There’s so much talk of numbers … how many showed up for inaugurations past and present, how many marched in protest yesterday. Numbers are powerful because they are a litmus test for gauging what is most important to the people of our nation.
The millions who participated in the Women’s March on Washington did so on a platform of intersectionality. This is a huge development in the way we approach activism. However, if this was the first time you’ve marched, it stands to question whether your activism is truly mindful of intersectionality. Representation from the outset is a start. Who was given the mic to speak and who was given a seat at the organizing table, yes, this is critical; but it is also about who has been showing up all along versus who decided to show up now. If we are showing up for ALL in our activism, Sojourner Truth’s words when speaking to feminists in 1851 should not still ring so true today when she said, “Ain’t I a woman?”
To be clear, this message is not an attempt to police the activism of others or play oppression Olympics. It is more about raising our collective awareness as activists and well-meaning individuals seeking equality for everyone, without condition. Having said that…
If you didn’t protest for girls and women like Sandra Bland, Korryn Gaines, Rekia Boyd, Tanisha Anderson, and Gynnya McMillen…it’s difficult to see that you marched in solidarity for ALL women. If you weren’t marching for boys and men like Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and Eric Garner…it’s difficult to see that you marched because you believe #blacklivesmatter. If you didn’t speak up for the victims in Orlando, Mercedes Williamson, Taja DeJesus, Ahmed Said and Dwone Anderson-Young…it’s hard to see that you marched because you believe #LGBTQlivesmatter. If you haven’t been taking action to address the hate crimes and bullying against Muslims, the disabled, and immigrants in your communities…it’s hard to see that you marched for the human rights for ALL. And so on and so forth…
For many of you, this was your first march or protest … what an historic debut. I hope that the raw humanity you experienced while marching continues to spill over into every aspect of what you do moving forward. Let it propel your activism indefinitely.
For a good many who chose to sit this one out, the march provided confirmation of the numbers who have been neutral to injustice until now because the struggle had not applied to them. For some, it was also an opportunity to rest and allow someone else to pick up the torch of justice. I hope those activists engaged in self-care and can look forward to a new batch of allies by their sides moving forward.
All of this said, the numbers don’t lie. We have reason to be proud. The nation has shown out and the world will at least see that our current POTUS does not represent a large population of the citizenry of this country. It may feel like we’re a day late and dollar short when it comes to our elected bodies of government, but let this be our time to spark a true conversation that includes ALL who have traditionally been left out of our activism and our history.
May we ever persist to resist…today, tomorrow, and always. Peace, love, and solidarity.
Photo credit: Getty Images