Reflections on Women's March: Denver
My husband and I went to the Woman's March in Denver on Saturday and it was pretty amazing.
For us it was more of a "gathering" than a "march" because there really were too many people to get around, though plenty of people did end up marching.
I've been trying to figure out how to process the negative backlash about the National and Global event... Negative posts and articles from people who are opposed to the core principles that were being represented I understand... But there are a lot of people who, in theory, are supporters of some or all of the many principles represented, but thought of the march as a waste of time and energy. It seems they saw the march as aggrandizing, soap boxing, and a lot of patting ourselves on the back.
This puzzles me.
What does "support" look like to you?
What does "action" look like to you?
What does "change" look like to you?
How is progress made?
Do you, alone in a room, make decision about how you feel, without outside influence or dialog, and then make a phone call, and the change is made?
I'm not a betting woman, and I don't have access to accurate statistics, but I feel pretty confident that if you looked at the numbers, the difference in individuals taking direct action on Thursday before the march to Monday after the march at least doubled if not more.
The amount of groups with clear actions points increased.
The number of members of already active groups increased.
More coalitions between fractured projects increased.
Sister-Cities were formed.
This movement is not like Occupy.
I have a deep love and respect for the Occupy movement, and Occupy did clear the way for BLM and the Woman's March, but none of these are the same.
And although I, and many others, are calling it the Woman's March, I saw many different groups represented. And it was an open dialog where people were learning from each other and asking questions and clarifying points of view and facts.
I mention Occupy because it seems as though a lot of the critique was centered in lumping the Woman's March with Occupies failures. Implying or stating that "because the message wasn't clear and we weren't asking for anything, we won't get anything and it will fizzle out."
It would be difficult for me to disagree more.
Among the many many very clear messages I heard, this was one of the core messages:
"Every person deserves respect and all human rights. Women, Trans, Black, Latino, Islamic, Native American.... etc. If you're human, you deserve all the human rights."
Why weren't all the ways that all of those particular groups had their rights infringed upon listed on every sign and in every chant?
Because they are too many to name. The transgressions are extensive and heartbreaking and logic defying. But the message is clear. The actions are clear. The movement is clear.
So why march?
The marches solidified a community that didn't know how big it was.
Bonds were made at the marches. Voices were heard, seeds were planted, and all of that has an incredible value to the road forward.
It is extremely important to build that community.
Marches solidify things a lot of people just feel and are events that catalyze moments and ideas into action. If you look to the past, many many many successes were spurred by and kept alive with marches.
People making phone calls on their own will burn out, people need marches to feel a part of the community and get re-invigorated.
New people were meeting new people!
It was beautiful watching connections be made. There were a lot of different people with different specific missions and they all benefited from being heard, feeling supported, and being encouraged to keep on keeping on.
I felt encouraged.
I felt supported.
I felt like speaking up wasn't hopeless and it's worth it to keep pushing and keep talking and keep working on making the world a better place.
And that's important.