops and quilting circles, over cups of tea and glasses of wine, in book clubs and coffee clutches, play groups and board rooms. We’re patient and persistent, wildly creative and downright brilliant. And we have vision.
In Garrison Keillor’s recent Washington Post column he creates the image of taking his daughter to a college basketball game. The crowd cheering like crazy and the young women playing their hearts out while families and young girls watch what’s possible, noting that “this beautiful phenomenon is the result of somber dames in long black dresses who agitated for equality in the face of general ridicule ages ago.”
So many freedoms that we take for granted are the manifestation of others’ visions. I’m so grateful. I send them love and light and prayers of my gratitude regularly. And it’s one of the main reasons I march. It’s quite literally my turn to hold the torch. I have the vision of what’s beyond and the wholeness to open to it.
This poster has a meager handful of the women who have come before. I encourage anyone who prints their own to write more names right on it. Scribble it up. Everyone’s name deserves to be there, particularly the ones who have inspired you.
CONNECTED BY THE WEB OF LOVE
OK, back to this sisterhood concept…
True, the original Women’s March is happening in Washington D.C. on January 21st, but there are also Sister Marches happening all over the country and the world – at this writing, nearly 400 of them in 50 states and 50+ countries with more than 750,000 marchers. I don’t view them in any way as secondary. They’re doing what sisters do – supporting, encouraging, lifting. It’s a web of energy that’s flowing all ways. We’re all part of the same collective whether we’re in D.C. or Indianapolis, Beirut or Belgrade, Tokyo or Miami (that’s where I’ll be!)
And for the record, if you don’t choose to or can’t be present at a march – it’s too far to travel, you’ve got other plans or commitments, crowds make you crazy (I’m sort of with you on that one) – be assured that staying home and sending love is part of the sisterhood. Light a candle. Watch it online. Donate to the organizing efforts. Utter a ‘Right on Sister’ throughout the day. Bake some cookies for your friends that are going. Just send love in whatever way has meaning to you. Because love brings us together and love liberates.
Download the images by clicking on the links below. (Note: You may get a note that says Google cannot scan the image for viruses due to its size. You have the option to download it anyway.) The images are high enough resolution to print up to 18×24″. Office Depot does a nice job of printing that size either onto 55# card stock paper or any weight paper mounted on foam board.
Additionally, there are some beautiful Women’s March posters available through the Amplifier Foundation, also free of charge. You can download them here.
Peace, love, hope and healing to all of you. Onward together!
Click on the ‘Read More’ link below to see pictures from Sister Marches in Miami, Denver, Madison and Fort Wayne.
Addendum Feb. 1, 2017:
The Miami Sister March was more inspirational, intersectional and filled with connection than we ever imagined it would be. We just knew we were drawn to be there and off we went. Above we’re waiting in line to enter the Bayfront Amphitheater. Then we met a couple of new friends…
…and shared our extra posters with them.
Love these images by Shepard Fairey carried by a proud Florida teacher:
The lines grew longer.
Later we learned that there were 10,000 inside the amphitheater and 15,000 more outside! The numbers across the world were much greater than anticipated (5 million in total!) and Miami was no exception. The city ended up closing down the street so those outside could march.
The program presented a series of speakers, each more inspiring than the next, each involved in community work helping, connecting, educating. And the directive was to listen and see where we were called to action. This wasn’t a protest or a whining session. These were folks already doing amazing work making their community stronger and asking us to do the same in whatever way we felt was right for us. The opening oath was “We the people promise to stand up for each other and to build a world that is just for all.”
Patricia Ireland, former president of the National Organization of Women and long-time activist, was one of the speakers. Inspiring to hear all that came before.
At the end of the afternoon, this beautiful woman and her equally lovely mother admired my poster and welcomed the chance to take it home. So sweet.
My family celebrated the march each in their own cities. Joel and Calvin attended Fort Wayne’s event and came away feeling “inspired” and “reassured” respectively. (Men of few words, they are.)
Drew joined up with cousins and aunts and uncles in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m so thankful for the terrific male role models in my family (and, of course, the female ones too.) Drew’s comments, “Honestly I felt really proud of how many people were there. It’s just really comforting to see people out fighting for what they believe in regardless of all that’s happening right now. Also, I loved how balanced the genders were. That really made me happy. It wasn’t just women marching for their own equal rights. There were so many men too.”
And Alexandra joined up with friends and cousin Morgan in Denver, Colorado, saying, “It was so powerful. The energy was palpable and afterwards I was exhausted, but inspired to become a political activist for my generation.” Nice.
Connection connection connection. We so often forget how intricately we are all connected – to each other, to our nation, to the earth, to unseen forces that guide us. This was a really great reminder.