Monday, June 26, 2017
The Upstander

The Women’s March Wasn’t Just a March. It was the Birth of the Anti-Trump Movement

Clementine Havemeyer January 24, 2017 Opinion Comments Off on The Women’s March Wasn’t Just a March. It was the Birth of the Anti-Trump Movement
Women's March on Washington

Kellyanne Conway, America’s favorite peddler of alternative facts, says she didn’t see the point of the Women’s March on Washington.

“I frankly didn’t see the point. I mean you have a day after [President Trump’s inauguration that] is uplifting and unifying, and you have folks here being on a diatribe where I think they could have requested a dialogue,” Conway said on ABC News  on “This Week”, the day after the march.

I’m not surprised by Conway’s comments. She is fast making a name for herself for diligently ignoring the point.

Every one of the three million people who marched this weekend had a different reason for doing so. Some marched for equal pay, others for reproductive choice, civil rights, immigration reform, LGBTQIA equality, for the right to walk down the street and not be harassed, for access to birth control and abortion, for racial equality and justice, in solidarity with women, Muslims, transgender rights, police brutality, people with disabilities, water protectors…the list is endless.

But what unites all these people is Donald Trump. The point of the march was to personally deliver the message to his doorstep that women will not stand by as our rights are stripped away. Furthermore, we stand in solidarity with every other oppressed group that Trump and his administration may try to crush.

Despite all that, some people feel that the march did not achieve much. After all, Trump is still safely ensconced in the White House while we all crammed on coaches back to our respective hometowns. But when I returned to New York, I was buoyed by the feeling that this is just the beginning.

It is relatively easy to look back in history and point to examples of protests that have brought about social change, most notably the civil rights movement, the suffragette movement, the Stonewall riots, and the labor movement, which is responsible for almost every advancement in worker’s rights over the past two hundred years, but these marches by themselves are only part of the story.

Martin Luther King did not just show up on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 to deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech and suddenly the war on race was over. He fought, tooth and nail, for years to get to those steps and see the Civil Rights Act passed a year later, and despite all this, racism is still a huge problem in this country.

What separates a march from a movement is what happens next.

The organizers of the Women’s March are already capitalizing on the momentum they’ve gathered by launching the 10 Actions for the first 100 Days Campaign, which will issue a new action every ten days for the next one hundred days that millions of women and their allies can take part in. The first action is as simple as writing postcards to your local senators.

Meanwhile, a new grassroots campaign has already started on social media to hold a national day of action on April 15, (usually tax day in America) urging Donald Trump to release his tax returns. To date, Trump has refused to do so because he believes that the people do not care, but millions of people marching around the world demanding it will surely prove him wrong.

So to those people who say the Women’s March didn’t change anything, I urge you to see the protest, not in isolation, but rather as the next chapter in our long march to freedom.

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