Women’s March in Washington Could Be Big

https://www.facebook.com/events/332879180414090/

https://www.facebook.com/events/332879180414090/

Chicago   Speaking of things that we don’t hear much about in recent days, you might wonder what’s happening to the women’s solidarity march that was announced in the aftermath of the Trump election for Washington, DC the day after the inauguration. Originally, styled the Million Women’s March, some pushback led to a name change, but every indication is that, publicity or no, the momentum behind this event is still moving forward.

Some enterprising apps developed almost immediately from city to city that priced quick trips that would ride overnight into DC and roll back almost immediately so that women were back home and working after marching the message forward. Prices were quoted at around $300 even as far away as New Orleans. Right after the election it was almost cheaper to fly into DC, but with momentum building such a flight is over $400 I hear. East Coasters were committing quickly, so it’s likely that much of the hoped for crowd of more than 100,000 crowd will roll south from Boston and New York, bounce over from Philly and Baltimore, and move up from Charlotte and Atlanta, and east from Chicago, Detroit and the like, as is normal for these kinds of mobilizations and marches. Social media also indicates that there will be satellite rallies and marches in many cities around the country where women will come together as well. It may be an undercurrent, but there’s still a buzz that indicates that women haven’t just seen the election as just another day.

Of course with anything looking at Washington on a weekend like the every four-year inaugural blowout, there are going to be complications. Informal reports recently have indicated that the women’s march is having trouble putting its footprints on the Washington Mall, which is the normal venue for events of this size and stature. Others with similar ideas seem to have been in line earlier for permits, so the exact route and venue are still unknown, but that does not seem to be dampening the crowd from what I’m hearing from women here and there.

With or without much attention, I have a feeling that there’s no obstacle big enough to get in the way of women having their say in Washington at the opening of the Trump Administration. There are open wounds and deep hurts that have not been addressed in any way whatsoever, and none of this has to do with the hopes and dreams some may have had for a first woman president. This is about women’s safety, women’s status, and an abiding feeling of new danger that has come to those who hold up half the sky, as the Chinese proverb stated.

Women are mobilizing to force a different future, regardless of the White House and its very personal outrages and offenses that many felt as women. Women also clearly want to be part of something that this generation sees as a pivotal moment in their personal and political history. Whether it’s home or on the Washington Mall, there’s a sense that many women want to be counted so that they can remember where they were and what they did as they greeted a new regime in government that is on the record as threatening them individually and collectively at every turn.

Whether in body or spirit, this will be the place to stand with the women of America.

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Up-Standers, Answer the Call!

fhupstanderNew Orleans  I’m a “what’s next” guy. Good news or bad news, how do we respond, what do we do next. Resilience. Problem solving. Whatever, I try to manage the present and prepare for the future, respecting the past, but always trying to stay in motion to move forward. Not surprisingly, that’s been my personal response to the Trump victory. I understand and respect that it is not everyone’s default mode or reality though.

We were fortunate to have our daughter in town this weekend visiting. She was in for the traditional Scorpio celebration for her mother, grandmother, and herself. We had hardly ordered before she was asking how, or maybe not so much asking as telling us, people, particularly women and people she knew in the LGBT and minority communities, were feeling the changes in the national temperament. She was hearing and feeling real fear. She and many of her friends and colleagues felt they were being looked at differently and with more hostility than in the past. There were too many reports of recent catcalls. Her friends were on red alert, especially among men. If a man even looked at them cross eyed in this new environment, they were arms up and ready to respond. It was fight not flight, but overall still tinged with fear.

This was not an encouraging report from the land of millennials. What was encouraging was her report that people were issuing the call for more up-standers. I don’t even know if up-standing or up-standers are real words, but they probably should be. Up-standers are not bystanders. She had heard the term from elementary school teachers who talked to children about being up-standers as a response to bullying in school. Other children needed to be ready and able to be up-standers to stop bullies.

Calling for up-standers in all situations seems exactly the right response to these times and, in my view, all times. Men, women, and all people of good will who care about each other and this country need to be prepared to stand in solidarity and call out instances of misogyny, racism, ethnic slurs and prejudices, religious intolerance, and more. We all have to be ready to stand up and say, that’s not right, stop!

One of the depressing speculations during the recent election on the impact of women speaking out on sexual harassment is that a Trump victory along with many of his supporters, including the majority of white women, rationalizing his remarks and assaults, or even worse, denigrating the women coming forward as incredible, rather than forcing this into the open so that it finally could be stopped in the workplace and elsewhere, would in fact force in below the radar once again, making it harder and riskier for women to come forward in the future. We can’t allow that, and my daughter, her mother, and grandmother are right, they can’t be expected to carry the weight. It takes all of us committing to being up-standers and standing up and speaking out everywhere and anywhere that we hear or see instances of this effort to destroy the basic human rights of anyone, anywhere, whether the same or different than we are.

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