New Orleans More numbers have started to roll in on the delegations coming from the states to the Women’s March on Washington the Saturday after the Inauguration. Two thousand have signed up from Texas, three hundred from Arkansas, and twelve hundred from Louisiana. A story in my local paper had a picture of women making purple and silver sashes for the march, recalling those worn by the suffragettes one-hundred years ago.
The one knock I’ve heard repeatedly about the march though is, “what’s it about?” Is this just a stepping for solidarity or is there a platform undergirding the marchers and pushing for change? It was a fair criticism at least in the beginning when the initial organizers seemed to be resisting a real program thinking that a big tent was enough message in itself. For whatever reason though, they have one now. Maybe organizers were responding to criticism. Maybe they just thought the numbers were a strong enough hammer that it was time to add the nails. Whatever the reason, the platform is out, and the Women’s March on Washington has stepped up.
We believe that Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights. We must create a society in which women – including Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, Muslim women, lesbian queer and trans women – are free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments.
Women deserve to live full and healthy lives, free of all forms of violence against our bodies. We believe in accountability and justice in cases of police brutality and ending racial profiling and targeting of communities of color. It is our moral imperative to dismantle the gender and racial inequities within the criminal justice system.
We believe in Reproductive Freedom. We do not accept any federal, state or local rollbacks, cuts or restrictions on our ability to access quality reproductive healthcare services, birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education. This means open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education.
We firmly declare that LGBTQIA Rights are Human Rights and that it is our obligation to uplift, expand and protect the rights of our gay, lesbian, bi, queer, trans or gender non-conforming brothers, sisters and siblings. We must have the power to control our bodies and be free from gender norms, expectations and stereotypes.
We believe in an economy powered by transparency, accountability, security and equity. All women should be paid equitably, with access to affordable childcare, sick days, healthcare, paid family leave, and healthy work environments. All workers – including domestic and farm workers, undocumented and migrant workers – must have the right to organize and fight for a living minimum wage.
We believe Civil Rights are our birthright, including voting rights, freedom to worship without fear of intimidation or harassment, freedom of speech, and protections for all citizens regardless of race, gender, age or disability. We believe it is time for an all-inclusive Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
We believe that all women’s issues are issues faced by women with disabilities and Deaf women. As mothers, sisters, daughters, and contributing members of this great nation, we seek to break barriers to access, inclusion, independence, and the full enjoyment of citizenship at home and around the world. We strive to be fully included in and contribute to all aspects of American life, economy, and culture.
Rooted in the promise of America’s call for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we believe in immigrant and refugee rights regardless of status or country of origin. We believe migration is a human right and that no human being is illegal.
We believe that every person and every community in our nation has the right to clean water, clean air, and access to and enjoyment of public lands. We believe that our environment and our climate must be protected, and that our land and natural resources cannot be exploited for corporate gain or greed – especially at the risk of public safety and health.
That may be too many words to put on a sash, but we can all print them out and put them in a pocket close to our hearts.